Silverfish-2The Silverfish (scientifically known as Lepisma Saccharina) is a wingless, small insect. Its name comes from the insect's light-gray (almost silver-like) and blue color. That combined with the insect's fish-like movement and appearance is where it gets its name. Its body is broad at the front, with long antennae. Its scales are dust-like and delicate. Some Silverfish have stripes, and others are spotted with grays and different brown coloring, but this is rare. The Silverfish is a nocturnal species of insect, with a body length of about an inch long. Young Silverfish (newly hatched) are more of a white color, developing a gray hue and metallic shine overtime and as they grow. The Silverfish has three tips on the abdomen. They have two small eyes, the only species of Thysanura, which are all eyeless.

Being a cosmopolitan species, Silverfish are normally found Africa, America, Asia and Australia, as well as other areas of the Pacific. When in urban areas, you'll find them in attics and basements, as well as bathtubs and showers. So any moist or humid area is what Silverfish prefer. And because Silverfish are very conscious of humans (they tend to run and hide when they see us), damage caused by them can go unnoticed for a long period of time.

Silverfish in the Home

Silverfish are insects that chew and generally feed on carbohydrates and proteins. This includes flour, dried meat and rolled oats. They've even been known to feed on paper and glue. Able to survive over a year without food, Silverfish are incredibly sensitive to moisture, resulting in a requirement of high humidity to survive. They prefer a temperature that's around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Silverfish are very fast, being most active at night, preferring the lower levels in homes.

Silverfish are primarily labeled as pests (more of a nuisance) inside homes and buildings, as they can contaminate food and ruin clothing with stains. And they will occasionally damage curtains and wallpapers. They are, however, harmless to your health. Their habitats are similar to those of cockroaches, apparently more common as household pests in drier areas.

You can take comfort in knowing that Silverfish aren't known to bite people and, most importantly, aren't carriers of any type of diseases. It's because of their unique diet that won't lead them to recognize you as a source of food. They may look creepy and most of the time are mistaken for centipedes when people see them. When disturbed; however, Silverfish will flee to a safe place. You have a much better chance of getting hurt by chasing the Silverfish rather than if you were to actually catch and hold one.

Silverfish Infestations

Silverfish will reproduce in three phases, lasting over a half hour. A female Silverfish will lay groups of eggs fewer than 60 at a single time. These eggs can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to finally hatch. In a single lifetime, a female Silverfish will only lay less than 100. From the time a Silverfish is born, it takes between 4 to 6 weeks for it to reach adulthood and to molt. And they are a long-living insect, with a life span from two to eight years.

To avoid infestations of Silverfish, it's best to utilize the method of sanitation to its fullest. But it's not the only way to eliminate the insect. You need to remove any old books, magazines, newspapers, any kind of old paper product you might have lying around. Inspect any fabrics that you might have been storing for a long time for damage and possible infestation. If you need to store any paper products such as books or fabrics, be sure to do so by placing them in plastic bags, putting them in the freezer for a few days. This will kill any Silverfish that has infested your paper products. You may also need to use insecticides to treat targeted areas: cracks and crevices near basements, attics, and closets need to be checked and sprayed. Also look for any products that specifically rid your home of Silverfish, as they contain natural active ingredients specifically targeted toward the insect. It's important to take note that if the infestations of Silverfish are left uncontrolled, damage caused by them is irreparable. This means your rare antiques or old book collections will be damaged beyond repair.

Keep in mind that because Silverfish are willing to travel long distances when foraging for food, it makes it really difficult to determine where the infestation source is located.

Controlling Silverfish in Ocean & Monmouth Counties

You can prevent Silverfish infestations by repairing any pipes that might be leaking, as well as getting rid of moldy or wet wood. You can also purchase a dehumidifier for your home to help keep them out as well. Don't store old books and magazines in an area where Silverfish like to reside, such as basements, attics and garages. If you have any starched linens, you need to store them in sealed, plastic bags to prevent Silverfish from getting to them (remember that Silverfish will feed on starches and sugars). Keep baking ingredients like flour and sugar in containers that are sealed tightly. And finally, stay on top of cleaning out your closets, cabinets and any storage containers. Make it a weekly routine to prevent Silverfish infestations.

Silverfish can be an intimidating-looking insect, and while they do cause damage to paper goods and can spoil food, they are medically harmless to the human body. But you don't want any antiques or old, keepsake products ruined, either. So keep in mind to be on the lookout for infestations: regularly check areas that Silverfish prefer to keep your home from getting infested.

If you are seeing Silverfish around your home, Alliance Pest Services has complete pest control and removal of programs. Alliance is your local Silverfish removal expert.