Insects That May Be Harmful for Your Stuff

Topics: Silverfish, Insect, Attic Pages: 6 (1284 words) Published: May 19, 2011
Silverfish Extermination

Click on image to enlarge 
Silverfish Photograph by: J.L. Castner, University of Florida

Silverfish Appearance

Silverfishis about 1/2 inch long, with a uniform silvery color over the upper surface. Their bodies are long and slender, flattened. The bodies are broad at the front, and gradually tapering toward the rear. They can be found almost anywhere, but prefer damp, moderate temperature places such as basements, laundry rooms, and under sinks.



Silverfish Biology and Habits

• Silverfish prefer a dark, moist environment and require a large supply of starchy foods or molds.

• Silverfish are considered to be nuisance pests that can feed on wallpaper pastes, natural textiles, books, and papers.

• Silverfish also feed on mold or fungi that can grow on various surfaces.

• They are fast-moving and can travel throughout buildings.  Once silverfish find a good source of food, however, they stay close to it.

• Silverfish go through only a three stage life cycle called gradual metamorphosis, while many insects have a four stage life cycle (complete metamorphosis).  Silverfish may lay eggs at any time during the year, and take 19-43 days to hatch.  The life cycle from silverfish egg to adult is three to four months.  They prefer humid areas (75 to 97% humidity), like bathrooms and moderate temperatures (70o to 80o F).

• Silverfish are found in basements, kitchens, sinks, bathtubs, in bookcases, on closet shelves, behind baseboards, wallpaper, window or door frames, wall voids, and sub-floor areas.

• Silverfish are active at night or are active in dark places found throughout the structure.  Silverfish can be a problem year round.

Attics are a favorite place for silverfish due to the abundant food sources due to the recycled blown in paper insulation and storage boxes. 

You may see silverfish trapped in sinks and bathtubs because they enter  seeking moisture and are unable to climb a slick vertical surface to escape.




A book damaged by silverfish

Silverfish consume matter that contains polysaccharides, such as starches and dextrin in adhesives.[4] These include glue, book bindings,paper, photos, sugar, coffee, hair, carpet, clothing and dandruff. Silverfish can also cause damage to tapestries. Other substances that may be eaten include cotton, linen, silk, synthetic fibres and dead insects or even its own exuvia (moulted exoskeleton). During famine, a silverfish may even attack leatherware and synthetic fabrics. Silverfish can live for a year or more without eating.[2][4]

Silverfish are considered a household pest, due to their consumption and destruction of property.[2] Although they are responsible for the contamination of food and other types of damage, they do not transmit disease.[4][14]

Earwigs, house centipedes and spiders are known to be predators of silverfish.[15][16

Symptoms and Damage of Silverfish:

• Silverfish are found in basements, kitchens, sinks, bathtubs, in bookcases, on closet shelves, behind baseboards, wallpaper, window or door frames, wall voids, and sub-floor areas. • Because they molt during their adult lives their cast skins may be a useful detection too. • Silverfish diets are high in protein, sugar, or starch, including cereals, moist wheat flour, starch in book bindings, and paper on which there is glue or paste. • Silverfish can damage book bindings, wallpaper, paper goods and dry...
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