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Silverfish Bites. Dangers, Symptoms & Treatment

silverfish

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: CC BY-SA 4.0

By nature, silverfish are arthropods which are considered by many as some of the most primitive living insects. Silverfish are not known to carry or spread any wide-known disease and are generally considered safe. However, certain cases of silverfish bites occur and people who are convinced they were bitten by the insects, share details about the experience.

Most often, silverfish feed on items that contain cellulose such as paper and would not bite a person. Despite this fact, it turns out that many individuals have been bitten by this insect. Of course, there weren’t any serious consequences from the bite as silverfish are harmless.

In this post we cover everything related to the silverfish bites – are they dangerous, silverfish bite symptoms, do silverfish cause allergies, how to prevent allergic reactions to silverfish & what attracts silverfish. Check the content below to become more familiar with everything related to silverfish bites.

Do Silverfish Bite People?

reaction similar to silverfish bite

Image source: Wikimedia; License type: Public Domain Image

Silverfish rarely bite. The reason for this is the fact that the insects of this family have mouthparts that enable food consumption only by chewing tiny particles off of something. Usually, silverfish feed not just on paper, but on linen and cotton fabric as well. The bites of bed bugs shown on the picture very often make people think they were bitten by a silverfish, which is often a mistake.

This insect is not known to attack in self-defense and would rather try to escape. The only cases when people are bitten by silverfish occur during their sleep. This is a moment when the insect doesn’t feel threaten and probably takes a bite from the person’s skin in attempt to feed on it.

Are Silverfish Harmful. How Dangerous Are They?

The best way to find out if silverfish are harmful is to take a look at what those who were bitten by silverfish share about their experience.

Some describe the feeling of silverfish bite very similar to being bitten by an ant:

“I had a silverfish bite my leg it was like an ant bite so they are not innocent”.

“I was just bitten by a silverfish. I had the misfortune of sitting on one on the floor. It but the back of my leg. The bite was like an ant bite. Stung and itched for a few minutes but there was a tiny dot of blood from the bite”.

Other describe the silverfish bite as a feeling of sharp pain at the spot.

“I was bit by a silverfish. There was a sharp pain on my arm.The pain was sharp like an ant or bee sting. I know what I was,felt and killed on my arm”.

“Do silverfish bite? One time I was sitting around on the floor and felt a sharp pain like something had bit me. I looked around and all I saw was a silverfish running around on the floor”.

“Yes, they bite. I was lying in bed reading one evening, and felt a presence on my forearm. Looking down, it was a silverfish, with which I am quite familiar.. Suddenly … OW! A distinct and surprisingly painful pinch. It left no perceptible wound or mark. But I felt it without question”.

“I woke up the other night and killed a silverfish on my stomach. The next morning I had a red patch the size of two half dollars between my belly button and belt line. It was sore for a day, itched for a day and then disappeared. There is a clear “bite” mark on my stomach”.

“We’ve had silverfish in the last 3 apartments we’ve lived in, all nice places. Last night I was about to jump into bed when I felt a painful sting on the inside of my thigh. Behold there was a bug on my leg and IT BIT ME! I’ve never had problems with silverfish biting before and know that they’re known to NOT bite, but I think some of these critters have lost their minds and DO bite. I smashed the bug with my phone into the carpet, but most of the bug is still in tact.

It looks like a lighter silverfish – it’s not a centipede either – seen those, killed those, but my confirmation was the silver streaks on the backside of my phone. Silverfish leave a silver streak behind them. As I cleaned off my phone I can see the silver – almost like faint glitter left behind where I smashed the bug. I clean my phone regularly so it’s not from anything else. So it looks like sometimes people DO get bit by silverfish even though people say they don’t bite. I watched this stupid thing on my leg bite me. the mark is tiny and red, nothing more”.

Read more stories of people who were bitten by silverfish in case you would like to learn more about the insect and what it feels like to get a silverfish bite.

Silverfish Bite Symptoms

nose inflammation - a silverfish bite symptom

Image source: Public Domain Pictures; License type: Public Domain Image

Silverfish allergies are among the most common symptoms after a person gets bitten by a silverfish or if one inhales shed from the exoskeleton of the silverfish. Bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis might occur, respiratory problems might also appear if a person is too sensitive to these insects.

Most people will not realise they’ve taken a silverfish bite because symptoms might not occur at all. If there is a silverfish infestation in your home and you wake up with red marks on your skin, it’s possible they might be caused by the silverfish. However, the source of the marking might be contact with another bug or allergic reaction to something different than insects.

Some of the most common symptoms of being bitten by silverfish remain the following:

  • Red linear marks on your skin (might be caused not from a bite but from contact with the insect)
  • Seeing silverfish on you
  • Nose inflammation
  • Respiratory allergy
  • Feeling sharp pain similar to those of an ant bite
  • Itch (usually remaining not more than a day)

A silverfish infestation should be treated immediately. Otherwise, there are risks of leaving the pest population to increase to levels which will be very hard to handle with just one silverfish treatment.

Do Silverfish Cause Allergies?

Silverfish may indeed cause allergies to anyone who makes contact with the insect and is prone to any of the allergic reactions. The allergen, associated to silverfish allergies is called tropomyosin. It can be found in foods such as shrimps and shellfish. Triggering of silverfish allergies might be caused by sources such as:

  • Being bitten by silverfish
  • Ingesting allergens
  • Inhaling allergens
  • Silverfish feces

Nose inflammation a.k.a rhinitis happens to those who have hypersensitivity to the insect. Children who have other kinds of respiratory allergies are extremely prone to silverfish allergies as well. If you have a family member who is not resistant to the silverfish, do not allow any silverfish infestation to get out of control at your property. If one already occurs, seek for a comprehensive way to exterminate the pest.

How To Prevent Allergic Reactions To Silverfish

Silverfish’ lifespan may continue up to 8 years and during all the time the insects shed their skin all over the infested areas. These tiny particles are easily floating in the air we breathe and often appear to be a reason for allergies. Based on a study from 2005, the silverfish scales, combined with household dust is almost impossible to avoid. Turns out silverfish allergens are found even at places where the insects are not evident as the particles are transferred by the wind with ease.

If you want to reduce the risk of silverfish allergic reactions, refer to any of the following solutions:

  • Remove silverfish hidings such as piled cardboard boxes and clothing
  • Regularly vacuum and dust entirely all premises if your home. Dust attracts dust mites which serve as food for the silverfish
  • Reduce the levels of humidity inside the rooms
  • Store food inside containers. Silverfish are attracted by anything edible, especially food that is rich in cellulose

If none of the above gives the desired effect you’re looking for, take advantage of professional pest control services in your area, that guarantees up to 100% efficient silverfish extermination.

What Attracts Silverfish

moisture - attracts silverfish

Image source: Flickr; License type:CC BY 2.0

Apart from food, silverfish are attracted by other things, which should be taken into consideration, especially when getting rid of silverfish is your primary goal. What attracts silverfish on a daily basis are things such as:

  • Moisture
    Silverfish sense moisture from a long distance. The high levels of humidity is essential for the survival of the insects. At humidity levels above 75% the silverfish are at their optimum environment. Removing moisture always gives positive results towards reducing the levels of silverfish infestation
  • Warm & dark places
    Most insects prefer dark places where light is not strong enough to make their skin dehydrated. Silverfish are not an exception, that means you probably won’t spot them on direct sunlight.
  • Cardboard boxes (it is rich in cellulose)
  • Insulation
  • Water condensation
  • Glue
  • Crevices (silverfish lay their eggs there)
  • Leaky pipes
  • Books
  • Sugars

If you want to reduce the risk of attracting silverfish to your home and getting a silverfish bite, simply remove or take care of anything that may make your home prone to infestations. Remove clutter and treat surfaces appropriately, either by vacuuming or by removing moisture from them. For any additional information, you can check our post on why do you get silverfish in your home.

Remove any food which silverfish prefers or simply store it inside plastic or metal containers (not paper).