Silverfish and Firebrats
Lepisma saccharina and Thermobia domestica
Silverfish and their look alike cousins, firebrats, are known for their annoying tendency of nibbling on book pages and clothing. Also called bristletails for their three whisker- shaped tail appendages, these insects can be found throughout the United States.
Despite their creepy appearance, both silverfish and firebrats are not known to bite or sting people. This can not be said for many of your household items. These pests will nibble away at many of your possessions, from dried food products to paper and fabric.
These nocturnal insects will hide during the day and come out to feed at night. Both silverfish and firebrats like dry foods such as flour, oatmeal, pet food, book bindings and any paper that has glue on it. They also like to munch on certain types of clothing like linen, cotton and silk, and protein-rich foods like dried meats, dead insects and fungi. These insects are even cannibalistic and will make a meal of dead or injured members of their own kind. Male silverfish and firebrats will attract the females with a special mating dance that includes some head bobbing and antennae touching. Afterwards, the males will leave a sperm capsule for the female. Female silverfish and firebrats will lay eggs in a protected area or bury the eggs in food or household dust. They lay an average of 50 eggs. These insects do not go through metamorphosis but will molt as they increase in size. Adults live about 2 to 3 years. The males and females of each species tend to cluster together in a common area during the day, somewhere moist and warm. Silverfish and firebrats can move very fast.
Types of Silverfish
Both silverfish and firebrats have tapered bodies shaped like teardrops or fish with three bristlelike tails. Silverfish are shiny and come in various shades of silvery gray. Their body length ranges between 1⁄2 to 3⁄4-inch. Firebrats are also shiny, but have mottled brown or gray body colors. They are usually 1⁄2-inch long. silverfish and firebrats have fragile scales that easily fall off and cling to the surfaces where these insects have been.
Silverfish In The Home & The Apartment
Silverfish like warm, damp environments and are often found in laundry rooms, but can also be found in wall voids, attics and under the floorboards. Firebrats prefer a little warmer and drier environment than silverfish. They usually breed and hide around hot water pipes, ovens, and heating units. These insects can invade homes in large numbers, most often during the summer as conditions outside become more dry. Silverfish and firebrats can also hitchhike into your house on drywall and lumber. These pests can ruin books and other papers with their feeding habits. They will leave behind holes, scrape marks and discoloration from droppings and lost scales. Silverfish and firebrats will similarly damage clothing and other fabrics.
Frequently Asked Questions About Firebrats
How to prevent a silverfish infestation?
The best way to prevent a silverfish infestation is to keep the rooms in your home clean, dry and decluttered. Focus on basements, bathrooms and laundry rooms as these areas usually provide the warm, damp conditions ideal for these pests. Clear away dust and food crumbs, regularly go through your closets and any collections of books or magazines as all these are potential food sources for the insects. Repair any leaky faucets or pipes and set up dehumidifiers in spaces that do not get proper ventilation.
Benefits of Professional Silverfish Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a silverfish problem. Finding and treating the silverfish can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the silverfish infestation.