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Silverfish or Silverfishes

Active Seasons

Appearance and Size Facts

  • Small and wingless insects, primitive insects
  • Shiny gray or silver in color
  • Metallic sheen is due to silvery scales, which only appear after the third molt
  • They have three long, thin appendages extending from the posterior part of the abdomen which look superficially like tails
  • Size: Ranges from 1/3 to 1/2 inch in length

Behavior and Habitat

Silverfish develop slowly under normal conditions and produce very few young. Females lay eggs year-round, only laying a few at a time, up to 100 total in her life. Adult females can live 2 to 5 years, depending on the species and the favorability of the environment. Eggs hatch in roughly 2 to 8 weeks and may take anywhere from 3 to 24 months to develop into adults. Growth depends chiefly on temperature and humidity. Silverfish are common in human dwellings, much like their relative, the firebrat. Silverfish can often be found under refrigerators or around a well-heated toilet, if the crevices in the floor tiles are large enough.

Signs of Infestation

Silverfish will feed on glue, book bindings, photos, sugar, hair, dandruff, and dirt. They can also cause damage to books, tapestries, and textiles, especially when food or food-type items have been spilled or dropped onto items that would normally not be eaten.

Tips for Prevention

Reduce moisture in your house, repair leaky pipes and drains, and eliminate or repair any moldy or wet wood. Keep food in well-sealed containers. Don't keep books or magazines in moist areas. Vacuuming up silverfish to physically remove them is also useful.

Silverfish Gallery

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