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Are Silverfish Dangerous to Humans?

By Eleanor McKenzie

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Silverfish (Lepisma sacchrina) get their name from their coloring and their fishlike movements. They are something of a household nuisance because they are chewing insects. However, they are not dangerous to humans.

The Pesky Silverfish

Silverfish love your home. It provides them with warm nooks and crannies where they can hide out. Laundry rooms, heating pipes, fireplaces and stoves are favored locations, as silverfish like temperatures of around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Silverfish are active mostly at night, so you're unlikely to spot them during the day. However, while you sleep, the silverfishes are foraging around your home for things to chew on. They love glue and paper, so a well-stocked bookshelf provides a rich feeding ground. In the larder, they break into bags of flour, oats and coffee, contaminating them. They can destroy rugs, drapes and linen. Silverfish reproduce readily and can live for two to eight years. If you have an infestation, you probably need to contact a pest control expert.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images


Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.