10 Surprising Things That Silverfish Eat And Why

Silverfish won’t bite you. Likewise, they won’t put your health in danger because they are not known to spread diseases.

However, silverfish can cause considerable damage to your various belongings as they have an extensive diet.

Silverfish can eat anything that contains natural fiber. Many things out of natural fibers contain sugar, carbohydrates, and starch, all of which are nutrients silverfish need. Silverfish eat pantry foods, too, ranging from flour to cereals. In some instances, silverfish also eat dead insects.

Because silverfish eat many different things, it’s a terrible idea to have them around.

This is especially true if many of your belongings out of paper, fabric, and others that contain natural fibers do not come cheap.

Knowing what silverfish like to feast on is the key to saving yourself from owning valuable items that are no longer worth keeping or enjoying.

image of silverfish eating

10 Different Foods Silverfish Eat

And now we have come to the crux of this article — the different things that silverfish love to eat.

Silverfish are some of the most common household pests, and it doesn’t come as a big surprise.

That’s because the majority of the things they need to survive can be found indoors. This is why your home is the perfect habitat for silverfish.

Without further ado, let’s take a quick look at the assortment of foods silverfish eat.


Some of the most comfortable clothes to wear are those that are out of natural fibers.

That’s because they allow air to pass through them, thus saving you from overheating and being spotted with unsightly sweat stains.

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Clothes made of 100% natural fibers also soft and feel great against the skin.

Unfortunately, they are the ultimate favorites of silverfish. Some of the fabrics that they find irresistible are:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Rayon

Silverfish love moisture, too, which is why you should never leave damp clothes on the floor.

Just because your clothes are out of synthetic fibers doesn’t necessarily mean that they are out of harm’s way.

Especially if something sweet has spilled on them or they are starched, silverfish will eat them without restraint just like clothes out of natural fabrics — the sugar or starch in them is irresistible to silverfish!

Besides clothes, silverfish will also eat just about anything that is out of fabric. Some common examples include curtains, drapes, towels, beddings, pillowcases, tablecloths, and textile upholstery coverings.


There are a couple of reasons why silverfish feast on books and magazines:

  • Paper that makes up the cover and pages contain natural fibers that silverfish love.
  • Silverfish cannot say no to the glue used for bookbinding because it is rich in starch.

Since silverfish love anything that contains paper or is paper-based, bookshelves are some of their preferred hangouts.

Not only bookshelves grant them easy access to some of their most favorite foods but also provide them with the perfect hiding places when it’s time to sleep or mate or steer clear of the daylight, which silverfish are not fond of.

Refrain from assuming that your home is off-limits to silverfish because you are not a bookworm, or you throw away magazines and newspapers as soon as you are through reading them.

Are the walls of your home covered in wallpaper? Then it is possible for a silverfish infestation to strike. That’s because there are two things about wallpapers that silverfish love: the paper material and glue.

Artworks and photos

Some of the most treasured possessions of homeowners are artworks such as paintings. Some paintings are priceless because respected painters painted them.

In contrast, others are precious because they were painted by the owners themselves or by the people they love the most.

Unfortunately, artworks are at risk if there are silverfish around. This is most especially true for those containing fabric or paper, both of which are some of the most mouthwatering treats for silverfish.

Artworks are not the only ones in danger if you fail to deal with a silverfish infestation.

Your photographs, too, are in jeopardy, including those that help keep some of the most important memories around.

Old photos, including those placed in photo albums and picture frames, can easily end up marred with holes if silverfish are around.

One of the best ways to protect photos from silverfish is by keeping them in airtight containers. Sadly, enlarged prints and massive artworks cannot be spared from the wrath of silverfish in this manner.


Your carpet is in danger not only when carpet beetles are around. It’s also at risk of ending up with ugly bald spots when silverfish are present.

Especially if your carpet is out of natural fibers, which usually doesn’t come with a cheap price tag, it is at risk of being devoured by silverfish.

Nowadays, more than 90% of carpets in the market are out of synthetic fabrics.

The remaining 10% are usually out of wool, which is one of the treats that silverfish find completely irresistible.

Replacing carpet out of natural fibers with something that’s out of synthetic fabrics won’t necessarily make silverfish leave you alone.

Even if your carpet is made of nylon, polyester, or polypropylene, silverfish will still gladly feast on it if it’s not cleaned thoroughly after being doused in sweet beverages — silverfish love sugar.

Besides keeping your carpet clean and free of stains, it’s also a must that you keep it dry at all times. As mentioned earlier, silverfish are drawn to anything that contains lots of moisture.


Some types of insulation are designed to be common household pest-proof.

If the insulation installed to keep your home cool when it’s hot or warm when it’s cold is the old-fashioned kind, it can make it easier for silverfish to thrive.

That’s because it can provide them with the sustenance they need to stay alive.

There are a couple of things about insulation that silverfish love:

  1. The paper backing.
  2. The insulating material itself.

Allowing silverfish to eat your home’s insulation can leave a gigantic hole in your pocket. It will not only cause you to shell out a huge sum of money for repairs and replacements.

Having the insulation damaged by silverfish can also cause your monthly electric bill to soar, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year.

image of silverfish

If you live where it’s hot and humid, which silverfish love, consider going for insulation treated with a substance, such as boric acid. That’s because it can repel or kill silverfish effectively.

Pantry items

Beetles, moths, weevils, ants, cockroaches and spiders are not the only ones that can invade your pantry and contaminate dry foods stored in it. Silverfish can also wreak havoc on your pantry.

Just about anything from flour, rice, oats, cereals to uncooked pasta are enticing to silverfish.

It’s because they are packed with starch and carbohydrates that these tiny insects love to eat.

Other items in your pantry are also irresistible to silverfish. If it comes from nature, silverfish will eat them without any hesitation.

The good news is that you can keep pantry foods off-limits to silverfish as well as other pantry pests.

All you have to do to protect them from silverfish is transfer them from their original packaging to airtight containers.

It’s also important that you carefully inspect food packaging before placing them in your shopping cart. If there are holes, never pay for them and introduce them into your pantry.

Not a lot of homeowners are aware that they can easily end up with a silverfish infestation from getting their hands on supermarket products with silverfish in them.


Different foods in the pantry are not the only ones that silverfish love to have but also various ones in the kitchen.

Some of those that silverfish enjoy eating are vegetables.

It’s no secret that veggies are packed with fiber, which is why they are perfect for both the intestines and arteries.

It’s also the reason why silverfish are attracted to vegetables. As a general rule of thumb, the more fiber-rich a vegetable is, the higher it is on the list of the favorite foods of silverfish.

Leafy greens are extremely loaded with fiber, which is why they are attractive to silverfish.

However, silverfish also adore root or starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and carrots because they contain plenty of starch, which is one of the things that silverfish enjoy a lot during mealtimes.

Raw vegetables are not the only ones that can make the heads of silverfish turn towards them. Dehydrated vegetables are also palatable for silverfish.

Dry pet food

Besides human food, silverfish are also fond of pet food, in particular the dry kind. Whether it’s for a dog, cat, bird or lizard, silverfish will eat it, especially if there is nothing else to eat.

Failure to properly store pet food can increase the chance of your pet consuming silverfish, dead or alive alike.

The good news is that ingesting silverfish won’t harm your pet. That’s because they do not have venom.

Additionally, silverfish are not known to spread any diseases. Still, you should save your pet from consuming these insects.

To keep silverfish from touching the food of your pet, transfer it to an airtight container.

This is especially true after opening it.

Consider transferring the contents of an unopened packaging to an airtight container if there are holes or tears.


Earlier, it was mentioned that silverfish wouldn’t bite you. However, they can munch on your clothes — even if you are wearing them. Other than your clothes, silverfish also love having a taste of your hair.

What makes your hair scrumptious to silverfish is that it contains lots of protein, which is one of the nutrients that these carrot-shaped creepy crawlers need.

Sleeping on a bed that’s infested with silverfish or wearing a hat that houses some silverfish makes your hair an easy target.

By the way, silverfish also love consuming shed skin cells. This is why your mane may serve as a buffet table for silverfish if you suffer from dandruff.

As a matter of fact, each time you sleep, it’s not unlikely for silverfish to crawl on your scalp to have a banquet.

Other than your scalp, your hairbrush or comb may also be inviting to silverfish if you have dandruff.


One of the many places in your home that silverfish like to hang out in is the bathroom.

A reason for such is that it has plenty of moisture in it, which is what silverfish are drawn to.

However, there are other things in the bathroom that silverfish love: toiletries!

Soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion — these products make you look and feel your best.

They also make silverfish feel full. Believe it or not, these common household pests eat them. That’s because they contain polysaccharides, which are simple sugars. Silverfish cannot say no to sugar.

Polysaccharides are added to an assortment of toiletries and cosmetic products to improve their consistency.

What Else They Like Besides Eating

Silverfish do like to eat.

They damage many things that you treasure.

Besides leaving them with holes, silverfish also leave them with yellowish stains that their mouths and bodies produce.

Silverfish prefer to snack on items that are located in dark places. They also love things that are moist.

Before we talk about the different things that silverfish like to munch on, let us first quickly talk about some of the reasons why it is not a good idea to have a silverfish infestation in your home.

It was mentioned earlier that silverfish do not bite, which is why having them around won’t leave you scratching all over and needing a trip to the hospital.

However, if you have asthma, you should do your best to keep your home silverfish-free. That’s because these creepy crawlers can exacerbate your respiratory condition in different ways:

They shed their skin

Many insects shed their skin until they reach adulthood. Silverfish also shed their skin, but they keep on doing so until their last breath. The problem with the shed skin of silverfish is that they can be easily crushed. This causes them to mix into the indoor air and end up in your airways.

They leave debris behind

Silverfish eat all sorts of things. And each time they eat, they tend to leave debris behind. This can cause your home to be dirty and dusty, which can trigger an asthma attack. The droppings of silverfish are like tiny ground pepper, and inhaling them is bad for anyone with asthma.

They encourage mold formation

Speaking of droppings, just like the fecal matter of other common household pests, the poop of silverfish can cause mold to form.

It’s no secret that living in a home with mold is a complete no-no if asthma is something that you have or a loved one is suffering from.

Asthma is not the only health condition that a silverfish infestation may aggravate. It may also cause frequent allergy flare-ups.

It’s true that silverfish do not spread diseases.

However, they can trigger asthma and allergies!

Where Do Silverfish Stay

Silverfish stay where there is plenty of food for them to devour. However, they prefer to stay where there is little to no light. Silverfish are also attracted to places where there is plenty of moisture. It’s exactly because of this why it is likely for silverfish to be present where there is mold.

Different common household pests tend to thrive in certain areas of the home.

For instance, bed bugs usually survive better in the bedroom. Cockroaches, on the other hand, usually prosper in the kitchen.

Just like many pests, silverfish have preferences habitat-wise.

Warm and moist places are the ones that they love the most, which is why attics, basements, bathrooms and kitchens are some of their preferred hangouts.

However, silverfish can invade many other places, too, from bedrooms, closets to pantries.

Speaking of which, silverfish can be pantry pests just like beetles, moths and weevils. It doesn’t come as a surprise since there are many dry foods that silverfish love, such as flour, oats and crackers.

By the way, silverfish also eat dry pet food!

Like other common household pests, silverfish do not like the light. During the day, they hide in tight cracks and crevices to steer clear of the light.

To save themselves from the need to hide constantly, silverfish stay where it’s dark most of the time. It’s due to this why many homeowners fail to notice that they have a silverfish infestation.


When it comes to ridding your property of common household pests, knowing the enemy is of utmost importance.

Getting acquainted with what you have to remove from your life is vital for knowing the right steps to take.

Above, we talked about the various foods these pests find irresistible. We also discussed the places where silverfish tend to hang out.

Now that you know what they love to eat and what makes them find your home a delightful hang out place, getting rid of silverfish and keeping them from coming back should be easier.

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