How to Get Rid of Silverfish Bugs & Fish Moths Naturally

Silverfish Bugs

While harmless to humans, silverfish (aka fish moths) can be destructive by damaging paper materials and clothing. Silverfish bugs can be dealt with using the following home remedies.

  • Spread boric acid along the edges of the floor.
  • Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth in storage spaces.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce unnecessary moisture in your home.
  • Place cedar blocks where the silverfish bugs are likely to be found.
  • Throw away old newspaper and unused paper materials.

Best Silverfish Traps and Repellents

Don’t have much time to deal with the silverfish bugs? Try using the following products to speed up the fish moth elimination process.

Silverfish Moth Bug Remedy

Dekko Silverfish Trap
Silverfish bugs aren’t picky eaters. Most will take a nibble at the boric acid inside the Dekko trap and eventually die due to the damaging effect the powder has on the bug’s stomach and exterior layer. You will need to place several of these traps in your home.

Wondercide Natural Spray
The Wondercide spray uses a mix of natural ingredients to repel a variety of home-invading bugs, including the fish moths. It doesn’t contain harmful chemicals such as pyrethrins, which can be found in traditional pesticide products.

Home Remedies for Silverfish and Fish Moth

Spread Boric Acid Along the Floor
Boric acid is an excellent weapon against household bugs like silverfish bugs. When ingested, boric acid can cause havoc in the bug’s stomach. The powder can also scratch and dry out the fish moth’s exoskeleton due to its abrasive nature.

Spread the boric acid along all corners of the floor and in dark spaces such as the wardrobe and bedroom cabinets. Boric acid doesn’t kill pests immediately so you may not notice any effects until a week has passed.

Boric acid should be used carefully despite being a substance that occurs naturally. All safety precautions (e.g. masks, gloves) should be taken to limit the powder’s exposure to your body. Pet owners and families with young children should use food-grade diatomaceous earth as a safer alternative to boric acid.

Sprinkle Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth has a similar effect to boric acid. To insects, diatomaceous earth can feel like shattered glass due to its microscopic sharp edges. Please make sure you get the food-grade version and not the pool-grade version.

Sprinkle a liberal amount of food-grade diatomaceous earth on common silverfish hiding spots, such as bookcases and wardrobes. Be persistent and patient. Re-apply the powder once every few weeks and you should eventually see the silverfish bugs disappear.

Reduce Moisture with a Dehumidifier
Silverfish bugs like to relocate to dark, damp places. You should see an immediate difference after the humidity level is reduced in your home. It’s worthwhile investing in a dehumidifier if you live in an area that has high humidity levels.

In some cases, the high humidity may be due to some sort of house maintenance issue, such as a leaking pipe or a leaking roof. Repairing these issues should make a huge difference in the presence of fish moths and other bugs that thrive in high-humidity environments.

Place Cedar Blocks to Repel Silverfish Bugs
Some studies have concluded that cedar can repel pests like silverfish bugs due to the strong aroma that’s given off by the cedar essential oil.

If you don’t mind the scent of cedar then consider placing some cedar blocks in various places around your home, such as the cabinets and windowsills. Cedar hangers may also help keep the silverfish bugs away from your valuable clothes.

Discard Old Newspapers and Cardboard Boxes
Silverfish bugs and fish moths love to feed on starchy paper-based material. Some homeowners have had their valuable books ruined due to a lack of control against the silverfish population. One of the first steps to eliminating silverfish bugs is to discard any unneeded paper materials.

This includes old newspaper, cardboard boxes, old magazines, and crumbling wallpaper. You should also try to donate any books that you are no longer going to read. Hoarding will only make it more likely for silverfish bugs to appear in your home.

Why Do I have Silverfish?

Almost every home has silverfish bugs. The reality is that it’s very difficult to eliminate them once and for all. The best you can do is to limit the fish moth population and make your home environment as unappealing as possible.

Silverfish bugs are commonly found in places that have these three conditions: dark, high-moisture, and easy source of starch.

Silverfish bugs prefer dark environments because they are nocturnal. You rarely come across them in broad daylight. That’s why you are more likely to come across them in dark areas such as the basement, attic, and garages.

Fish moths also seek moisture. They prefer environments with a relative humidity of 75 to 97%. It’s not uncommon to come across these bugs in your bathroom sink or bath tub. They get into these places to seek moisture and cannot climb out.

These bugs must also feed on materials that are high in protein or starch in order to survive. Potential food supplies include: paper, glue-based book bindings, natural linen, organic debris (e.g. pet dander), clothing, and dry foods.

Is it Bad to Have Silverfish?

Silverfish don’t do much harm to humans. They aren’t known to bite humans and aren’t known to carry diseases. The odd silverfish here and there shouldn’t be of much concern to homeowners. As we mentioned earlier, it’s very difficult to eliminate all silverfish bugs.

The primary concern you should have about silverfish bugs is their feeding habits. Their tiny size does little justice to their voracious appetite. You will start to see a lot of tiny holes on clothes and paper-based materials if you leave the fish moths alone.

Bugs that Look Like Silverfish

Silverfish bugs can be easily confused with other household pests. Bugs like firebrats and house centipedes have similar appearances to silverfish bugs. For example, firebrats have a similar body shape, and similar leg and antennae length. The main difference is that firebrats like to be found near a source of heat (e.g. water heater, oven).

People may also mistake house centipedes as fish moths, especially when they are seen from a distance. When viewed up close, house centipedes are much longer and bigger (and with may more legs). House centipedes do provide some benefit unlike the fish moths because they feed on other pests like roaches and ants.