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Everything About Silverfish and How to Eliminate them From your Home or Business

SILVERFISH

Lepisma saccharina

How do you get rid of Silverfish?

Silverfish move very quickly and are nocturnal, they also are very secretive, and infestations often go unnoticed until it is severe. They reproduced quickly and known for this destructive feeding habits which include ruining paper, clothing, and wallpaper. Silverfish can consume a variety of foods, so strict housekeeping practices may help prevent an infestation by limiting potential feeding sites. Kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, attics, crawl spaces, and basements are ideal infestation areas for silverfish. They can survive in almost any environment, but prefer areas with high humidity, which is where nymphs will develop much faster. Some ways to control infestations is through moisture, Using caulking along baseboards, covering crawl spaces and open vents in basements. An outbreak requires treatment of both adult silverfish and their harborage.

Some predators which can help control silverfish populations include centipedes, earwigs and spiders are known to feed on silverfish.

How to Identify Silverfish

Silverfish are wingless insects with six legs; they are white to brown-grey or blueish silver in color. Silverfish are tear dropped, their abdomens taper at the end, giving them a fishlike appearance hence their name common name Silverfish. They measure anywhere from 12 – 25 mm in length. Newly hatched are white and develop a grayish hue and metallic shine. They have long bristle on their rear side and grow from and egg to an adult without much visible change.

Signs of  Silverfish infestation

The homeowner will find silverfish on the floor on in the sink and bathtub. Feeding damage can also indicate their presences. Also, their small pepper like feces may indicate their presence.

Where did they come from / How did I get them?

Females egg numbers can vary depending on habitat and species. Some species lay 1-3  eggs a day whereas another species can lay clusters of 2 to 20 eggs. The female lays eggs in groups and will deposit them in small crevices. 

Silverfish eggs laid in groups of two or three a day in clusters of 2 to 20. Silverfish eggs are commonly found inside tiny cracks or crevices, making them difficult to locate. They are elliptical (Oval) shaped and measured approximately 1 mm in length. Initially, the eggs are soft and white and then begin to toughen and yellow after a few hours. Silverfish fully formed once they hatch from the egg, but are smaller versions of adults. The human eye does not often see silverfish eggs.

What do Silverfish eat?

Capable of thriving in most climates, although humidity is ideal conditions for Silverfish. They prefer dark, damp areas such as kitchens, washrooms, basements & attics. Silverfish are attracted to damp clothing and paper matter containing carbohydrates, starches, and dextrin in adhesives; this includes book bindings, carpet, clothing, dandruff, glue, hair, paints, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar. They will damage wallpaper to access the paste, they can also cause harm to tapestries and may eat other substances such as cotton, linen, silks, dead insects and even their exoskeletons. Silverfish have known to survive up to a year without eating if water is available.

Additional Info

Life Cycle

The lifespan of the silverfish can last from three to four months depending on conditions. Female silverfish produce 1 to 20 eggs in clusters and thrive in most conditions, but humid conditions are ideal. Silverfish can reproduce year round

Silverfish look identical when they hatch through all nymph stages into adulthood. Nymphs undergo several molts before reaching their full size; they may experience over 50 molts during its life due to the fact they continue molting as adults.

Silverfish do not reproduce through fertilization; They have a mating ritual involving three phases that can last over 30 minutes. The first step the female and male stand face to face, with their antennas touching and quivering, they back off and return to their position repeatedly. During the second stage, the male fleas with the female in pursuit. During the third and final stage, silverfish reunite at last. The male and female stand side by side head-to-tail while the male vibrates his tail against the female. The male then deposits a small packet of sperm known as spermatophores on the ground, the female then takes it into themselves through their ovipositors.

 

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