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Pestgon FactSheet

SILVERFISH (Lepisma saccharina)

Silverfish like firebrats, are small, slim, carrot-shaped, wingless insects that normally live outdoors. They are soft-bodied about 1/2 to 1 inch long and are silver-gray to pearly-bronze in color. Apparently they get their name from their irredecent shininess like a fish. Extending from the rear of the tapered abdomen are three antennae-like filaments. Silverfish often will harbor in cool, damp arfeas of a building and can derive nutrients from paper products and som adhesives used in office products.

Silverfish are not often seen because they are nocturnal and can move very swiftly when startled. Silverfish and firebrats are active at night and hide during the day. The silverfish lives and develops in cool places with sufficient humidity, often storage areas, bathrooms and kitchens. Firebrats prefer warmer, dry environments, often near heaters. New buildings where the walls are still damp from plaster and green lumber may have increased numbers of silverfish. They can live for up to one year without food.

Economic Impact:
When trapped indoors silverfish will feed on almost anything. They seem to have a preference for starch, paper, gum, glue, cotton, linen and other common fabrics. That makes the furniture, wall coverings and many office supplies vulnerable to silverfish damage. They are often found among books feeding on paper and the glue in the binding.

Management Methods:
Removing old papers, corrugated boxes, books, and fabrics from storage areas will reduce their numbers by removing food and hiding places. Although it is a good preventative measure, from years of experience, Pestgon has determined that sanitation alone will not eliminate an infestation. A large infestation usually means the facility has been infested for some time. Insecticidal dust, residual aerosol insecticide or silverfish bait stations will usually eliminate these pests.

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