Actual Size: ½ to ¾”

Characteristics:  Flattened body, metallic steel gray; covered with dull gray-silver scales

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: No

Tails: 3

Habitat: Usually in moist or humid areas in properties, including basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.


  • Also known as firebrats.
  • Do not have wings and move in a quick fish-like manner.
  • Known for destructive feeding habits, damaging clothing, paper, and wallpaper.

Silverfish in North Jersey

Silverfish and firebrats are two insects that have a lot of similarities and both can be found in North Jersey. For example, since the bodies of these insects are flattened, they can both often be found in small cracks and crevices. They’re attracted to books and can even be found within narrow book bindings, loose book pages, and corrugated cardboard. They’re fast, have the ability to move sideways, and can jump when disturbed.

Silverfish Habitat

Silverfish require humidity to survive and will hide during the day in high moisture areas like laundry rooms, under sinks, and in crawl spaces. Silverfish produce enzymes in their guts that digest cellulose. Because of this, they will often inhabit bookcases, closets, and places with books, clothing, or dry goods. Silverfish and firebrats especially enjoy consuming paper products with a glazed finish, which may consist of starch, dextrin, casein, gum, and glue. They can also be cannibalistic, consuming dead or injured silverfish.

Silverfish Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Silverfish do not have wings. They get their name because they move from place to place in a quick fish-like way. If their hiding spot is disturbed, they will dart toward another secluded place.  Silverfish do not bite or sting, but they can damage books, personal items, and food. With their weak jaws, silverfish scrape instead of bite. This results in holes in fabric and clothing, as well as discoloration of books, paper products, and wallpaper. Silverfish can contaminate dry foods such as cereals, flour, pasta, and pet food. If you have excess silverfish in your North Jersey property, get in touch with our home exterminators for a hassle-free solution.