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.

Stainless steel drain
credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images
Silverfish enter drains and pipes because they want moisture.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Lisa Finn

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.