June 03, 2016 - Silverfish
Silverfish are some of the most curious insects that might invade your home, turning your basement or bathroom into its semi-private quarters. They are small, wingless insects that have been spotted all over the world on practically every continent, except for Antarctica. They prefer warm climates, which explains why they might seek out human habitations, especially during the winter. These insects will most likely gravitate to moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, and have sometimes been known to hang around plumbing surrounding showers and sinks.
These strange-looking insects somewhat resemble fish, as the name implies, and are usually silver, grey, or blueish in color. These nocturnal insects typically measure from around a half-inch to an inch in length, and are known for their tapered abdomens, which lend them their fishy appearance. Newly-hatched silverfish are whitish or pale blue, though they develop their silvery hue as they age.
Unlike other members of the order Thysanura, they have two small, compound eyes. These insects are completely wingless, though they’re adept runners, and can, in fact, outrun most of their prey. They have sets of long antennae, and tend to move in a sort of wriggling motion which resembles that of a fish, propelling themselves with a kind of lateral motion that looks like a cross between swimming and flopping around.
The silverfish is known for its unique mating ritual. This ritual has three phases, and can last over half an hour in some cases. Once complete, the female will carry the eggs to term, which usually lasts between two weeks to two months, and then deposits the eggs in groups fewer than sixty at once. In fact, it’s quite uncommon for a female silverfish to lay more than 100 eggs in her lifetime.
When the nymphs hatch, they’re typically pale white and look like smaller adults. As the nymph grows older, it will molt, and eventually, take on its characteristic silver appearance. Silverfish are among the very few types of insects that continue to molt after reaching maturity.
As previously mentioned, silverfish consume polysaccharides that can be found in starches, as well as dextrin, which can be found in adhesives. Bookbindings, carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, paints, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar are among their favorite foods, and an infestation of silverfish can lead to extensive property damage, as the population will continue to consume household items to feed its members.
Silverfish have been known to cause damage to tapestries, and will also eat cotton, dead insects, linen, silk, and even their own molted exoskeleton if food is especially tight. In times of limited resources, silverfish can live up to a year without eating.
Naturally, silverfish are considered pests because of their propensity for property destruction. They are not known to transmit diseases, though they frequently contaminate human food sources with unhealthy bacteria. Some chemicals like Permethrin and Deltamethrin have been known to kill silverfish on contact. However, since both of these chemicals are technically classified as toxins, their administration by an amateur should be avoided.
Silverfish will be most active at night, and might not ever be seen during the daytime - even by a vigilant homeowner. This means that damage can grow and remain undetected for a long time. When the damage is discovered, it could be fairly serious and may even require extensive repair. A pest control professional will be able to determine if your home is host to a silverfish infestation, and will then be able to prescribe the most appropriate course of action.
If silverfish or other pests have made unsightly appearances in your home or business, call Cantu Pest & Termite and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.