I'll find a silverfish from time to time in my flat. I don't mind them but usually I catch them and throw them off the balcony (second story) into the bushes and lawn below.

I was wondering, since they seem to live in the water conduits in the house, if they can survive outside or if they die/get killed instantly.

Thx for your help!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ They can definitely survive outside. Remember, houses haven't existed for much of history at all, so what did they do for their ~400 million years of existence before the advent of houses? $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Sep 10, 2023 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ Well, they could have lived in caves or next to rivers? $\endgroup$
    – Ron
    Sep 11, 2023 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, they can and do, but my point is that they can survive the outside, as you asked. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Sep 11, 2023 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure those are silverfish? In my experience, it is quite difficult to catch them alive. I find it hard to believe that you do that regularly. $\endgroup$
    – Roland
    Sep 27, 2023 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Roland Yes, quite sure. I put a glass over them, when they are exposed somewhere and then a piece of paper below. The very young and tiny ones are harder but the adults are fine. $\endgroup$
    – Ron
    Sep 27, 2023 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


Silverfish prefer high humidity and warmth. Ctenolepismacalvum (Ritter, 1910) was recently found in Japan at a temperature of 20-30°C and 50-60% RH. As long as there are pieces of bark, wet grass or other organic or human-made structures that retain humidity after each raining event, the likelihood that they will survive long enough to complete their cycle is high.

They could face dessiccation if they are not able to find a damp spot in time, depending on their tolerance to it. However, it was not possible for me to find information about their dessiccation tolerance.

The Zygentoma (silverfish order) have high tolerance to low humidity and most of the species inhabit dry and hot environments (it's just a few that like humidity), which again makes me think that those silverfish propelled out the window will survive.


Shimada M, Watanabe H, Komine Y, Kigawa R, Sato Y. New records of Ctenolepismacalvum (Ritter,1910) (Zygentoma, Lepismatidae) from Japan. Biodivers Data J. 2022 Nov 3;10:e90799. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.10.e90799. PMID: 36761636; PMCID: PMC9836529.

Kulma M, Bubová T, Davies MP, Boiocchi F, Patoka J. Ctenolepisma longicaudatum Escherich (1905) Became a Common Pest in Europe: Case Studies from Czechia and the United Kingdom. Insects. 2021 Sep 10;12(9):810. doi: 10.3390/insects12090810. PMID: 34564251; PMCID: PMC8471186.

Querner P, Szucsich N, Landsberger B, Erlacher S, Trebicki L, Grabowski M, Brimblecombe P. Identification and Spread of the Ghost Silverfish (Ctenolepisma calvum) among Museums and Homes in Europe. Insects. 2022 Sep 19;13(9):855. doi: 10.3390/insects13090855. PMID: 36135556; PMCID: PMC9505982.


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