Silverfish Lifecycle: Everything You Need To Know

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Silverfish are small, black, and silver insects that are found in most homes. They are able to adapt quickly to changes in their environment, including the presence of humans.

The silverfish lifecycle is relatively short and consists of four stages: egg, nymph, adult, and senescent. The eggs are laid in batches and can be found in cracks or crevices in walls or ceilings. Nymphs are smaller than adults and have a yellow or greenish color.

Quick Facts on Silverfish

Silverfish Lifecycle

The Annoying Pest

Silverfish are small, wingless insects that wriggle as they move. They can be a nuisance and often invade homes in search of food.

Moreover, though not particularly harmful, silverfish may cause damage to property and cause allergic reactions. In fact, these pesky critters can survive in a variety of environments but prefer warm and humid conditions.

That said, while difficult to eradicate, they can be eliminated naturally if you’re patient and persistent. However, if natural remedies don’t work or you need to get rid of them immediately, you can do so chemically by using products that are specifically designed to kill them.

These chemical products can be found at most hardware stores and will usually work within a few days.


Macro photo Silverfish animal, lepisma saccharina on black background. Common house pest

Silverfish have an elongated and fairly flat body that tapers at the end. They are typically a light brown or silvery-grey color but can also be blue, green, or red.

They are about 1/2-3/4 inches long and have two antennae on their head. Silverfish move very quickly and can be difficult to see. The segments on their surface make them easily identifiable.

In fact, the bristles, also known as cerci, are responsible for the alternate name “bristletail,” which is used for both the silverfish and its relatives.

Locating the secret dweller

Finding silverfish can be a daunting task, as they are nocturnal creatures and prefer to live in dark, damp areas. They may be found near leaks in the roof or walls, near the foundation of a building, or in the basement.

However, it is important to mention here that, although silverfish are typically nocturnal creatures, they can be seen occasionally during the day.

This is because they often seek out dark and moist places to hide, such as in bathrooms and kitchens; therefore, if you see a silverfish during the day, it’s likely that it’s looking for a place to hide.

Furthermore, when it comes to invading households, in most cases, the silverfish find their way into our homes unintentionally. These critters may hitch a ride on cardboard boxes or other objects that have been stored outside.

Once they’re inside, they can be difficult to get rid of since they like to hide in dark, moist places.

Foraging habits

Silverfish are opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat a variety of food depending on what is available to them.

However, they mainly feed on high-carbohydrate foods such as cereal, flour, and sugars; but they will also consume proteins, mold, dandruff, and the body coverings of other insects. This makes them difficult to eliminate as they can survive on a very diverse diet.

Additionally, silverfish can live for an extended period of time without eating. In fact, they can survive up to several months on a single meal. This allows them to infest a structure for an extended amount of time before being discovered.

Silverfish Lifecycle

silverfish lifecycle

Silverfish go through a gradual metamorphosis process, which means they only have three life stages as opposed to four like most insects.

In the first stage, the egg hatches, and the larva emerges. This larval stage is when silverfish are their most vulnerable; they are small and slow-moving and can be easily preyed upon.

The second stage is the nymph stage, where silverfish grow in size and develop their adult coloration.

Finally, the adult stage is when the silverfish reach maturity and can start breeding.


Silverfish reproduce by a process called indirect fertilization. After the male and female silverfish have mated, the female will lay her eggs.

The eggs will hatch, transforming into nymphs, which are tiny versions of the adult silverfish. The nymphs will then go through several molts before becoming adults.

Interestingly, research shows that when silverfish feel like they are in danger of being eaten, they often reproduce. Males deposit their sperm into the female’s ovipositors- a tubular structure through which eggs are deposited.

After mating, the male and female silverfish separate. The male soon dies, but the female lays her eggs about two months later. She will attach them to a surface in a moist area like a bathroom or kitchen.

The eggs hatch within two weeks, and the baby silverfish will start to feed on whatever they can find.

Silverfish Lifespan

Silverfish are insects that mature in a stage where they can live in any environment that is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the lifespan of silverfish can be drastically increased or decreased depending on the temperature of their surroundings.

Typically, they have a lifespan of two to five years, but with the right food and living conditions, they can last much longer. Silverfish will lay eggs in dark and moist areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and attics.

Once the eggs hatch, the new silverfish will go through several molts before reaching maturity.

Stages of Silverfish Lifecycle

Stages of silverfish lifecycle

Silverfish Eggs

Silverfish eggs are elliptical in shape and start out soft and white. They are laid in clusters and can be found in cracks and crevices throughout the inside of homes, attics, basements, and other dark and moist places.

Once hatched, the baby silverfish will feed on whatever it can find- including book bindings, wallpaper, clothing fibers, etc.

On average, silverfish eggs take about 19-60 days to hatch, depending on the species of silverfish. Some eggs may take longer to hatch if they are laid in a colder environment.

After hatching, the baby silverfish will spend another 5-10 weeks maturing before becoming adults.

That said, silverfish eggs are easy to spot because they are white and pearl-like. You can either remove them by hand or use a pesticide to get rid of them.

Silverfish Nymphs

Silverfish nymphs are the immature form of silverfish. They look very similar to adult silverfish, but they are not sexually mature and cannot reproduce. They go through a series of molts (shed their exoskeleton) as they grow, eventually becoming adults.

Interestingly, some species of silverfish can molt up to 50 times in their lifetime. Silverfish go through a nymph stage where they are completely white and have no scales.

After molting a few times, they will start to develop the characteristic silver coloration.

Silverfish Adults

Adult silverfish typically live for 3-4 years. They are very hardy creatures and can survive in a variety of different environments, including both warm and cold conditions. They prefer moist environments, however, and will die if they become too dry.

Furthermore, the adults hide in different places in order to survive. You can often find them hiding under sinks, in bathtubs, under kitchen appliances, and in garages and crawl spaces. They will also go into attics and other dark areas where they can find food.

Silverfish pest control

silverfish pest control

Natural Methods:

Silverfish are a common household pest. They often live in dark, moist places, such as under sinks and in the crevices of furniture. To get rid of silverfish, you use natural methods to repel them. Some good natural methods include:

  • One of the best ways to get rid of silverfish is to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. You can do this by using a dehumidifier in your home. This will assist in keeping humidity levels low and make it difficult for silverfish to thrive.
  • Water is a key ingredient in the life cycle of silverfish, so if you can repair any leaky pipes or faucets in your home, you may be able to reduce the number of silverfish.
  • Additionally, make sure to keep your home tidy and free of clutter, as silverfish love to hide in dark and moist places.
  • Cedar oil is one of the many essential oils used to get rid of silverfish and is an especially effective pest killer for silverfish, clothes moths, and carpet beetles.
  • Borax can be sprinkled in areas where silverfish are commonly seen. The borax will kill the silverfish and stop them from reproducing.
  • Another common way to keep silverfish at bay is by removing their food source. Make sure to take away any pet food that has not been eaten and properly seal any food in containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • You can also deter silverfish by filling any cracks that you notice in your walls, floors, or cabinets with caulking or sealant. Additionally, weather stripping may be used around doors and windows.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: DE is a powder that is made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. It is abrasive and may remove the waxy covering on the surface of the silverfish, which will then lead to their death. In addition, when applying Diatomaceous Earth, be sure to wear a dust mask or respirator. This is because the powder can be a lung irritant. Furthermore, it’s also a desiccant, so avoid getting it into your eyes or touching it.

Employ Pest Control Services

Silverfish can be difficult to get rid of. One of the best ways to get rid of silverfish is by employing a pest control service. The specialists have the knowledge and tools necessary to get rid of silverfish quickly and effectively.

Furthermore, once the silverfish have been removed, it is important to take preventative measures to ensure they do not come back. This can also be achieved by employing pest control services that will keep the silverfish from entering the property in the first place.


Hopefully. this article was helpful in assisting you with all you need to know about Silverfish Lifecycle.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.