When you hear the name Silverfish for the first time, you might think it’s an aquatic animal, but you’ll be surprised to learn that a silverfish is actually a tiny insect. It got its name from their fish-like scaly skin and quick movement that looks like a fish swimming in the water, but on land!

In the US, silverfish is the common name of Lepisma saccharina, a wingless urban pest with an elongated and relatively flat body, common in humid areas or in museums and libraries where there’s glue, starches, and cellulose for them to eat.

Silverfish are not dangerous to humans, but their infestation can damage your wallpaper, books, maps, and anything else paper based. These insects are nocturnal, meaning they rest during the day and scavenge for food at night.

How to Identify Silverfish

Silverfish are easily identified due to their unique body, which is broad at the head and tapers down towards the end of the insect. They are also covered in silvery scales, like you would see on butterfly wings. Here are other unique features to help you identify these insects:

Color: Silver, brown or pearl-grey

Size: 12 to 15mm long

Bodily Features: Silverfish have a mostly flat body that tapers at the end. They have three pairs of legs and two antennae, with three bristle-like appendages coming from the abdomen. These creatures are quick on the ground, and their movement almost looks like a fish swimming on land. 

Habitat: Silverfish are notably elusive and can survive almost anywhere. However, they do have a preference for cool, dark, and moist places with humidity levels of about 75% and 90% and temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In outdoor areas, you’ll find them in caves, under rocks, leaf mold, and barks. Silverfish like to stay in dark and humid places inside the house, such as the basement, near the kitchen sink, attic, and bathroom.

Diet: Silverfish will eat almost everything, but they prefer foods rich in starch and cellulose. They can eat book bindings, wallpaper, cereal, pasta, flour, dead insects, and certain fungi. Surprisingly, they can live up to one year without food.

Are Silverfish Dangerous?

Silverfish are destructive and will damage books, wallpapers, and anything else made of paper that they find in your home. They will also contaminate food and stain clothes. Silverfish can trigger allergic reactions and cause respiratory ailments in certain individuals who are allergic to their droppings and scales. 

How to Prevent and Exterminate Silverfish

Two attributes make silverfish challenging to control. First, the creatures are nocturnal and are usually only seen at night and secondly, they can live up to one year without food, so removing any food sources will not always help. However, there are things you can do around the house to help prevent and control silverfish infestations, including: 

  • Repairing leaky faucets and pipes
  • Use a dehumidifier to lower moisture in the air
  • Improve ventilation
  • Seal any crevices and cracks on the wall
  • Moving rocks and woodpiles away from the house
  • Keeping the area under your sinks clean and dry
  • Not leaving food out, including any uneaten pet food.

However, if silverfish infest do your home, you don’t have to panic as there are professional pest control services that can help. Don’t hesitate to call the knowledgeable technicians and staff at Domain Pest Control for a free quote on general pest control to help get rid of or prevent silverfish today!

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