Silverfish are flat insects with no wings and two long and slender antennae on their heads. They have three long, rigid hairs on the end of their streamlined bodies. These insects are 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) long when they reach adult stage. The young ones are miniature versions of the adults. Their eggs are white and oval-shaped; they are about 1 mm (1/32 inch) long. Silverfish are covered in shiny silver scales; they are uniformly coloured while the firebrat (insect similar to the silverfish) is grayish and has darker gray dots.
Development and Behaviours
From the age of three months, females of these two species may lay from ten to one hundred eggs in cracks, crevices, and even out in the open. When the young are born, which is 20 to 40 days after they are laid, they already look like their parents, only much smaller. These insects can live up to four years. They may be found anywhere in the house, although they do prefer to live in cool, damp (between 75% and 95% relative humidity) places. These insects follow the pipes from the basement to go up to the rooms on the main floor, where they hide on shelves, in closets, under baseboards, and behind window and door frames. They are resistant and may survive for many years without eating. Silverfish and firebrats are harmless to humans. They are undesirable due to their appearance. These insects are scavengers; they feed on food crumbs, dead insects, starch, glue, and wallpaper, as well as other paper-based products. They can stain fabric, paper, books, and wallpaper. The damages may be significant if a large infestation has been taking place for a certain amount of time.
Cleanliness is the essential component of any effective program to fight against silverfish and firebrats, as well as any other crawling insects.
- Vacuum regularly to clean up eggs and food remains.
- Keep counters, cupboards, drawers, and pantries clean, as well as the spaces around and behind appliances and machines. Also be sure to clean out the areas under sinks as well as other dark and damp locations.
- Cover or insulate pipes on which there may be condensation, repair leaky faucets and pipes, ventilate bathrooms and dehumidify rooms that are too humid.
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