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Silverfish

Class: Insect
Other names: bristletails, fishmoths, tasseltails, fringetails
Distinctive Features: silvery gray scales
Size: ½ to 1 inch long
Diet: Proteins like dried meats, flour, stored paper products, glue, fabrics
Hazard to Humans: No harm to humans, but can destroy property.
Predators: Earwigs, centipedes, spiders
Interesting Fact: Silverfish can live weeks without food or water and up to a year if just water is available.

Silverfish Hide in the Dark and the Damp

In your basement, under your sink, in a garage or bathroom—you never know just where silverfish might be lurking. These destructive creatures come out at night, moving rapidly—even sideways, if they need to.

A silverfish has:

  • A length of ½ to 1 inch
  • Silvery (gray to brownish) scales covering its bodies
  • Long antennae
  • 3 long, thick tails

A silverfish doesn’t have wings, so it can’t fly. But it does have a flattened body, which makes it easy for a silverfish to hide in a crack or a crevice in your foundation or other spaces.

Books aren’t their favorite feast

Although many people think that silverfish feast mainly on the paper and glue in books, their preferred meal is actually dried meat.  They will eat dead insects and are sometimes cannibalistic.  Flour, starch, fabrics (linen, silk, rayon) and even bathroom mold serve as other food sources.  Silverfish damage goods by staining them and/or by leaving their feces behind on them.

Silverfish can reproduce fairly rapidly, laying up to 50 eggs at a time. The eggs can take two weeks to two months to hatch, depending on how warm the temperature is in the area. The nymphs look like small adults when they hatch, going through several molts before they get their scales.  Silverfish can live two or three years or more.

Moving the silverfish out

There are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of silverfish coming into your home:

  • Clean up the places they like to hide outdoors, like lumber and debris piles
  • Get rid of the damp in your basement with a dehumidifier
  • Fix leaky plumbing, which can create the wet spots that silverfish love
  • Caulk around doors, windows and pipe entry holes into your home
  • Clean your kitchen and pantry and store food in containers with tight-fitting lids

Insect experts will tell you, however, that it’s not easy to get silverfish out of your home, especially if they’ve had some time to settle in.  If you’re trying to eliminate them but aren’t having any success, call Brody Brothers for professional help.  Start the process of moving the silverfish out by calling 443-379-8857 today!

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“I have been with Brody Brothers for 5.5 years. Ari has been coming to my home for all this time. He does a great job. I hardly ever have an issue. He keeps us pest free which isn't easy living in the woods.”

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Owings Mills, MD

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