Silverfish – The Facts
What does a silverfish look like?
Silverfish are wingless insects with a pair of fine antennae. They are scaly and have three tail-like appendages at their rear. Silverfish can grow to about 12mm and range in colour from being brown-grey to the more common bluish silver which is where they get their name.
How quickly do silverfish multiply?
The female silverfish can lay about 100 eggs. They stick to the surface on which they are laid and can be found in cracks and crevices. Initially the eggs are white, but soon turn brown and become more difficult to find. The eggs take 2-8 weeks to hatch depending on the temperature of the breeding site. Baby silverfish are about 2mm long. These young mature and reproduce themselves three to four months after leaving the egg stage, so it is a pretty rapid process!
Where do silverfish live?
Silverfish like moist and humid environments as well as drier areas such as behind skirting boards. As they have problems moving around on smooth surfaces they may get trapped in empty pots or unfortunately even bathtubs and sinks. Silverfish are nocturnal and move very quickly when discovered, even turning on a light will make them scatter. If you find them in your house or business it could be a warning that repairs are needed as they are generally an indicator of damp.
What are the signs of a silverfish infestation?
- You will know if you have silverfish as they like to chew and eat materials such as wallpaper and the glues used in bookbinding.
- These tiny pests have also been known to eat textiles such as linen and even clothing.
- If you have mysterious holes in some of your clothes it could be down to silverfish!
- Infestations can also be detected by coming across the small, dark faeces, which are visible to the naked eye.
- You may also find their scales, which you can spot with a magnifying lens.
Does a silverfish infestation need controlling?
If you find you do have silverfish in your home or at your place of business, professional extermination services are necessary.
- Traps and insecticides sold in shops will only kill individual insects and cannot address an entire infestation.
- Most DIY remedies prove ineffective over time, with brief periods of relief followed by another infestation.
- Proper treatment includes dispersing of both the adult silverfish and their eggs.
- Most silverfish live up to 3 years on average so an infestation of this kind absolutely requires professional treatment.