What do silverfish eat

What Do Silverfish Eat And How Do They Find Foods

What do silverfish eat? Silverfish are versatile feeders and attract a variety of food sources. The ancient insects have a particular affinity for foods rich in carbohydrates, protein, or sugar.

Silverfish consume everything, including cereal, flour, and the adhesive or paste used to adhere to wallpaper and the insides of book bindings.

Unfortunately, silverfish’s regular eating habits lead to finding them in clothing.

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What is a silverfish

Small insects known as silverfish get their name from the color of their carapace and how they move, resembling swimming fish.


They are land animals on most continents, although they prefer to reside in humid environments.

They frequently come into contact with people because they want to be in humid regions where there are a variety of meals to eat.

What do silverfish eat, and why do they like to live near people?

We’ll show you the answers to these two questions, how they find food, and if they threaten humans.

Facts About Silverfish

Tiny, primitive, and wingless insects are known as silverfish.

The silvery gray tint of this creature’s body and its fish-like motions gave it its name. Because silverfish are nocturnal insects, they are most active at night.

The length of a silverfish ranges from 0.5 to 1 inch, and it possesses long, slender antennae.

The silverfish has cerci, which are appendages that function as sense organs, on its back. This bug avoids light and moves quickly and with agility.

Habitat Silverfish is an illustration of a cosmopolitan species, which means you can find them living everywhere except for Antarctica.

It favors damp environments with a relative humidity of 75% to 95%.

Silverfish can be found in metropolitan areas in various cracks in bathrooms, cellars, attics, sinks, kitchens, tubs, and showers, as well as in old books and classrooms.


The mating process for silverfish is unique. The ritual is carried out in three stages by silverfish before they mate.

The male and female silverfish stand side by side with their antennae connecting during the initial phase.

The male starts to run during the second phase, and the female follows him.

The male and female remain at each other’s sides throughout the third phase. The tail of a male is next to the head of a female, and vice versa.

The male shakes his tail at the female and lets go of his sperm sac.

The female takes the sperm capsule into her body by an organ known as the ovipositor, where it fertilizes her eggs.

The female silverfish often lays up to 60 pale, oval-shaped eggs in several crevices. Within the next two weeks to two months, the eggs will hatch.

The newly born nymphs will be pale in color and resemble miniature adults.

Young silverfish molt multiple times as they grow to become the silvery grey color of adult individuals.

What do silverfish eat?

what silverfish eat
what do silverfish eat

Paper, glue, sugar, and dead insects are all consumed by silverfish.

These omnivores eat foods high in carbohydrates and dextrin, which contains cellulose that silverfish can easily digest.

As one might anticipate, there are many places in the world where one can find this dish.

The following foods are the most typical sources of polysaccharides that silverfish will eat:

  • Paper
  • Wallpaper
  • Bookbinding
  • Dead insects
  • Shampoos
  • Carpet
  • Hair
  • Glue
  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Pet foods
  • Coffee
  • Lace

Silverfish will consume various foods as they contain suitable types of polysaccharides. That explains why they are scavengers that will come across foods.

As long as the diet has the correct kinds of polysaccharides, silverfish will consume a wide variety of various foods.

That is why the easiest way to describe them is as scavengers who occasionally come across food.

They occasionally consume human waste like hair or even dandruff.

Due to their particular diet, silverfish may consume a wide range of foods and are not typically in competition with other animals for these resources.

How Do Silverfish Find Their Food?

How do these insects even find food? They aren’t enormous, lack distinguishable eyes, and don’t have any audible sense that we would identify.

The ability of silverfish to distinguish light and dark with their senses and preference is one thing that people are aware of.

Using their antennas to scan the surrounding surroundings, they will seek wet locations.

Silverfish can smell, and they deliberately avoid areas with certain aromas, such as lavender or cinnamon.

But when they come upon something that smells strongly of carbohydrates, they will go there and look for food.

Silverfish use their sense of smell to find their favorite foods and forage at night.

The biochemistry of silverfish allows them to survive for up to 300 days without eating as long as they have access to water.

They are capable of long-term survival and food search.

What Do Baby Silverfish Feed On?

What do silverfish eat? Because they reproduce so quickly and their young ones do not devote as much time as juveniles, silverfish are problematic insects.

The females lay about a dozen eggs, and they hatch in 6 to 10 days. These insects are ready to start eating like adults as soon as they hatch.

They never go through a stage where they eat anything besides what their parents do.

Baby silverfish will consume paper, adhesives, and various fabrics in addition to human and insect waste.

They need between three months and two years to fully mature, at which point they are ready to reproduce and procreate.

Because silverfish have a long lifespan and can fit in tight spaces, infestations with them can be highly problematic.

Are Silverfish Harmful to People?

Because they consume clothing, food, paper, and household items, silverfish are notorious for being a pest to people.

By infesting storage spaces, they might destroy critical documents and photos.

Although it can be upsetting to lose one’s priceless memories to these pests, they do not threaten people.

The only way silverfish can hurt humans is by biting them, and there are very few, if any, known occurrences of silverfish bites, although their antennae resemble long pincers.

Silverfish don’t carry any illnesses that could spread to humans, unlike ticks, even if they bite someone.

People frequently worry that silverfish could harm their animals as well.

The truth is that most pets are not harmed by these insects, despite being a nuisance.

The only drawback will be if the pet consumes a silverfish poisoned by pest management measures, which is extremely unlikely because silverfish tend to avoid more populated parts of a home.

What Predators Eat Silverfish?

Silverfish are tiny insects that can conceal themselves in cracks and are most active at night. These insects may also move very swiftly.

But aside from that, they don’t have many predator protections.

They are incredibly vulnerable to predatory behavior from some organisms due to their astounding level of sensory deprivation in terms of vision and hearing.

Consider a few of the predators that consume silverfish:

  • Spiders
  • Earwigs
  • Birds
  • Centipedes

Given silverfish’s lack of defense and senses, the scarcity of predators that eat them is almost shocking.

However, they reside in confined, dark environments where few predators are known to hide.

They are also faster than many of their potential predators, including the majority of spiders.

Silverfish are 300 million years old, yet since that time, they have hardly changed.

They have developed the ability to conceal from adversaries successfully and are excellent survivors who can go for extended periods without eating.

However, when it’s time to eat, they enjoy consuming things like paper, glue, and textiles made of polysaccharides, mainly cellulose.

Silverfish are an excellent reminder that longevity doesn’t always need a creature to be an apex predator, even though they are not harmful to people or pets.

Fun facts

Since they have been around for more than 400 million years, silverfish are one of the oldest insect species. Thus, they predated the earliest dinosaurs by 100 million years.

The lifespan of a silverfish can range from three to eight years, with some individuals lasting even longer.

They are challenging to eradicate since they are immune to many pesticides and toxins.

Silverfish can readily scale walls and even walk on ceilings due to their diminutive size and unique bodies. Additionally, they must jump up to 2 feet high.

They are quick runners. However, they can only move when running horizontally.

Additionally, because they lack fighting skills, their only defense against potential predators is speed.

Silverfish molt 17–66 times throughout their lifetime, whereas most insects only do so during the larval or juvenile stages.

That explains why you can still see some of their previous scales around where they were hiding.


What do silverfish eat? Silverfish are insects with peculiar eating habits. Silverfish can consume any food with protein, carbohydrate, or fiber.

They will consume anything with cellulose or other fibers, including paper, wood, linen, cloth, books, and other items, in addition to food scraps, as many other pests do.

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