A fuzzy, little silverfish crawls along the bathroom wall of my old house. Image taken in San Francisco.

Have you ever gone to the bathroom at night and noticed a small, silvery, three-tailed invertebrate running for a crevice or hiding spot? Or perhaps under your kitchen sink or in your basement? Maybe even behind your bookcase or in your dresser? If so, you have silverfish! Although most of the time we come across these animals in our homes, they are more typically found outdoors, in leaf litter or in soil.  Still, they adapt quite well to living in our houses.

Although very cute and harmless to humans, silverfish can be quite a pest. Some of the yummy things in your home that they like to eat include flour, damp textiles, book bindings and book glue, magazines, newspapers, sugar, breakfast cereals and their boxes, insulation materials (!) and even wallpaper paste. They can also live several months without eating at all. Once they’ve established themselves in your home, they are very difficult to eradicate. But don’t worry too much; it takes a large population and a lot of time to do any serious damage.

Although I chose to live in harmony with my silverfish friends in San Francisco, I was very careful to check all of my belongings to make sure none found their way to my new apartment in Portland. So far, so good! I haven’t noticed any yet.