Silverfish vs House Centipede : A Detailed Analysis

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Are you curious to realize about the variations between silverfish vs house centipede ? These commonplace household pests can be easily mistaken for every other due to their comparable habitats, but they’ve awesome traits and behaviors. Here’s a short guide.

Silverfish are known for their teardrop-shaped bodies, covered in silvery-gray scales. They are smaller than house centipedes. With six legs, two long antennae, and three tail-like appendages, silverfish are agile and fast-moving, often found in dark, damp.

House centipedes, on the other hand, are larger. They have elongated, flattened bodies with numerous legs, which gives them rapid movement. Unlike silverfish, house centipedes are carnivorous predators that primarily feed on insects, including spiders and other small arthropods.

Read to know more about these insects. By understanding these differences you can better manage and prevent infestations of these common household pests.

Silverfish Overview

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Silverfish are pretty interesting creatures. They’re not fish, despite their name, but insects. They get their name from their silvery, shiny color and the way they move kind of like a fish swimming.

Silverfish are tiny, usually about half an inch to an inch long. They have long, slim bodies and move really quickly. You’ll recognize them by their unique shape, like a teardrop, and their metallic, shiny scales. They’ve got six little legs and two long antennae on their head, plus three tail-like things sticking out from their back end.

These love damp, dark places. That’s why you often find them in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. They’re especially fond of paper and damp clothing. Because they eat stuff like glue, paper, and fabrics. That’s right, silverfish can be quite the bookworms. They can chomp through books, wallpaper, and even clothes.

To keep silverfish at bay, try to keep your home dry and clean. Fix any leaks, use a dehumidifier in damp areas, and store your books and clothes properly. Remember, these critters love moisture and clutter.

House Centipedes Overview

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House centipedes might look a bit scarier than silverfish. They’re longer, about one to six inches, and they have a ton of legs around 30. Their bodies are yellowish-brown with dark stripes, and those many legs make them super speedy.

House centipedes are the sprinters of the insect world. They can zoom across your floor or wall in the blink of an eye. Those many legs aren’t just for show, they help centipedes run fast to catch their prey.

Unlike silverfish, house centipedes are hunters. They’re actually good to have around because they eat other pests. Think of them as natural pest controllers. They munch on spiders, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, and even silverfish. So, if you see a house centipede, it might mean they’re helping keep other bug populations down in your home.

Centipedes like the same sort of places as silverfish damp, dark, and hidden areas. You might find them in your bathroom, basement, or under that pile of laundry you forgot to put away (oops.).

Even though they look a bit scary and can technically bite, house centipede bites are rare and usually no worse than a bee sting. Just like with silverfish, keeping your home clean and dry is a good way to keep these critters out. They need moist environments to thrive, so a dry home is less inviting to them.

Here’s a detailed comparison table to highlight the main differences between Silverfish and House Centipedes:

FeatureSilverfishHouse Centipede
AppearanceTeardrop-shaped, silvery-gray scales, about 0.5-1 inch long. Six legs, two long antennae, and three tail-like appendages.Elongated, many-legged (around 30 legs), yellowish-brown with dark stripes, 1-6 inches long.
HabitatPrefers damp, dark places like bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. Attracted to paper and damp clothing.Also found in damp, dark environments. Common in basements and bathrooms.
DietEats starchy materials like paper, glue, and sometimes fabric.Carnivorous, feeds on insects like spiders, bed bugs, termites, and silverfish.
BehaviorMostly harmless, can damage paper products.Active hunters, can move quickly. Helps control other pests. Rarely bite humans.
LifespanCan live between two to eight years.Typically lives up to six years.
Unique TraitsConsidered living fossils, have been around for millions of years.Can lose and regrow legs when necessary.
Pest ControlKeep areas dry, reduce clutter, especially paper and fabric materials.Maintain cleanliness, reduce moisture, and control other insect populations.

Silverfish Habitats


Silverfish prefer dark, moist, and secluded spots in your home. The reason they like these places? Because they need a damp environment to survive. Silverfish are often found in bathrooms and basements, but they can also be lurking in your kitchen, especially under the sink or in cabinets where it’s dark and a bit damp.

Silverfish are attracted to paper and damp clothing. Why? Because they eat stuff like glue, paper, and fabrics. So, if you’ve got a lot of books, cardboard boxes, or even wallpaper, you might just find a silverfish hanging around there. They’re especially active at night, which is why you might not always see them during the day.

Silverfish is super old in terms of species. They’ve been around for millions of years. And while they might be a bit creepy, they’re not harmful to humans. But, they can be a nuisance if they start eating your books or wallpaper.

House Centipede Habitats

House Centipede

Now, let’s talk about the house centipede. These bugs might look a bit scarier than silverfish with their many legs (around 30.), but they’re actually pretty useful to have around. House centipedes also love damp, dark places. You’ll often find them in basements, bathrooms, and even under kitchen sinks.

These guys are carnivorous, which means they eat other insects. They help control pests like spiders, bed bugs, and termites. House centipedes move super fast, thanks to their many legs. They’re more active at night, hunting for other bugs to eat.

House centipedes can live for a surprisingly long time, up to six years. And even though they look scary and can technically bite, their bites are rare and usually harmless to humans.

Comparison Table: Silverfish vs. House Centipede Habitats

FeatureSilverfish HabitatsHouse Centipede Habitats
Preferred EnvironmentDamp, dark, secluded areas like bathrooms, basements, kitchens.Similar to silverfish – damp, dark places in homes.
AttractionPaper, damp clothing, and materials with starch.Areas with other insects to prey upon.
Activity TimePrimarily nocturnal, more active at night.

Silverfish Appearance

Silverfish are small insects, usually measuring between half an inch to an inch. They have a unique teardrop shape, which makes them quite recognizable. Their bodies are covered in silvery-gray scales that shimmer and give them a metallic look. It’s like they’re dressed for a bug ball.

Apart from their shiny scales, silverfish have six little legs that are quite hard to see. They also have two long antennae sticking out from their heads and three long, bristle-like tails. These tails and antenn

ae at the end of their bodies are quite distinctive. This combination of features gives them a look that’s not easily mistaken for any other bug.

Silverfish are quick. They can scurry across your bathroom floor or up a wall in a flash. Their movements are kind of like a fish swimming, which is how they got their name. Despite their quickness, they’re completely harmless to humans. They don’t bite or sting, but they can be a bit of a nuisance if they start munching on your books or wallpaper.

House Centipede Appearance

House centipedes are the stuff of some people’s nightmares, but they’re actually fascinating creatures. They are quite a bit longer than silverfish, usually measuring between one to six inches. What really sets house centipedes apart is their legs – they have a lot of them. An adult house centipede can have around 30 legs, which is way more than most other bugs you’ll find in your home.

These legs are not just for show; they make house centipedes incredibly fast. They can zip across floors and walls at lightning speed. Their bodies are usually yellowish-brown and have dark stripes, giving them a striped appearance. Like silverfish, centipedes also have long antennae on their heads.

They have a pair of well-developed eyes, which is unusual for centipedes. This helps them spot their prey. Speaking of prey, they’re good to have around because they eat other unwanted pests in your home. And don’t worry, their bites are rare and generally harmless to humans.

Comparison Table: Silverfish vs. House Centipede Appearance

FeatureSilverfishHouse Centipede
Size0.5 – 1 inch1 – 6 inches
Body ShapeTeardrop-shapedElongated with many segments
ColorSilvery-grayYellowish-brown with dark stripes
LegsSixAround 30
Antennae/TailsTwo long antennae and three tail bristlesTwo long antennae
MovementQuick and agile, fish-likeExtremely fast, darting motion
Distinctive FeatureShiny, metallic scalesNumerous long legs

Silverfish Dietary Habits

Silverfish aren’t picky eaters; they love anything starchy or sugary. This includes paper, glue, clothing, and even wallpaper. Yes, they can be quite a problem if you love your books and clothes. Their diet is all about carbohydrates, which they find plenty of in an average home.

Silverfish don’t just stop at starches. They also munch on dead insects and even their own shed skin. Yuck, right? But it’s all part of their survival. They’re scavengers, which means they’re not hunting for fresh food. They’re happy to eat what’s already there, like the old box of papers in your attic or the glue in your book bindings.

These bugs don’t need to eat every day. Silverfish can go for long periods without food, but they always prefer staying close to their food sources. So, if you see one, there’s probably a stash of their favorite snacks nearby.

House Centipede Dietary Habits

House centipede are the opposite of silverfish when it comes to food. They’re carnivorous, which means they eat other insects. House centipedes are like the pest control of the bug world. They hunt and eat spiders, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, and even silverfish.

House centipedes are active hunters. They use their speed and venomous front legs (yes, they’re venomous.) to catch and paralyze their prey. Don’t worry, though; their venom isn’t harmful to humans. Thanks to their appetite for other pests, having a few house centipedes around can be beneficial. They help keep the population of other unwanted bugs in check.

Comparison Table: Silverfish vs. House Centipede Dietary Habits

FeatureSilverfish DietHouse Centipede Diet
Type of DietOmnivorous scavengerCarnivorous predator
Favorite FoodsPaper, glue, clothing, dead insects, shed skinSpiders, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, other insects
Feeding HabitsFeeds on carbohydrates, can go long without foodActively hunts and feeds on other insects
Eating FrequencyCan survive without daily feedingRegularly hunts for food
Role in EcosystemDecomposer, breaking down materialsPest control, managing other insect populations

Silverfish and House Centipede Damage Comparison

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Silverfish and house centipedes can both be a bit of a headache in your home, but in different ways.

Silverfish Damage: Silverfish might be small, but they can cause big problems, especially for your beloved books and clothes. They love munching on anything starchy or sugary, which means your books, wallpaper, and clothes are at risk. Imagine finding your favorite book with its pages eaten away, or your cool graphic tee with holes – that’s the kind of damage silverfish can do. They’re also known for leaving yellowish stains on fabric.

House Centipede Damage: Now, house centipedes are a different story. They’re not interested in your books or clothes. Instead, they hunt other bugs. So, in a way, they’re kind of helpful. But, they can be scary to see zipping across your wall or floor. The biggest problem with house centipedes is more about them being a nuisance rather than causing actual damage.

Controlling Silverfish and House Centipedes

Controlling these critters is all about making your home less inviting to them.

For Silverfish:

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  1. Keep your place dry. Silverfish love moisture, so using a dehumidifier can help.
  2. Store books and clothes properly. Keeping them in airtight containers can prevent silverfish from getting to them.
  3. Clean up. Regular vacuuming and decluttering can reduce their hiding spots.

For House Centipedes:

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  1. Seal up cracks and gaps in your home. This keeps them from getting in.
  2. Reduce moisture. Like silverfish, they love damp areas, so fix any leaks and use dehumidifiers.
  3. Keep other bugs out. Since they eat other insects, having fewer bugs in your home means less food for centipedes.


Silverfish and centipedes are  commonplace critters you might locate in your house. Each has its very own unique way of life and position. Silverfish, with their love for starchy and sugary stuff, may be a piece of a hassle for your books and garments. On the alternative hand, residence centipedes, with their many legs and fast actions, act as herbal pest controllers, munching on other unwanted bugs.

Both of these creatures opt for damp, darkish environments, so maintaining your house dry and nicely-ventilated is key to controlling them. Remember, they’re extra scared of you than you are of them. By expertise their habits and taking easy steps to manipulate them, you may maintain your private home comfortable and bug-loose.


House centipedes are not poisonous to humans. While they’re venomous, that means they use venom to immobilize their prey, this venom isn’t always dangerous to people. Bites from residence centipedes are uncommon and generally most effective purpose slight pain and swelling, just like a bee sting.

House centipedes are not attracted to fabric. Unlike pests like moths, they do not feed on or damage clothing or furniture. Their diet primarily consists of other insects such as spiders, bed bugs, termites, cockroaches, and silverfish.

Finding house centipedes in your home is not necessarily bad. They can actually be beneficial as they help control other insect populations. However, their appearance and speed can be unsettling for some people. They prefer damp environments, so finding them might indicate a need to reduce moisture in your home.

Duan, Mi, Chi Zhang, Yang Liu, Zhenjiang Ye, Jialiang Yang, Chunlin Liu, and Yongjun Tian. “Growth and early life stage of Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarctica) in the Amundsen Sea of the Southern Ocean: evidence for a potential new spawning/nursery ground.” Polar Biology 45, no. 2 (2022): 359-368.

Gregory, S. J. “The House Centipede Scutigera coleoptrata; the conquest of southern England.”