Silverfish are very common and creepy household pests, especially in humid climates and houses with studies full of books. Although we may only view them as simple pests or bugs, they are actually very interesting nocturnal creatures and there is more to their life cycles than just eating your books and infesting your bathtubs and basements.
Small insects, they’re usually about 10-12 millimeters in length with long skinny bodies and three legs on each side of their abdomen. They also have antennas and are usually a shiny or metallic looking silver or gray color.
The average silverfish lives for about 5-7 years. The life of a silverfish starts out as a small, white, oval shaped egg. When the egg hatches into a nymph it looks like a smaller version of an adult silverfish. When the nymphs hatch they are usually white compared to the more metallic gray of the adults. As it grows and increases in size, a silverfish will molt it’s outer shell. Sometimes it will molt up to thirty times in a single year. After three years when the silverfish is an adult, it’s multiple molts will result in a silvery metallic color, hence the name Silverfish.
Books and fabrics are their favorite dinnertime treat. This is because they feed off of carbohydrates, mainly in sugars and starches. This means that things like glue in books, linen, dead insects, and other kinds of adhesives make good food sources. They may also consume things such as plasters, paper, photos, sugar, carpet, and even hair. They will consume almost anything that contain the carbohydrates they need to live.
Silverfish like dark and damp places but also have a tendency to stick around food sources. Once they find a food source they will usually stay in the general area of the food source until it is gone. Here is where they will lay their eggs and settle in. Often times silverfish will live inside walls or bookshelves and lay their eggs in carpet. The eggs are small whitish ovals. Most females will lay less than sixty eggs at one time and most females will not lay more than one-hundred eggs in their lifetime.
Despite being creepy and disgusting looking silverfish are actually quite harmless. They do not bite and aren’t poisonous. They don’t carry diseases either. In fact, if you disturb silverfish, they are more likely to run away and try to hide than to act aggressive. While they look very ugly, they are very docile insects.A silverfish infestation can be very difficult to remove since silverfish can eat almost anything from your books to your carpet. It’s usually best to call an exterminator and afterwards take measures to prevent the infestation from returning. Things such as vacuuming frequently and keeping items like clothes and books away from the floor can help. You can do other things too such as sanitize and make sure that all traces of food are cleaned up. Removing the insects food sources is the best way to prevent them from moving in.
While silverfish are annoying, they are harmless and actually very interesting insects. Learning more about them is a good way to prevent them from taking root in your home. It also helps to ensure you recognize the signs of an infestation so you can get it taken care of by a silverfish exterminator as soon as possible.