Silverfish & Firebrats

Seekers of moisture and warmth and foragers of decaying organic matter.

A Silverfish

These are small wingless insects. While most species spend their time in decaying material, leaf litter and the like, a number of them have found urban living preferable. Silverfish are commonly found in older buildings and any place they can live undisturbed on old newspapers and books.

Firebrats, however, get their name from their preference for warm places, such as near ovens and heaters.

The silverfish is a primitive wingless insect is about 1/2 in. long, named for the tiny silver scales on its body.

The silverfish may lay eggs at any time during the year, and take 19-43 days to hatch. The life cycle for silverfish from egg to adult is three to four months. Silverfish prefer humid areas (75% to 97% humidity),like bathrooms and moderate temperatures (70° to 80° F).

Silverfish are active at night or are active in dark places found throughout the structure. Silverfish can be a problem year round.

A Silverfish


Symptoms and Damage:

Silverfish are found in basements, kitchens, sinks, bathtubs, in bookcases, on closet shelves, behind baseboards, wallpaper, window or door frames, wall voids, and sub-floor areas. Attics are a favorite place for silverfish due to the abundant food sources due to the recycled blown in paper insulation and storage boxes.

You may see them trapped in sinks and bathtubs because they enter seeking moisture and are unable to climb a slick vertical surface to escape.
Firebrats will be found in similar but warmer areas.

Because silverfish and firebrats molt during their adult lives their cast skins may be a useful detection too.

Silverfish and firebrats diets are high in protein, sugar, or starch, including cereals, moist wheat flour, starch in book bindings, and paper on which there is glue or paste.

Firebrats and silverfish can damage book bindings, wallpaper, paper goods and dry foods. They may eat holes, irregular shaped in the wallpaper to get to the paste. Silverfish may bite very small holes in various fabrics, including cotton, linen, and silk, even though they cannot digest either linen or cotton.
They may leave a yellowish stain on fabric.

Outside, they may be found in nest of insects, birds, mammals, and under tree bark and mulch They can be found in wood shingles or sidings on houses, they may enter the home from these.