Block of the Month: Infested Block

Do not break in case of emergency!

Deep below the surface of the Overworld, in mountainous biomes, as well as long-forgotten strongholds and basements, live a strange insect species that have the ability to tunnel into rock. These beasts, known as silverfish, generally live their lives undisturbed. But woe betide any miner who unknowingly destroys their home, and our block of the month: the Infested Block.

These blocks are not easy to detect. They look just like regular blocks of stone, cobblestone, deepslate, or any kind of stone brick variant. The only clue is that they’re much more fragile than a regular block, breaking swiftly when hit with a pickaxe, and that a note block placed on them will play a different sound.

If you do accidentally break one, then you’ll need to think fast. A silverfish will immediately spawn and attack you. Before you hit it back, though, consider that silverfish live in close family groups, and harming one will cause any other silverfish living nearby to come to its rescue. 

The only safe approach is to use a silk touch tool – you won’t get an infested block, just the equivalent regular version of that block. But the silverfish won’t spawn, so you’ll be free of danger. You can also just not break the block, of course. But where’s the fun in that?

Silverfish exist in the real world, but they don’t live in rocks. Instead, they prefer moist areas – and can often be found in bathrooms in houses. But there are a handful of bugs that can tunnel into rock. A bee species in Utah makes its burrows in sandstone, while some mayflies and piddocks do the same underwater.

Perhaps the most interesting rock-burrowing bug, though, is a type of clam found in rivers in the Philippines that gnaws its way through limestone. These plump, translucent, worm-like creatures, called Lithoredo abatanica, are about 10 cm long and have large shovel-like projects on their shells that they use for digging. The animal then eats the rock, digests it, and expels it as a fine sand.

Luckily, unless you live in a river in the Philippines, you’re unlikely to come up against one of these terrifying worm-beasts in your everyday life. Unluckily, the same can’t be said of Minecraft’s silverfish. So keep your guard up, and if you ever come across a rock that seems too easy to mine, then think twice about breaking it.

Duncan Geere
Written By
Duncan Geere