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(immatures look the same as adults, no eggs, no larvae stage)
1/2" to 1" long, with colors ranging from gray, to silver to brown.
Silverfish are gray to brown and all have the same characteristic shape. Their bodies are flattened, long and slender, broad at the front and tapering gradually toward the rear. The antennae are long and slender. Three long, slender appendages are found at the rear of the body. These give rise to the common name, "bristle tails." All silverfish and firebrats are wingless. The young look like small adults, and their development takes place without metamorphosis.
Silverfish may be found almost anywhere in a house. However, they usually will be found living close to their source of food. They eat a wide variety of foods containing proteins or carbohydrates. Such things as rolled oats, dried beef, flour, starch, paper, cotton, some synthetic fibers, sugar, beef extract, dead insects, glue, paste and linen are all normal items of their diet. Silverfish can live for long periods of time without food.
Most firebrats, except for the common pest species, live outdoors under rocks, bark, leaf mold, in the nests of birds and mammals, or in ant and termite nests. They prefer warm temperatures and are numerous outdoors, especially in the tropics. In the United States, depending on the species, they are usually found indoors in areas associated with heat, such as boiler rooms or moisture, such as near water pipes. They are commonly found in bathtubs where they become trapped while seeking food or moisture. Firebrats and silverfish are most active at night and can run very swiftly.
These insects are primarily a nuisance, but they do consume small amounts of human foods and contaminate it with their body scales and droppings. They can do considerable damage to some natural and synthetic fibers, books and other paper products. Their feeding marks are irregular and often appear as a surface etching which may not even penetrate paper. They may also leave yellow stains, especially on linens.
The silverfish is found in all parts of the United States as well as over much of the rest of the world. The adult's body is about 1/2-inch long, with a uniform silvery color all over the upper surface. This species prefers temperatures of 70-80 degrees F and moist situations. Eggs are laid in protected situations, such as behind baseboards, and hatch in from 20 to 40 days depending on temperature and humidity.
Indoor Silverfish Control - Liquid sprays indoors along baseboards and in closets such as Demon WP or Demand and dusts such as Delta Dust or Borid in attic areas. Aerosol fogging with CB80 will give some control. Niban granular bait placed in attic areas, closets, etc. will also give good control. Dekko Silverfish Bait Packs are also a good treatment and is easily applied to closets, pantries, attics, etc. Use Professional Sticky Bug Traps in closets, drawers and chests to capture silverfish. Professional Sticky Bug Traps have a specially scented "vanilla" glue that attracts silverfish.
Outdoors Silverfish Control - Liquid broadcast spray such as Demon WP, Bifen, Demand or Talstar.