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What Are Silverfish? Why Are They Considered Pests?
Find out what silverfish are and how they can cause you problems.
Lepisma saccharina, or much commonly known as the silverfish, are, in fact, not fish. They are insects who got their name from their fish-like appearance and movements. Silverfish are also called “bristletails” because of the three long, bristle-like appendages they have on their rear end. These insects are found all over the U.S. and are usually seen in bathrooms, basements, and attics, which are the house’s moist and humid parts.
Silverfish lack wings and are incapable of flight. However, they are fast and agile runners. They move in a distinct, wiggling motion like a fish swimming. Adult silverfish can grow to a length of about ½ to ¾” (12 to 19 mm), excluding the tail. They have flattened bodies that are tapered from the head to the rear, covered with scales for protection.
Silverfish undergo what is called “ametabolous metamorphosis.” This process means that a silverfish will not go through any transformation in its lifetime. Young and adult silverfish look the same, except for the difference in size.
In contrast to their cousins, firebrats, female silverfish don’t lay too many eggs throughout their lifetime. A female silverfish will only lay up to 100 eggs, usually 1 to 3 eggs at a time. They lay their eggs in small cracks and crevices to make them harder to find. These eggs will hatch any time between 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the area’s external conditions.
Nymphs undergo several times of molting before reaching maturity. It can take up to 3 years before silverfish are ready to lay eggs. Because of their slow development rate and the small number of eggs produced by females, their population does not proliferate. If you have a large infestation of silverfish, it means that they have been inside your home for a long time already.
There are multiple reasons why silverfish want to stay in your home. First, there is plenty of food. Your house contains many materials silverfish can feed on, such as paper items, glue, and clothing. They can also eat flour and oats. But if possible, they would prefer to eat protein-rich food such as dried beef or dead insects. Second, your house is a good hiding place. They can safely nest and lay their eggs in hard-to-reach areas of your home. And third, they love moisture. Just like other household pests, silverfish thrive where there are moisture and humidity. That is why bathrooms, basements, and attics are the common places where you spot silverfish.
In short, your house is a perfect place for them to thrive. If you’re not keen to spot them, they’ll probably cause a lot of damage to your home because they live for up to 8 years in ideal conditions.
Why Are Silverfish Dangerous?
Silverfish look scary, we know. But at least, they don’t bite humans, so you don’t have to worry about itchy bite marks or getting infections from them. However, there are multiple ways silverfish can affect you. These insects can cause property damage by chewing holes in clothes, upholstery, books and other paper goods, and wallpapers. They also leave yellow stains from their fecal matter wherever they go. Silverfish are nocturnal insects, so the yellow stains they leave are usually the first sign of an infestation.
Although silverfish don’t cause significant structural damage like termites, they can still be a severe nuisance. Aside from the damage they do to your property, it has been found that they can stimulate allergic-type breathing problems in people with allergies to common indoor allergens. The skin they shed through molting collects and attracts dust, which triggers allergies in some people.
Where Do They Come From?
Silverfish are naturally attracted to your house. Because they’re so small, you won’t notice them sneaking through whatever small opening they can find. But sometimes, people may bring silverfish inside their homes by mistake. These tiny pests can be taken indoors through infested food products, boxes of paper materials, fabrics, and other items containing high amounts of starch and sugar. Because of their small size, silverfish can easily hitchhike on these items.
Once inside your house, silverfish will look for ideal hiding places and stay there until nighttime when they search for food. They will stay in cool areas where food is nearby.
These methods effectively deal with silverfish, but there is no guarantee that you can remove them altogether. What you can do is to call Rocklin Pest Control, your number 1 pest control service in Sacramento. Make your home pest-free!
Call Rocklin Pest Control right now at (916) 884-6114!
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