Actual Size: ½ to ¾”
Characteristics: Flat body covered with metallic grey-silver scales.
Habitat: Mainly drawn to damp or humid areas such as basements, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Firebrats are very similar but typically infest warmer areas of the home like boiler rooms.
Closely related to firebrats, which are very similar. Firebrats differ because they require heat to survive, and can even walk on hot furnaces, hot water heaters, and pipes.
Mainly consume starches and have a habit of damaging items like clothing, wallpaper, books, and dry foods like flour.
Moves side-to-side like a fish as they move.
Silverfish in Your Area
Silverfish are small nocturnal insects that are known for wiggling side-to-side like a fish as they move. Silverfish require ample amounts of water to survive, so they often infest high-moisture areas like bathrooms or basements. These insects also carry a special enzyme in their gut that helps break down cellulose, which allows them to consume a wide variety of substances such as books, clothing, dry foods, and starches. Since silverfish have very flat bodies, they can also sneak into tiny cracks and crevices – even within spaces like narrow book bindings and corrugated cardboard. Silverfish are also very closely related to another insect called firebrats, which are extremely similar but can withstand extremely hot temperatures. Firebrats typically infest warmer areas of the home, and they can even walk on top of hot surfaces like furnaces or water heaters.
Silverfish are nocturnal, so they mainly hide during the day. They typically spend nights looking for food sources, including substances like flour, oats, cardboard, paper, and glue. Silverfish may also be cannibalistic, consuming dead or injured individuals and cast skins. Because these insects cannot survive without moisture, they often infest damp areas like laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Though silverfish and firebrats are nearly identical insects, firebrats differ slightly in their habitat; rather than infesting cold and damp areas, they look for warm and humid spaces like boiler rooms.
Silverfish Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers
Silverfish and firebrats are not aggressive, and their weak jaws typically scrape instead of biting. However, these insects can cause significant damage to personal belongings and food sources. Silverfish and firebrats often consume items like paper, books, wallpaper, and dry foods like flour, cereal, and pasta. Since these pests can chew up or eat such a wide variety of items, they can be a major nuisance if they infest your home. If you notice silverfish or firebrats in your home, it may be a good idea to contact your local exterminators to remove these pests before they can cause too much damage.