Silverfish

Lepisma saccharina

Silverfish

Physical Features


Gray to light brown, scaly exoskeleton typically 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch.  Has three long taillike appendages extending from the tip of the abdomen.  Carrot shaped when viewed from the top.  Silverfish have chewing mouthparts and long antennae.

Habits


  • Diet: Carbohydrates and proteins. Glue, starchy items. Paper and rayon. Human foods. Can survive weeks without food and water.
  • Activity: Will travel distances in search of a food source. Once found they will harbor nearby. Nocturnal.
  • Preferred Climate: 45 to 85 degree temperatures.
  • Defense: Live in aggregations (clusters) due to pheromones that are released attracting other silverfish to a prime harborage area.
  • Cautions: Can damage clothing, paper items including wallpaper, foods.
  • Home Invasion: Can be found in cracks and crevices indoors including behind molding, wallpaper, under rugs, wall voids, attics, crawl spaces, linen closets, bookshelves, etc.

Helpful Hints


  • Good sanitation practices and inspection of the interior home.
  • Reduce moisture. Keep areas dry.
  • Store food in tightly sealed containers.

Interesting Facts


Silverfish have been found infesting attics in Tucson.  These areas often reach temperatures of 130 degrees with less than 15% moisture.

Symptoms


Silverfish are not known to bite people and do not carry diseases. There is more of a chance of hurting yourself attempting to chase one down than of the silverfish hurting you if you catch it.