How to Kill Silverfish in Pipes & Drains


Silverfish or lepisma saccharina, are wingless insects with six legs and long, slender bodies. This greyish-green insect thrives in moist climates, such as in and around pipes and drains, and prefers temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Silverfish measure a 1/2 inch, and feed on mold and fungi. Once a silverfish finds a source of food, it will lay eggs. There are a variety of methods to kill silverfish; the key is to find what works best in certain areas of your home. Experiment with one or a combination of methods until these pesky insects are gone for good.

Things You'll Need

  • Caulking gun
  • Caulking
  • Cloth
  • Sticky traps
  • Insecticide for silverfish
  • Insecticide dust with boric acid
  • Bulb duster
  • Fix leaky pipes or broken drains in your home. Assess your windows and doors, and apply caulking to cracks or exposed areas. Place the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle near a crack. Keep the pressure consistent, and steadily drag the gun across the crack while releasing the plunger. Allow the caulk to dry. In addition, dry out any damp areas, such as underneath a sink, with a fan or dehumidifier.

  • Add sticky traps around drains and pipes. The silverfish will walk onto the trap and die. Remove the trap and discard immediately.

  • Spray a treatment around your baseboards, windows and doors. Make a 2-foot band all the way around the foundation wall of your home. Visit your local home and gardening store, and read the labels of insecticides. Look for products containing synergized pyrethrin and pyrethroids.

  • Place the bulb duster into the insecticide dust. Brush on a thin layer in the areas you are treating. Concentrate on cracks and crevices in and around drains and pipes. Refrain from dusting the powder too thick; it will get pasty from any water leakage and be difficult for the silverfish to pick up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Moisten your fingers before touching fresh caulk. This will help you guide the caulking where you need it to be.
  • Ventilate attics to help control silverfish.
  • Change traps every three months, and reapply dusting powder every 6 to 12 months.
  • If silverfish are not eliminated in two to three weeks after control takes place, you are not concentrating on the right areas.
  • Be sure to check the label of your dust. Some dusts are restricted to closed areas.

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