What are Silverfish?

August 19, 2016By

A silverfish is a common fish-shaped silver insect that can be found in many parts of the world. They’re commonly found in damp humid environments and can come into your home causing major issues. A silverfish infestation can be destructive and unpleasant within any household due to their excessive feeding habits and ability to ruin items such as clothing and wallpaper. They also breed quickly and can be hard to spot due to their nocturnal nature. To identify whether or not you have a silverfish infestation, there are a number of things to look out for.

 

Silverfish Description

Silverfish are insects measuring between 13 and 25mm in length with a fish-like appearance due to their shape. They are nocturnal as we mentioned, so are most active at night. Their outer bodies are silver with a metallic glow. They are wingless so don’t fly but have a long antennae and use slippery movements to wiggle forwards, often at such a speed they can outrun their predators such as spiders.

The average lifespan of a silverfish is 2-8 years.

Where Do Silverfish Live?

Silverfish can be found all over the world, in continents such as Africa, the Americas, Europe and Australia. They breed well in humidity rates of around 75% and prefer dark areas such as forests, attics, showers, basements and shaded areas. If you suspect you have a silverfish infestation, it’s likely they’re hiding in one of the darker areas of your home.

What Do They Eat?

Silverfish eat mostly carbohydrates such as starch and sugar, so will be eager to get into your food cupboards. In addition to this, they may also feed on particular shampoos, glues, linens, wallpaper, fabrics or clothing.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Silverfish engage in a fascinating mating ritual which consists of three stages before the actual mating commences. The first stage involves the male and female silverfish standing face to face with their antennae touching. Then, in the second stage, the female chases the male as he runs off in another direction. Finally, the male and female stand next to each other and the male vibrates his tail against the female.

To reproduce, the male distributes a spermatophore, which is a sperm capsule coated in gossamer. The female then brings this into her body to fertilize her eggs. A female can produce around 60 eggs at once which take about two months to hatch. When the baby silverfish hatch, they look very similar to adult silverfish. They mature into adults after three months. This means that silverfish reproduce quickly, making infestations hard to manage if left too long.

Signs of an Infestation

Silverfish enjoy feeding and do so on many household items such as wallpaper, clothing, furniture and uneaten food in cupboards. Therefore this can be one of the first obvious signs of an infestation in your home. As silverfish like moist environments, it’s likely you’ll see one in your shower or bathtub if you do have an infestation. This could happen at night as they are nocturnal.

Prevention in Your Home

There are a number of traps on the market to catch silverfish, but this may not solve your problem, depending on how many there are and how quickly they’re breeding. Cinnamon is also sometimes used to repel silverfish, but again, this may not work with more significant infestations and is not always effective.

The best way to prevent an infestation is to address any hint of a problem early by using a professional service. A professional pest control service can assess your home for silverfish and take measures to ensure they do not breed. If you find a silverfish on your bathroom floor or have noticed that your clothes or household items are being damaged, it’s time to take preventive action before the problem persists or worsens.

Silverfish infestations can be destructive if not dealt with early. If left untreated for too long, they will reproduce and you’ll find the problems gets worse at a rapid rate. If you’d like to talk about arranging an inspection to assess your home for silverfish, contact us today.

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