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Silverfish Poison – 3 Effective Examples

silverfish poison

Are you seeing yellow stains on your clothes or finding small black pellets around your home? Have you discovered creepy little insects crawling inside your cereal box or chewed cardboard? You may have a silverfish infestation. Fortunately, several types of silverfish poison can be used to eliminate these pests. These include boric acid, Diatomaceous Earth, and chemical controls.

Keep reading to learn how to get rid of silverfish and safeguard your valuable possessions from their relentless hunger.

Dekko Silverfish Packs for Insects
  • Boric Acid 20.0%
  • Dekko Silverfish Paks are to be used in residential housing (indoors and attics), basements, closets, bookcases, around household clothing and fabric containers, drawers, and also rugs and carpets.
  • Dekko Silverfish apply at approximately 2 oz per 100 square feet or 1 quart per 250 square feet

3 Kinds Of Silverfish Poison

The following are examples of effective silverfish poisons. Poisons should always be handled following safety and labeling instructions and must be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Keep in mind that poisons should not be mixed with each other.

Silverfish poisons should be applied to places where they harbor. Silverfish hide in tight cracks and crevices during the day. Typically, they can be found in areas with higher levels of warmth and moisture, such as bathrooms, attics, basements, garages, and even shake roofs.

1. Boric Acid

Boric acid is a versatile and commonly used poison for killing insects, including silverfish. However, it can be toxic if inhaled or ingested, so it’s important to follow all labeling precautions. Boric acid will kill silverfish if ingested and will dehydrate them by penetrating their exoskeletons.

Ecoxall Boric Acid Fine Powder - 1 Pound - 99.9% Pure Fine Powder - Highly Effective Multipurpose Cleaner - Used as a Kitchen Cleaner, Laundry Stain Remover and Deodorizer - Industrial Grade Strength
  • BORIC ACID: Boric acid, also known as boracic acid or orthoboric acid, is white, odorless, and nearly tasteless. It looks like fine table salt in the granular form or baby powder in the powdered form. With a purity of 99.9%, it is a powerful and reliable choice for various uses.
  • MULTIPURPOSE CLEANING: Versatile in nature, this fine powder is a highly effective multipurpose cleaner, excelling in tasks such as removing laundry stains, unclogging kitchen drains, getting rid of odors from clothes and shoes, and providing an efficient solution for various cleaning needs.
  • INDUSTRIAL GRADE: With its industrial-grade strength, our Boric Acid Powder is engineered to deliver exceptional performance in various applications. This fine powder works as the perfect drain unclogger, it removes tough clogs in various types of drains.
  • LAUNDRY USAGE: Elevate your laundry game by incorporating this fine powder, which acts as a potent laundry stain remover. Its industrial-grade strength ensures the efficient removal of stains, enhancing the cleanliness of your fabrics and it is also an effective laundry drain cleaner.
  • DEODORIZING POWER: Experience the deodorizing capabilities of our boric acid, contributing to a fresher environment by neutralizing odors. Its high purity and strength make it a reliable choice for tackling unpleasant smells in various settings, making it an excellent shoe deodorizer and kitchen cleaner.

Sprinkle Boric Acid

Use powdered boric acid to dust cracks and crevices. For example, the JT Eaton 360 Answer Boric Acid Insecticidal Dust comes with the following features:

  • 16-ounce bottle
  • Non-staining
  • Non-flammable
  • Applicator tip
  • Pack of 2
  • Ready-to-use
  • Made in the USA

Wear eye protection and gloves. Squeeze the bottle to send dust into cracks and crevices where silverfish activity is present.

Spray Boric Acid

To create an effective boric acid insecticide spray, mix boric acid powder, sugar, and water. Use a ratio of 2 tablespoons of boric acid and 2 cups of sugar for every 1 cup of water. The sugar will also lure and kill other insect pests such as ants and cockroaches.

Boric Acid Trap

Sticky traps work well against silverfish and, when combined with boric acid, make them very effective. An example is Dekko Silverfish Packs with the following features:

  • 24 packs
  • Active ingredient: boric acid 20.0%
  • Interior glue
  • For indoor use
  • Use 2 ounces per 100 square feet

Dekko Silverfish packs have an interior glue with boric acid. Silverfish enter the trap to consume the boric acid and become stuck. Eventually, they will die. Traps can simply be discarded in an enclosed trash bin. This product is designed to work for up to 4 months for prolonged protection.

2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Safer Home SH51703 OMRI Listed Diatomaceous Earth - Ant, Roach, Bedbug, Flea, Silverfish, Earwig, & Crawling Insect Killer
  • Say Goodbye to Bugs – Kills a variety crawling insects including roaches, ants, fleas, silverfish, earwigs, bedbugs, and more
  • Attracts and Kills – Made from diatomaceous earth and selected baits, this powder causes insects to dehydrate and die within 48 hours after contact
  • Mechanical Killer – Unlike many traditional chemical insecticides, insects cannot build an immunity to diatomaceous earth
  • Use Where Insects Hide – DE can be used indoors or outdoors. Apply in cracks and crevices, along baseboards, or create a barrier around entry points
  • Peace of Mind – This powder is OMRI Listed and compliant for use in organic gardening so you can use it without worry

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a natural and safe way to eliminate silverfish from your home. This powder is made from the fossilized remains of algae called diatoms. Unlike boric acid, it is non-toxic and overall safer to use. When silverfish come into contact with DE, it penetrates their exoskeletons, causing them to dry out and die.

To use DE as a silverfish killer, sprinkle a thin line along bookshelves, cupboards, and wardrobes. You can also dust cracks and crevices where they are harboring. Be consistent with its application by using it daily until silverfish activity has ceased.

Generally, insects may have difficulty picking up dust deposits if they become wet and then dry, causing them to cake. In such cases, you may need to reapply treatment to moist areas periodically. With successful and well-placed usage, you should see a significant decrease in the silverfish population within a few days to a week.

3. Chemical Treatments

If you’re dealing with a severe silverfish infestation, you may need to use a stronger approach. One option is to use commercial pesticides specifically designed to eliminate silverfish. Again, make sure to follow all safety and usage instructions.

Often, these treatments do not eliminate eggs, so other tactics as described in our guides will need to be implemented, or treatments will need to be repeated until the infestation is eradicated.

Sawyer Products SP6492 Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing, Gear & Tents, Trigger Spray, 12-Ounce, Twin Pack
  • Permethrin spray bonds to fabric fibers for up to 6 weeks or through 6 washings (whichever comes first) won't stain or damage clothing, fabrics, plastics, finished surfaces, or outdoor gear; fragrance free
  • Reduce likelihood of a tick bite by 73.6 times by treating shoes and socks with Permethrin (University of Rhode Island study - 2017); maximize protection by pairing with Sawyer Picaridin topical repellent for the skin
  • Add a layer of protection to your clothing and gear with Permethrin insect and tick repellent spray — perfect for use on shirts, jackets, pants, socks, shoes, boots, sleeping bags, tents, netting, when outdoors, camping, hunting, or on travel
  • Ideal for backpacking, backyard BBQs, hunting, and other outdoor activities, it's effective against more than 55 kinds of insects — from disease-spreading ticks (Lyme) and mosquitoes (West Nile & Zika) to chiggers, spiders, mites, and more
  • Sawyer Permethrin stays effective despite sweat or water, degrades via UV exposure or washing machine agitation; each 12-ounce trigger spray bottle treats 2 outfits (EPA now reconmends 4.5 ounces per outfit consisting of shirt, pants, and socks)


Pyrethrin is a potent silverfish poison that can effectively eradicate silverfish infestations. It is often found in flea-and-tick pet collars and is considered safer than other similar treatments. Pyrethrin is derived from the seed cases of certain chrysanthemum species, which makes it biodegradable. However, it is still toxic and should be used with caution, keeping it away from children, pets, and food preparation areas.

You can purchase pest repellents containing pyrethrin online or at local home centers. An example is Sawyer Products SP657 Premium Permethrin Spray with the following features:

  • 24 ounces
  • Unscented
  • Trigger spray
  • Ready-to-use

This repellent is effective against over 55 types of insects such as ticks, spiders, chiggers, mites, and more. A single application can last for up to 6 weeks or 6 washings, whichever occurs first, and provides protection through sun exposure. This repellent is a synthetic version of pyrethrum, a substance naturally derived from the chrysanthemum flower.


Deltamethrin is an effective solution for getting rid of silverfish and various other insects. However, it doesn’t eradicate the eggs, similar to pyrethrin. As a result, treating silverfish with deltamethrin might require a prolonged effort, particularly if the infestation is severe. Before using any product with deltamethrin, it is crucial to read and follow the instructions on the packaging and be cautious while dealing with toxic treatments.

FMC - 10062911 - D-Force - Insecticide - 14 oz
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • Protects up to 8 weeks.
  • Broad spectrum insect control
  • D-force is not a knockdown agent, so insects sprayed directly will not die immediately.
  • Not recommended as the sole treatment for listed pests such as bed bugs and termites.

An example is FMC D-Force Insecticide with the following features:

  • 14 ounces
  • Indoor & outdoor use
  • 8-week protection
  • Ready-to-use

D-Force is an silverfish poison that offers broad-spectrum control against a variety of pests. However, it does not kill immediately with direct contact. Additionally, it should not be applied directly to clothing. D-Force is a pressurized aerosol insecticide that contains the active ingredient deltamethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid that targets the central nervous system of insects. Once exposed to deltamethrin, insects will begin to experience paralysis and eventual death. D-Force can kill insects through exposure to the direct spray or contact with the dry residual for up to 8 weeks after application.

Other Silverfish Control Methods

A few weeks after applying insecticide properly and thoroughly, you should see results. However, if control isn’t achieved within 2 or 3 weeks, silverfish are likely to emerge from untreated areas and hidden shelters. It’s nearly impossible to control large populations of silverfish unless you’ve eliminated dripping water, damp surfaces, food sources, and hiding spots.


Silverfish presence in a home is not a result of a dirty environment but rather an indication of moist areas. However, dusty surfaces provide organic residue for food. To prevent their return, ventilate the attic, use air conditioning, dehumidifiers, and ventilation in bathrooms and basements, seal dry kitchen and pet food, and store clothing in dry areas. Recycle or discard newspapers and cardboard boxes, dust and vacuum regularly, and apply caulk to fill cracks and holes. Remove piles of composting leaves, brush, dead plants, and wood from around the home’s exterior walls to eliminate moisture.

Repellents & Traps

Our extensive guide can provide information on effective silverfish repellents and traps. Repellents include using essential oils, ultrasonic devices, citrus and cucumber peels, and cedar. Traps can be easily made or purchased. For example, make an inexpensive and non-toxic DIY trap designed to capture silverfish. This trap uses a textured surface to allow the silverfish to climb into the jar and access the bait but prevents them from climbing back out due to the slippery sides of the jar.

To make the trap, a food source such as flour, dried cereal, pet food, or moistened newspaper is placed inside a glass jar without a lid, which is then wrapped with masking tape to create a textured surface. The trap is placed in an area with silverfish activity, and the jar is rinsed and the tape replaced as needed.


There are three examples of effective silverfish poisons: boric acid, Diatomaceous Earth, and chemical treatments. These should be used according to their labeling for safety and usage. Preventatives and repellents are also necessary to fully eliminate silverfish infestations. If in doubt, contact professional pest control services.