How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Silverfish?

Average National Cost
? All cost data throughout this article are collected using the RSMeans construction materials database.
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$200 - $650

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Updated On

April 25, 2024

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Silverfish are small, elongated insects with a triangular shape that are from the order Thysanura. They’re typically half an inch to one inch in length and have a shiny gray or silver coloring. As their name suggests, these insects are “fish-like” in appearance due to their shiny, scale-like appearance. 

The average cost of professional silverfish control is around $400.

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Silverfish are often found in areas with plenty of moisture because they feed on fungal molds and other organic matter, such as natural fabrics, books, and paper. Bathrooms, kitchens, attics, basements, and crawl spaces are popular hiding places for silverfish. If you live in a humid area, such as the southern states in the United States of America, then you may even spot silverfish outside. Typically, silverfish are nocturnal, so they’re primarily active during the night. If you spot them in your house, it will likely be at night in a humid or moist area, such as the sink or shower. 

If you discover silverfish in your home, you may be asking yourself what can be done about your silverfish problem. There are a large variety of DIY treatments and professional pest control treatments that can be performed to eliminate silverfish from your home.

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What Influences Cost? 


Silverfish are among the most challenging household pests to get rid of, and they often need to be treated quarterly, especially if you live in a humid climate. Quarterly pesticide applications can cost one to three hundred dollars per application after completing the initial application. Other types of treatments, like diatomaceous earth, will also require frequent applications, and these treatments will usually cost around $50 monthly to maintain their effectiveness. 


The severity of your silverfish infestation will be the most significant factor in what influences the cost of silverfish treatments. Once your exterminator assesses your home, they will determine the severity and extent of your infestation. For example, you may have silverfish in just one small area of your home, such as a bathroom, or you could have a more extensive infestation of silverfish hiding in shingles on your roof and in the attic. The latter will require more products and treatments to deal with, thus raising the cost of your overall pest control treatment. Severe infestations are also more likely to need future visits to manage, especially if your home has factors that make it more susceptible to a silverfish infestation, such as high humidity, a roof with unkempt shingles, etc. 


Silverfish are versatile pests that can live in a large variety of environments. Most often, they’re found in our bathrooms due to the natural humidity in this space. Bathrooms are usually one of the smaller rooms of our homes, so a pesticide treatment will often only cost $200 to $350. Other areas of the house, like a kitchen, closet, and bedroom, will likely have a similar price point. However, the attic, walls, and roofs can quickly become more expensive to treat because they’re often larger in size and tricker to get to, in the case of treating shingles or inside of walls. Walls and roofs may also need extensive repairs if the silverfish have damaged the area by creating larger crevices, which can be expensive to fix. 

Methods Used

Many methods may be used to treat silverfish. Commonly, a pest control professional may apply silverfish pesticides, such as pyrethrins or silverfish diatomaceous earth. For more extreme cases, fumigation may be necessary to tackle a large number of silverfish on your property. 

The price difference between pesticides and diatomaceous earth applications is close, usually around a couple of hundred dollars for a 2,000 square foot home. However, fumigation for a home of that size would cost a significant amount, ranging from one to two thousand dollars in many cases. Some infestations may also require multiple treatment methods, such as traps, preventive sprays, and fumigation for the initial treatment. All of this will greatly impact the cost of your treatment plan. 


Silverfish treatments can be a pretty penny, but the repairs are often far more expensive than the treatments for silverfish. Unfortunately, these household pests are a real pain when it comes to the many things they can damage in our homes. Silverfish can damage many materials ranging from clothes to books, curtains, newspapers, food items, lumber, wallpaper, and more. 

For example, silk clothing can be destroyed by silverfish. Silverfish may also damage other types of clothing accidentally when they’re eating crumbs and food residue that is on our clothing. You can expect to pay around $25 to $100 for minor clothing repairs. Usually, silverfish cannot seriously damage wood or lumber because they don’t have strong enough jaws to do more than scrape the surface. Other materials, like books and papers, are not so lucky. Book collectors can suffer a severe loss because silverfish will eat the cellulose in book bindings. Book repairs can be costly, especially if the book is a collector’s item. Book repairs can easily cost $250 to $5,000 after extensive silverfish damage.

One-time visit
This one-time treatment includes an inspection, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up (if needed), costing $150 to $350.
Monthly service
Averaging $125 to $300 for an initial visit, this service includes inspections and treatments, costing between $50 to $75
Annual service
A recurring service that provides regular inspections and treatments once a year, costing between $125 to $500.

Signs & Causes of a Silverfish Infestation 

Silverfish are shy, secretive insects, so it’s possible to have a silverfish infestation and not know about it for quite some time. If you think you have a silverfish problem, look for the following signs:

  • Silverfish feces (look for tiny black pellets that resemble black peppercorns) 
  • Yellow stains
  • Finding scales
  • Feeding marks, such as chewing marks, holes, and etches on organic materials
  • Shed skin (molts)
  • Holes and crevices in your home widening from silverfish burrowing in there
  • Finding holes in wallpaper, cardboard, storage boxes, books, and paper
  • Damaged starchy foods, like sugar, cereals, and oats (the storage containers these are in may also be damaged from silverfish breaking in) 

Like many household pests, silverfish may choose to hang around if they find easy access to food and shelter. Here are some possible causes of silverfish hanging around your home. 

  • Easy access to your home (gaps in your home’s exterior, torn window or door screens, etc.) 
  • Starchy foods not properly stored in plastic containers 
  • High humidity areas of your homes
  • Living in a high humidity climate
  • Plenty of books sitting around undisturbed (silverfish are attracted to the cellulose in paper and book bindings)
  • A collection of vintage clothing, especially ones made from natural fibers which silverfish will eat
  • An existing insect infestation (silverfish may feed on other dead insects, like termites, cockroaches, and bed bugs)
  • A dirty home (silverfish will eat dust, hair, and built up synthetic fibers, which is why regular vacuuming is so important) 
  • Leaks in your home, resulting in excess moisture and damp places
  • Easy access to their preferred food sources, such as mold
  • A shingle roof (which provides silverfish with plenty of hiding places and mold)
  • Bringing already infested foods into your home (silverfish are sometimes found in purchased carbohydrates, cereals, and pet food, which are then brought into your home, leading to an infestation)

Health Risks 

Silverfish are considered a nuisance pest because they primarily cause damage to homes and property rather than causing health problems for homeowners and their families. 

However, some studies have found that the scales silverfish shed can trigger allergy symptoms, especially aggravated respiratory symptoms. Silverfish scales contain tropomyosin, a protein, which can cause allergic reactions, especially when they mix with other allergens around the home. Some people may also be allergic to silverfish droppings, further irritating their allergies and respiratory system. 

Silverfish also eat organic matter. While they prefer feasting on mold, they may eat food products, such as flour and meat, resulting in contaminated food that is unhealthy for humans to consume. 

As a whole, silverfish are considered a relatively low health risk to humans. However, their destructive nature and the possibilities of an allergic reaction are enough to make many homeowners take action to eliminate their silverfish problem.

silverfish on the wall

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

So, should you DIY a treatment plan for your silverfish problem or contact your local pest control company to have these pests dealt with? Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but here are some of your top options for dealing with these household pests. 


DIY solutions to treat silverfish usually include sticky traps, which can catch individual silverfish. Please note that these are not effective against widespread infestations but can help against a small silverfish problem. Other popular DIY solutions include keeping your pet and human food in airtight plastic containers and thoroughly cleaning your home to discourage pests from entering in search of food. We also recommend examining your home for leaks and other areas with excess moisture since silverfish are attracted to water. A dehumidifier can help dry out the air in your attic or basement, which are popular areas that silverfish congregate. Water drains and gutters should also be checked out and well maintained to prevent water from building up or draining close to your home. You can also do a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior. Look for cracks and crevices, which may allow silverfish to enter your home. If you find crevices, fill them with a caulking material to prevent pests from using these as an entry point. 


Terminix has over 90 years of experience treating termites and pests. Its pest control plan does cover treatments for silverfish. The plan will keep your home protected with regular pesticide applications that will help you to manage a variety of pests, including “house” ants, cockroaches, rats, spiders, crickets, clothes moths, silverfish, earwigs, centipedes, and more. As a whole, the pest control plan is a great way to ensure you’re protected from common household pests. Terminix also offers 24/7 support and has expertly trained technicians that can identify and treat your silverfish problem quickly and effectively. They offer free quotes after your initial assessment and will go over different treatment options with you. They may also recommend home improvement work that can prevent silverfish from entering your home.


Silverfish infestations are serious because they can cause a lot of damage to your home, especially if it’s adult silverfish. Your Orkin professional will assess your home, then determine a customized treatment plan for your specific situation. Then, they will treat the perimeter of your home to defend it against silverfish and other pests. Orkin will then seal and plug up any gaps or crevices that silverfish may live in. Then, they will continue to monitor the problem and follow up to make sure your situation continues to improve. If you have any concerns between visits, simply call, and they will respond immediately to your concerns. 


Aptive takes an eco-friendly approach with its pest control treatments. Its pest control experts will start by thoroughly investigating your home and creating a customized pest control plan. The company’s four seasons protection plan guarantees your property’s safety from silverfish and other household pests. In addition, Aptive looks for long-term solutions and avoids short-term fixes, like silverfish traps and insecticides. Aptive will look at discouraging silverfish from being on your property by decreasing pest-friendly places.  

Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but be aware that silverfish are notoriously difficult for even professionals to eradicate entirely. Silverfish are often best left to the professionals since they will have greater access to tools and equipment that may be needed, such as equipment to fumigate your home.

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What Is the Standard Silverfish Extermination Process? 

There are many ways that the silverfish extermination process can be performed. Most pest control professionals will begin with a thorough assessment of both the interior and exterior of your home. As they examine your home, they will not only look for signs of a silverfish infestation but for gaps, crevices, and holes that silverfish could be using to get into your home. Silverfish are also attracted to these gaps and cracks because they make great hiding places, and many pests will lay their eggs and breed in these crevices. If you have a lot of openings in your home’s exterior or many indoor crevices, your pest control professional may recommend filling in these crevices with a caulking product. Additionally, replacing torn window screens and installing door sweeps to prevent silverfish from entering your home is another smart move. 

Once your exterminator has established where silverfish are hiding in your home, they will go over different treatment options with you. At this time, it’s vital that you bring up any concerns you may have about using insecticides or specific treatments. If you have children or pets, this is a critical factor for your exterminator to know before they begin treating your home with a pesticide. Depending on the severity of your infestation, your exterminator may use insecticide, diatomaceous earth, and exclusion techniques to prevent silverfish from entering your home in the future. 

They may also recommend other steps that you can take to reduce silverfish problems, such as storing food in sturdy plastic containers and having leaks fixed immediately to reduce humidity and moisture in your home. A dehumidifier may also be a recommended purchase as it can reduce humidity in common silverfish hiding areas, like attics and basements.

Final Thoughts

Silverfish are quick, creepy pests that can quickly damage your belongings, food, and home. If you catch these fast pests, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local exterminator for immediate help as silverfish breed rapidly and will expand the infestation quickly. Don’t underestimate the damage that even a few silverfish can cause. The repairs are often far more expensive than the actual treatment costs.

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Editorial Contributors
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Ed Spicer

Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

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Lora Novak

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Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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