Lepisma saccharina Linnaeus
Silverfish are wingless, flattened, fish-shaped insects, usually
not more than ½ inch long. They have long antennae and three
threadlike appendages at the end of the abdomen. They have chewing
mouthparts and develop without metamorphosis.
||Carrot or fish shaped
||Not more than ½ inch
Silverfish usually enter a structure through insulation during
construction. They eat a wide variety of foods containing starches
and carbohydrates such as rolled oats, dried beef, flour, starch,
paper, cotton, some synthetic fibers, sugar, beef extract, dead
insects, glue, paste and linen. They can also feed on surface molds
in damp areas. They can live long periods of time without food.
Eggs are laid in protected areas, such as behind baseboards, and
hatch in from20 to 40 days depending on temperature and humidity.
Silverfish prefer temperatures of 70 to 80oF, moist situations and
can be found most anywhere in a house. They are commonly found in
attics especially if there are boxes of books.
They can do considerable damage to some natural and synthetic
fibers, books, and other paper products. Their feeding marks are
irregular and often appear s a surface etching that may not even
penetrate paper. They may also leave yellow stains, especially on
Silverfish are unable to reproduce or even to survive in buildings
where winter heating and moisture loss results in low relative
humidity. Airtight houses with efficient humidifiers that keep the
relative humidity above 50% year-round can develop silverfish
infestations that are very difficult to control using typical
insecticide applications. To achieve control under those
conditions, the relative humidity will need to be reduced. Besides
cleanup of clutter and other food items that may be supporting the
infestation, insecticide applications are required for silverfish