Latin Name Family Lepismatidae
Description Silverfish are usually gray, silver, or bluish in color. They’re shaped like teardrops and have three long bristles on their rear. This species is unusually long for a household pest – about 10-20mm on average – and there’s no discernible difference between newly-hatched Silverfish and adults. These pests are adaptable and can live in a wide variety of climates but prefer the darkest, dampest areas they can find. Basements, bathrooms, and attics are typically where home-invading Silverfish are found. They’re most commonly found in humid southern states like Florida and in Pacific Northwestern states like Oregon and Washington.
What to Know Oddly enough, Silverfish feed on a diet of carbohydrates. They especially love paper, cellulose, fabric materials, glues, and other dead insects and will seek these things out in storage containers and other tightly-packed quarters. Each type of Silverfish is different in its mating habits although females almost always do a “mating dance” when attracting males. Some lay a few eggs every single day while others lay eggs in batches of 10-20.
Silverfish are highly prized as a food source by other insects. Centipedes, spiders, and earwigs will all seek them out in the right conditions.
Signs of Infestation The most difficult part of spotting a Silverfish infestation is that these pests are noctournal. They move around at night and are very careful to be secretive in their movements. The first sign of infestation is usually the destruction of materials such as stored books, clothing, or linen; sometimes their tell-tale holes are confused with moth damage. Because Silverfish nymphs grow much faster in humid climates they prefer to nest in the dampest part of a structure. Nests are usually buried deep within clothing or other food sources.
Treatment and Prevention Controlling the humidity in your home is the easiest way to protect against a Silverfish infestation. In crawlspaces and basements in particular, installing moisture barriers and/or moisture meters is a good way to ensure the environment is inhospitable for these pests. Although it’s possible to buy Silverfish traps and insecticides in stores these treatments typically work on individual insects. It’s best to bring in a professional to identify nests and remove them completely.
Silverfish are not dangerous to humans but they can cause hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damage to carefully-stored items. If you’re worried about Silverfish inside your home call a professional exterminator immediately to survey your risk.
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