Silverfish Fact Sheet

Infestation Identification: Silverfish are silvery-grey in colour, shiny, have long antenna, 6 legs and scales like a fish. They are a wingless insect and are only 13mm – 25mm long and look similar to a fish when it moves. Their eggs are oval, an off-white colour and approximately 0.8mm. Nymphs look the same as adults but are whitish in colour rather than silvery-grey.   

Common Names:

Lepisma Saccharina

 

Diet: Silverfish feed on sugars and carbohydrates, they like to feed on cereals, books, clothing, carpets, wallpaper, cardboard, hair and photos.

 

Habitat: Temperatures between 70 – 85 degrees are ideal for Silverfish and they are attracted to damp areas such as; bathrooms, utility rooms and basements.

 

Prevention: It can be difficult to prevent Silverfish because they are attracted to damp. You can prevent some damp issued by using dehumidifiers, keeping gutters clean (ensuring the water drains away), and sealing any gaps in walls and around windows. We also recommend that food is stored in sealed containers and vacuuming is carried out on a regular basis.

 

Life Cycle: A female Silverfish will lay her eggs in cracks and crevices in walls and lay 2 – 60 eggs at a time, the eggs will hatch between 2 and 8 weeks. Once the eggs hatch, the nymphs have formed and look the same as an adult, only smaller and are a whitish colour, the nymphs become adults after only 12 weeks. Silverfish live for 2 – 8 years and moult their skins 15 – 60 times throughout adulthood.

 

General Information: Silverfish cause damage which is similar to moths, however damage can be worse because they will feed on and damage items which cannot be replaced such as; photos, books and paper. They also damage clothing, carpets, furniture, wallpaper which can be very costly to replace. Because silverfish are nocturnal, it makes if difficult to identify an infestation.

Silverfish are thought to have been around before dinosaurs, they do not bite and there is no evidence of them being poisonous or spreading diseases, however they can cause allergies due to the dust which is created by their moulting.

 

Treatments: There are amateur used products which can sometimes be effective if the infestation is caught early enough. You will need to spray all affected items such as; clothing, fabrics, carpets, floors, furniture and sofas with the product, this will need repeating several times usually. If the treatment is not effective, you will need to have a professional pest controller carry out a treatment. Fully trained pest controllers are licenced to use very strong chemicals which will fully eradicate a Silverfish infestation.

 

Quick Facts:

  • Silverfish moult their skins 15 – 60 times throughout adulthood.

  • They damage items which cannot be replaced such as; photos, books and paper.

  • Silverfish are thought to have been around before dinosaurs.

  • Females lay 2 – 60 eggs at a time.

  • Silverfish can move at high speeds because of their flat bodies.

  • They have a similar appearance to fish, hence their name.

  • Nymphs become adults after only 12 weeks.

  • Silverfish are attracted to damp.

  • They feed on sugars and carbohydrates.

  • Their moulting can cause allergies due to the dust created.

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