How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Silverfish?

Average range: $200 - $600
Average Cost
(single visit to spray the majority of the home with pyrethrin)

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Reviewed by Paula Reguero. Written by

Silverfish can be a real nuisance if they turn up in your home. These tiny creatures can cause a lot of damage. When you see three or four, there could be dozens more nearby. So, how do you get rid of silverfish in the house?

Professional silverfish extermination is the only way to ensure that these pests are completely eradicated. Costs vary depending on the severity of the infestation, location in your home, and the treatment option used. On average, homeowners spend between $200 and $600, with the average homeowner spending $400 on a single visit to spray the majority of the home with pyrethrin. If only a single application is needed for an attic or basement, you can expect to pay $100 for silverfish control with pesticides. If recurring treatments for your home are needed monthly or quarterly, you will pay $700 to completely eradicate a severe silverfish infestation within six months with either pesticides or DE.

Silverfish Pest Control Cost

Silverfish Exterminator Cost
National average cost$400
Average range$200-$600
Minimum cost$100
Maximum cost$700

Silverfish Extermination Cost by Project Range

Assessment plus single visit to apply insecticide dust to the attic/basement
Average Cost
Single visit to spray the majority of the home with pyrethrin
Monthly visits for six months, moderate to severe infestation

Silverfish Extermination Cost by Treatment

Two primary treatment plans for exterminating silverfish include pyrethrins and diatomaceous earth. Pyrethrins are chemical pesticides, and diatomaceous earth is a natural material harvested from lake bed sediment. For safety reasons and maximum effectiveness, both substances should only be applied by professionals. The price difference between these two treatments is nominal.

Silverfish Treatment Cost

TreatmentCost (per 2,000 sq.ft. home)
Silverfish Pesticide (Pyrethrins)$200 - $700
Silverfish Diatomaceous Earth$300 - $700

Silverfish Pesticide

With very few exceptions, exterminators treat your home for silverfish with pyrethrins. Pyrethrins have been a common ingredient in insecticides since the 1950s. These pesticides are safer than others, but they are still dangerous to children and pets if directly ingested. A single pesticide application costs between $200 and $250. Silverfish reproduce quickly. They sometimes enter the home by transport in unopened food from the grocery store. It’s common to require recurring treatments. Each monthly treatment can cost $40 to $50 per application in addition to the initial application. Some exterminators only do quarterly treatments. Each quarterly treatment costs between $100 and $300 per application in addition to the initial application.

Silverfish Diatomaceous Earth

If you don’t want to spray pesticides in your home, some exterminators perform their treatments with 100% all-natural Diatomaceous Earth. As a natural pesticide, DE is nearly as effective as pyrethrins. An exterminator inspects your home, identifies the infestation source, and then sprinkles it over the entire area. DE only works if it physically touches the silverfish. That’s the primary difference between treating silverfish with pesticides and treating them with DE. Pyrethrins work even when they’re only in proximity to silverfish, but DE must make physical contact with the insect to be effective.

For a single application, an exterminator inspects your home, identifies the nesting area, and covers the room with DE. A single application of DE costs between $300 and $350. If there are additional months needed, you will pay between $40 and $50 per application in addition to the initial treatment. If the exterminator does quarterly follow-ups, they cost between $100 and $300 per application.

Silverfish Fumigation

Silverfish fumigation is also a method for exterminating the insect. You won’t find a company that specifically fumigates for silverfish, but any termite fumigation company will have the service you need. The chemical used for termite tenting is sulfuryl fluoride 1 gas, which kills all insect and rodent pests. The gas doesn’t leave an odor or a residue. The fumigation process takes 48 to 72 hours under the tent with another 8 hours to air out your home. You will pay between $1 and $2 per sq.ft. for silverfish fumigation. If you have a 2,000 sq.ft. home, expect to pay $1,000 to $2,000 to exterminate silverfish with fumigation.

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Silverfish Pest Control Cost by Location

While the type of silverfish does not impact extermination costs, the location of the problem in your home does. The biggest factor is the location’s size because the exterminator will need to apply pesticide or DE throughout the area. The smaller the area, the less expensive the treatment. However, remember that even if you’ve only seen silverfish in one small area of a room, the exterminator treats the entire room and, in some cases, adjacent rooms as well.

Silverfish Pest Control Cost

Silverfish Pest Control Cost

Bathroom$200 - $350
Bedroom$200 - $350
Kitchen$200 - $350
Sink$200 - $350
Closet$200 - $350
Light Fixtures$200 - $350
Wardrobe$200 - $350
Carpet$300 - $700
Attic$300 - $700
Wall$300 - $700

Get Rid of Silverfish in the Bathroom

When it comes to eliminating silverfish from your home, bathrooms are one of the most common places to find them. They are attracted to the natural humidity of the space. If you’ve only seen the insects in your bathroom and no other room in your home, their nests are probably near. When an exterminator arrives for service, they locate the nesting grounds and spray pesticide along the room’s perimeter or spread diatomaceous earth over the entire area. A single treatment to get rid of silverfish in the bathroom costs between $200 and $350. Because bathrooms are typically one of the smallest rooms in the home, you will most likely not need recurring treatments.

Silverfish in the Bedroom

Bedrooms are attractive places for silverfish to live because there are often clothes lying around and boxes that aren’t routinely opened. If you find them in your bedroom, you should make sure that you don’t have unknown water damage. Sometimes, damp-loving insects’ appearance is the first sign that there’s an undiagnosed plumbing problem. The exterminator inspects the bedroom and surrounding rooms, including the attic and basement for nests. Then, they treat the areas with pesticides. The cost of a single treatment to get rid of silverfish in the bedroom is between $200 and $350.

Silverfish in the Kitchen

Silverfish like to live in pantries, kitchen drawers, and food boxes. Their love of carbohydrates makes the kitchen a food-rich environment with lots of dark hiding places. The stove is an especially common dwelling spot for Firebrat Silverfish. If Firebrats are the problem, an exterminator will find their nesting grounds in the stove or nearby in the kitchen. If only a single pesticide or DE treatment is necessary, it costs between $200 and $350.

Silverfish in the Sink

Despite popular belief, any sign of silverfish in the drain or sink does not indicate an infestation in either location. The insects are unable to climb smooth vertical surfaces, including drains and sink basins. When you find one there, they were likely attracted to the water but got trapped at the bottom of the bowl. If you’ve only seen one silverfish in your sink and nowhere else in your home, chances are the problem is still contained in the bathroom. An exterminator will charge you between $200 and $350 for an inspection and a single pesticide or DE application.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in the Closet

Silverfish are found in closets because they tend to destroy clothes and other textiles. Unless it’s silk, which they eat because it contains cellulose, silverfish do not actually eat clothes. Instead, the insects eat the crumbs and residue of starches and sugars left on clothes. No matter the reason, the result is destroyed fabric. Luckily, a closet is an ideal environment for silverfish, so most likely, a single pesticide application or DE will do the trick. An exterminator will charge you between $200 and $350 for an inspection and a single treatment.

Silverfish in Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are one of the easiest spots to treat silverfish. An exterminator treats the entire area one time, and it’s unlikely that they will return to that spot. However, they need to inspect the room and surrounding rooms for signs of the insects’ nesting grounds. A light fixture is not an ideal location for nesting. The exterminator needs to find out where the silverfish are entering the home. An exterminator will charge you between $200 and $350 for a home inspection and a single treatment to the light fixture and any other identified problem areas.

Silverfish in the Carpet

Finding silverfish on and under your carpet can be alarming. Spotting silverfish in this location indicates that you have a serious problem. An exterminator inspects your entire home and recommends a treatment plan. If only a single application is needed, they will spray pesticides around the perimeter or sprinkle DE across every carpeted room in your home. If recurring applications are needed, they will suggest either a monthly or quarterly schedule to ensure that all eggs and nests have been destroyed. A single application to treat silverfish in carpet costs around $300.

Silverfish in the Attic

Attics and basements are the most common places to find silverfish. If you have the insects in your attic, they have most likely set up nests throughout the space. They also have access to the rest of your home through the walls. An exterminator determines the extent of the damage, but most of the time, a silverfish problem in the attic requires a recurring treatment plan. Expect to pay $300 to $350 for a single treatment in the attic.

Silverfish on the Wall

When you see a silverfish on the wall, take it as a sign that its nesting grounds are somewhere else. An exterminator will find and treat it. Depending on where the nests are, they might recommend additional treatments. A single treatment to the wall and the nesting grounds costs $300 to $350 for a single treatment.

Silverfish Exterminator Cost

The cost of silverfish eradication varies depending on the size of the infestation. Most professionals first confirm the presence of silverfish and then determine the extent of the issue. If your infestation is severe, the exterminator may make several follow-up visits to monitor and apply insecticide until the problem is solved. They may also use a combination of methods, along with traps and preventative sprays.

Costs vary for visits and treatment, with minor issues starting at around $200. Severe infestations and repeat visits may cost more. Additional costs will be incurred either monthly or quarterly.

Silverfish Extermination Cost

ContractsCost per Treatment
One-time Visit/Single Treatment$200 - $250
Monthly$40 - $50
Quarterly$100 - $300

Silverfish Infestation by Type

Six types of silverfish may be identified. They all look very similar but can be distinguished by slightly different markings and colorations. Since all silverfish have the same life and reproduction cycles, there is no price difference for exterminating the various types. The cost to exterminate silverfish depends on the treatment.

Types of Silverfish

Types of Silverfish

Gray Silverfish

Gray Silverfish are also known as long-tailed silverfish and paper silverfish. They grow up to two inches in length, making them the largest of the species. Their bodies are gray to dark gray with a sheen but no distinctive markings. You most commonly find them in dark drawers and cupboards where food crumbs and paper are abundant.

Four-Lined Silverfish

The Four-Lined Silverfish has four black lines running down its back. They can be as long as an inch and a half making them bigger than other silverfish. This type of silverfish is distinctively tan with a gray cast. They prefer temperatures that are slightly warmer than other silverfish but still prefer high-humidity environments. Four-lined silverfish are especially common under roof shingles 2 and in attics.

Firebrat Silverfish

Firebrats get their name from their love of heat. If you have a silverfish problem in your chimney, fireplace, or oven, you’re probably dealing with Firebrats. These insects also like nesting near heating ducts, making it difficult to know that you have a problem. The Firebrat’s elongated and oblong bodies have a yellow sheen.

Bristletail Silverfish

Even though the Bristletail Silverfish is the most common subspecies, it is unlikely that you’ll find them in your home. They prefer to be outdoors and do not often venture inside. Their favorite environments for living and nesting include under tree bark and decaying leaves. The Bristletail Silverfish’s eating preferences are distinctly different from other subspecies that more frequently invade homes. They eat mostly algae, mosses, and lichens that grow in woody areas.

Common Silverfish

Common Silverfish are silver to gray, with no other distinctive marks on its segmented body. It is wingless and only an inch in length. They prefer to live indoors in dark, humid spaces with access to food. You most often find Common Silverfish living in kitchens, damp basements, and bathrooms. Individually, it’s easy to catch a Common Silverfish in a trap, but just one sighting in your home usually indicates a bigger problem that should be treated by a professional.

Jumping Bristletail

The Jumping Bristletail (aka jumping silverfish) is a subspecies of Bristletail Silverfish. These are some of the smallest silverfish measuring just under an inch. Their smooth bodies are either silver or black, with no defining markings. Like regular Bristletails, they’re probably not causing problems in your home. They prefer to live outside under rocks and trees. A Jumping Bristletail gets most of its cellulose from decaying leaves.

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Signs of Silverfish Infestation

Silverfish are insects found in all 50 states. So, it is very common for a few to make their way indoors, particularly if they find a food source. If they locate food and the conditions are just right, they move in permanently and begin breeding.

If this happens, you may notice a few insects as your first sign. They may be in the bathroom or another damp area or near a food source, such as books, wallpaper, lumber, newspapers, cereal boxes, or bags of flour. If you see a few silverfish in one area, look more closely for an infestation. When silverfish molt, they leave behind a casing (shed skin), which may be near the area where they eat. Their feces are small dots that look similar to pepper. You may also see these near areas where they have been eating. Places where they have been invading will have yellow stains, especially on clothes and papers. If you spot small holes in your flour bags, cereal boxes, curtains, or books, these can be signs of silverfish. If you look at the area where the hole leads, you may find the insects themselves.

Silverfish are nocturnal, so you are most likely to spot them and signs of their activity at night. They are likely to live in damp, dark, and quiet places, such as bathrooms, attics, basements, closets, storage rooms, and some kitchen cabinets.

Are Silverfish Dangerous?

Silverfish bugs pose almost no harm to both people and pets. They are not poisonous, do not bite or sting, and do not transmit diseases. They have very little jaw strength, which makes it almost impossible for them to bite anything. You do not need to be concerned about yourself or your pet being injured in any way by silverfish.

The only minor safety consideration with silverfish in your home is allergens. Silverfish molt (shed their skin) up to 50 times in their lifetime. They leave many casings around in addition to their droppings. If the shed skin is not removed through routine cleanings, it could irritate the lungs, sinuses, and skin of people with severe allergies or asthma.

Silverfish feeding on paper

All About Silverfish

Silverfish (aka fish moths or urban silverfish) are small, wingless insects with six legs and a metallic sheen. They are between 0.5 inch and 2 inches long and move in a fish-like manner, hence their name. Silverfish can be grey, white, light brown, silver, or yellow. These nocturnal insects are often mistaken for earwigs, but unlike the common “pincher bug,” silverfish do not bite people or pets.

Silverfish Life Cycle

Silverfish live between two and three years. In that time, females lay up to 100 eggs. It can take up to 43 days from the point of fertilization for eggs to hatch. Silverfish have a three-stage life cycle, which means that they start in eggs, hatch as nymphs, and mature into adults. Once hatched, nymphs look identical to their parents. They molt (shed their skin) many times before they are full-grown adults. For silverfish to mature into adults takes around four months. Unlike most insects, silverfish molt throughout their adult life. The skin they leave behind is a common allergen for humans.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Silverfish are not harmful to your family, but they can be destructive to the paper, clothing, and wallpaper in your home. These insects eat items with cellulose, the most common complex carbohydrate. Cellulose is found in a wide variety of household items. These items include the fruits and vegetables in your kitchen and the adhesive used to bind packaged food, books, and wallpaper.

Sometimes silverfish even enter the house through unopened boxes of packaged food. When they enter your home, they seek out dark crevices with plenty to eat. You’ll most likely find them in bookshelves, linen cabinets, and kitchen drawers and behind wallpaper.

Where Do Silverfish Lay Eggs?

Silverfish lay eggs in nests. The most preferred places for nests are dark, humid crevices in attics, basements, and around heating/cooling ducts. Kitchen cabinets are also preferred because forgotten crumbs offer a constant food source. Nests are extremely hard to spot because of their remote location and because they are so small. Silverfish eggs are only 0.5 ml long. Hiring a professional is the best way to identify and treat an infestation.

What Attracts Silverfish

All subspecies of silverfish are attracted to dark, damp places that offer an ample source of cellulose. Any environment with at least 75% humidity will be preferable to the insects. Silverfish also love areas where they won’t be disturbed. Areas attractive to silverfish include drawers, closets, and unopened boxes.

Silverfish Damage

The real issue with silverfish is the damage they can do to your property. Clothes, curtains, newspapers, books, and grains are some of the household items silverfish eat. Because they live for up to three years and reproduce as many as 50 times during those three years, they can very quickly overwhelm a home. What do silverfish damage? They damage almost everything in a home, including clothing, antique books, wallpaper, and in some cases, lumber.

If you’re a book collector, silverfish book damage can be a costly affair. Silverfish ruin books by eating the cellulose that’s in the binding adhesive. Book repair is a very individualized and customized process. Cost factors include paper type, cover material, age of the book, the extent of the damage, and the availability of replacement materials. Most collectors should expect to pay between $250 and $5,000 to repair book damage from silverfish.

Unless the clothing is made from silk, containing cellulose, silverfish damage to clothes is inadvertent on the silverfish’s part. They don’t eat cotton, wool, and polyester. However, they eat the tiny bits of crumb and food residue that the washing machine missed. While they attempt to eat the food lodged deep in textiles, they chew through clothing and ruin it. To repair minor clothing damage from silverfish, expect to pay between $25 and $100.

Wood also contains cellulose, so silverfish may cause wood damage. However, it’s not a necessarily costly one. Silverfish have very little jaw strength, so while they can scrape the surface of lumber, the damage is cosmetic at most.

How to Prevent Silverfish

Extermination is only one piece of the puzzle for completely ridding your home of silverfish. Most exterminators advise you on the best methods for preventing silverfish. Otherwise, the exterminator may need to make monthly visits to keep them away.

Prevention takes many forms depending on the location of the silverfish, how many there are, and your geographic location. The exterminator may suggest storing food in airtight containers and ensuring that crumbs and food residue are always cleaned up.

To reduce the humidity and overall water usage in your home, run a dehumidifier in damp areas, insulate pipes to reduce condensation, and seal up any water or moisture leaks. In the attic, you can also install vents and attic fans to reduce humidity buildup.

In the basement, cover dirt basement floors with plastic to seal them, treat any mold or mildew, and seal up cracks around your home where the silverfish may be entering. Throwing out old newspapers, boxes, and other piles will give insects fewer places to hide.

Lastly, be diligent about regularly airing out closets, clothing, trunks, and other storage areas. Once you’ve done all of this, consider positioning a silverfish deterrent around your home. Deterrents include strong-smelling herbs including cinnamon and cloves.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Professional Cleaning

While silverfish do not carry diseases, they leave behind stains and feces. You may wish to hire cleaners to remove these. House cleaning services cost from $100 to $410.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Anything stored in an infested area, including boxes and plastic containers, allow the pests to spread.
  • Leaving food or dirty dishes out in the open lure the silverfish into your home.
  • Silverfish pest control services include repelling silverfish from areas of your home with cinnamon or boric acid. Keep in mind that these have varying degrees of effectiveness and may not kill the insects.
  • Silverfish are white when first hatched. At this stage 3 1, they are called nymphs. They molt several times as they grow to full-sized adults, about ¾-inch in length.
  • The longer a silverfish infestation exists, the more difficult and expensive it will be to eradicate them. Professionals should always treat large infestations.
  • Silverfish prevention and control requires you to be proactive. Even If you see silverfish but do not think that you have an infestation, you can use silverfish bait traps to eliminate the few you see.
  • Silverfish repellents keep the insects at bay. Silverfish mothballs are one type of repellant strategy. Place them all around the areas in which you suspect a problem.
  • Cedarwood and cedar oil are also repellents because the smell is noxious to silverfish. Spread the scent around your clothes, books, and other silverfish-friendly items to keep them away.


  • Is it bad to have silverfish?

Silverfish do not carry diseases, but they can do a lot of damage to your home, including books, wallpaper, curtains, clothes, and some food items.

  • Do silverfish have nests?​

They do not nest, but they can occupy large areas, especially when the area is quiet, dark, and damp.

  • What causes a silverfish infestation?​

Most silverfish are lured into your home by the smell of food. They like grains and carbs and are attracted to these things.

  • Do silverfish go in beds?​

Silverfish prefer quiet, dark, damp spaces. So, it is unlikely that they will visit a frequently used, dry bed.

  • What scents do silverfish hate?

Silverfish are not fond of spicy aromas. Cinnamon, cloves, and other strong-smelling spices may keep them away.

  • Where do silverfish come from?

Silverfish enter your home through gaps in your exterior building material, searching for dark, damp places to lay eggs. They can also hitch a ride in or on unopened food packaging from the grocery store.

  • What temperature kills silverfish?

Silverfish are incredibly resilient. They can withstand a wide temperature change. However, immature silverfish (nymphs) will not survive temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 112 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • What do silverfish droppings look like?

Silverfish droppings are tiny black specks that resemble ground black pepper.

  • How do silverfish get in the house?

Silverfish enter through small holes in the facade of the house or gaps in the building’s exterior. They can also enter on unopened food packages from the grocery store.


Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Fluoride: A mineral that protects against tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel
glossary term picture Shingle 2 Shingles: A smooth, uniform, flat piece of construction material, available in a wide variety of materials and laid in a series of overlapping rows, used to cover the outside of roofs or walls to protect against weather damage and leaks.
glossary term picture Scaffolding 3 Stage: A temporary structure used during construction/maintenance/painting projects to raise and support workers (or one worker), required materials, and equipment

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Silverfish feeding on paper
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