How To Get Rid of Silverfish Using Traps And Repellents

Every year homeowners and renters the world over battle pests and insects that would otherwise enjoy sharing the same space together.  While things like termites and bedbugs typically get all the press, there are none-the-less annoying and gross insect infestations that don’t get coverage and can still ruin your day.  In particular, the Silverfish can be an annoying bug to have to deal with and will require you taking action to control the population.  Below we list 3 traps as well as 3 repellents you can use to help limit their numbers in your home.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

The Silverfish is a small wingless insect.  It gets its name because it has a long body ad short appendages that give it the shape of a fish.  It also tends to move on the ground like a fish.  The Silverfish is grey and blue colored.  While Silverfish will be fairly harmless, having them around your property can be unpleasant to say the least.

In order to know how to get rid of silverfish, we need to know what they like and where they like to live.  Silverfish thrive in cool, damp conditions.  They naturally feed on starchy things like books as well as dead skin cells.  Silverfish can multiply quickly, causing a Silverfish infestation if there is enough food to support the population.  Removal of the Silverfish can be done by either creating traps that kill Silverfish and stop them from reproducing, or using repellents to stop the Silverfish from entering your home.

how to get rid of silverfish

Get Rid of Silverfish Using Traps

Search online and you will find any number of traps specifically designed for Silverfish.  As Silverfish like sweet things, there are many different ways you can design traps to collect them.  Before going to the store to get a trap or using harmful insecticides, consider some of the many home remedies that exist.  Long before modern insecticides, people were using the traps we list below to not only stop an infestation, but contain it and even remove it as well.  Considering one of the following traps will also save you a lot of money and only take up a few minutes of your time.

Before putting down a trap, it helps to isolate where the infestation is coming from.  More often than not, there will be one major spot where the majority of Silverfish are.  They will radiate from this point throughout the house.  Keep an eye out for Silverfish and count how many you see in different rooms over time.  Carefully monitoring your house and counting what you see will give you a better understanding of where the trap(s) should go.

  1. Glass Jar Trap

The glass jar trap is among the most common ways to trap Silverfish because it is simple, straightforward, and takes practically no time to set up.  Begin by using glass jars or mason jars that you find around your house.  In addition, you can use canning jars as well.  People have found that the most successful size is around a quart.

Once you have your jars, get a roll of masking tape.  You are going to want to wrap the outside of the masking tape from the bottom up.  To this all over the exterior and make sure no part of the surface of the glass is exposed.  Doing this will create a walkway for the Silverfish to climb up the sides of the jar.  While they cannot grasp onto glass, they can easily grasp onto tape and will climb up it if they sense food.  Be sure to cover the lip of the glass jar with tape as well.

Take a piece of bread and put it in the middle of the jar.  Silverfish love starchy material and they will be drawn to the bread.  They will climb up the sides of the glass jar and then fall into the jar, unable to get out.  You can include water with the bread to drown the Silverfish as well.  Be sure to put out the trap every night as this is the time that silverfish are most likely to come out to find food.

So there you have it!  For the cost of a glass jar and tape, you have an effective trap that will catch a whole lot of Silverfish.  Make as many as you think you need and place them anywhere else you notice a build up of Silverfish.


  1. The Wet Newspaper

Do you get the daily news?  How about promotional advertisements and news leaflets in the mail?  While many people will simply recycle wet newspaper, there are better solutions out there if you are having an issue with Silverfish.  The wet newspaper trick is an ingenious way to take out a lot of Silverfish at once.

Begin by taking a newspaper and rolling up both ends until it is in a bundle.  When in a bundle, attach a rubber band to either side.  Take the newspaper bundle and run it under luke-warm water for a  few seconds until it is wet all the way through.  Allow it to dry in the sink a little bit before moving it to the location where you see the most Silverfish.  Once on location, you can leave it there over night.

While you are sleeping, Silverfish will be drawn to the wet newspaper.  The wet newspaper is an excellent source of food for them.  In addition, the dark folds of the wet material create an ideal habitat for the Silverfish.  As a result, the Silverfish will want to stay inside the wet folds of the newspaper instead of heading home back into wherever they came from.  When morning comes, you will have all the Silverfish that found the wet newspaper in a one place.

Taking the wet newspaper, you can either throw it out or consider trying to burn it.  As long as you do not unroll the wet newspaper, you should be ok.  Continue to repeat the wet newspaper trick every night in rooms where you see Silverfish and help remove them from your residence.


  1. Going With Store Bought Traps

If all else fails and natural remedies aren’t doing the trick, then you can always fall back on the store bought traps.  These traps come in a wide range of shapes and sizes.  Specifically designed with Silverfish in mind, some expensive traps will draw in and kill Silverfish once placed.  You can also consider using less expensive traps designed for other insects, like roaches, and use it for Silverfish.

Store bought traps are typically sticky traps.  This means that the Silverfish comes in after being bated by a sweet smell, and then gets stuck on the sticky part of the trap.  There are a lot of traps for sale and you will want to carefully consider your choices prior to putting money down.  Be sure to review the traps online.  Websites like Amazon can provide a lot of user feedback and give you a sense for whether or not the traps work.  Combining this knowledge with your unique situation, you can invest in a trap that has the greatest chance of working effectively.


Get Rid of Silverfish Using Repellents

While traps are designed to capture Silverfish for either destruction or transportation away from your property, Repellent is here to stop them from even considering your place.  More often than not, people will use repellents to safeguard certain parts of their house.  For example, if Silverfish are not really a problem but you want to keep them from a collection of rare books, then repellents will work well.  Some repellents are stronger than others and can be used to keep Silverfish completely out of your house.  Other repellents act as insecticide and help you to eliminate the infestation through treatment.  Below we consider a few of these that you can use to help control the population of Silverfish in your home.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is a common repellent that works well for Silverfish.  In addition to Silverfish, Diatomaceous Earth also works quite well for other insect infestations.  This includes infestations of dreaded bugs like bedbugs as well as other less harmful but equally annoying insects.

Diatomaceous Earth is siliceous sedimentary rock that resembles a soft, white powder.  Along with being found naturally, it can be produced chemically which helps to lower the price and make it affordable.  It is white in color and contains between 80-90% silica material.  What makes Diatomaceous Earth worth using is the silica in it.  The Diatomaceous Earth is safe to spread around and even consume, though it won’t do much for you.  For insects on the other hand it is a different story.


Diatomaceous Earth is comprised of silica, which is capable of puncturing the insects as they walk in and around the material.  It causes them to die by either puncturing them to death or drying them out thanks to how silica works.  It is a good idea to spread Diatomaceous Earth in cabinets, baseboards, and other dark spaces that are out of the way.  It is not uncommon for people to put their furniture or bed on trays with Diatomaceous Earth in the tray.  Doing so will effectively kill the insects before they can begin climbing up the bed posts.  While silica is not too dangerous, it can sometimes irritate people’s lungs.  If you have breathing conditions, or simply don’t want to risk it, wear a mask when spreading the material on surfaces.


  1. Cedar Shavings

If you happen to have cedar trees near you or can get cedar shavings for cheap, then you already have an excellent repellent for Silverfish.  Cedar shavings emit an odor that naturally repels Silverfish.  Because of this, you can strategically place cedar shavings around certain parts of the exterior of your house or in shared halls in apartments to stop Silverfish from coming in.  Be aware that cedar shavings can leave a little bit of a mess and should be only applied to places that are easier to clean.  If you do put them in your home, then know that they can be effectively vacuumed up as long as the cedar sized chunks are kept small.

Cedar shavings will work to repel Silverfish and are completely natural.  Because they are natural however you will have to occasionally replace them.  Be aware that they begin to lose their power after a few weeks and should be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks if you want to effectively keep Silverfish out.


  1. Citrus Spray

You can find a lot of chemical sprays for sale to help stop Silverfish.  For example, a popular choice for some is pyrethrin as it can be sprayed into cracks and has a good rate of killing Silverfish.  However, pyrethrin is also a poisonous chemical that is used in insecticides and is capable of hurting us as well if we are exposed to it long enough.  Instead of going with chemicals, consider a more natural citrus spray instead.

Begin by acquiring either lemons or lemon oil from a store.  Combine this with lavender oil to make the mixture more effective.  Combine with water and shake it up a lot.  After a few minutes of shaking, spray the material into cracks. You can also spray the material into closets, bedroom areas, and other place you would hate for Silverfish to go.  While far more friendly to our health than pyrethrin, it will not last as long and may require occasional re-sprays in order to stop Silverfish from getting in.


Where Does That Leave Us?

Outside of repellent and traps, there is prevention.  There are a few things you can do to help reduce the chance of getting Silverfish as well as reducing their number if you have them already.  Be sure to caulk any cracks in the wall, especially if you are having trouble with Silverfish in your basement.  Using caulk will help remove the places where Silverfish leave their eggs.  Also, consider packaging all your food in inaccessible containers.  Vacuum your home frequently to remove food from the floor, consider Diatomaceous Earth traps around the feet of bookshelves and beds, and consider dehumidifying your home if that is an issue.

Regardless of your approach, we wish you the best of luck in removing your Silverfish infestation.