Silverfish are classified as stored product pests or fabric pests. They do not transmit disease, but do contaminate food. They have been found in unopened packages of food and are considered by some experts to be the most destructive stored product pest in the United States.
Silverfish have a carrot shaped body. Their antennae, attached to the front of their head, are long and slender. They have slender bristles at the end of their body. They are typically a half of an inch long. They are called silverfish because their exoskeleton has a silver appearance and they look like fish swimming when they are crawling.
Silverfish prefer moist, dark areas. They typically congregate around plumbing voids under sinks and in walls. Silverfish are often found in bathtubs because they are seeking moisture, fall into the bathtub, and are unable to escape. Since they are nocturnal, it is rare to see silverfish even when there is a large infestation.
Silverfish love carbohydrates, especially sugar and starches. These sugars and starches can be found in glue, wall paper glue, and many household products such as papers, boxes, and clothing.
Why Are Silverfish Harmful?
Silverfish pose no direct risk to humans or pets. They are mainly a nuisance because they destroy food, books, papers, wallpaper, clothing, and any other starchy item.
Silverfish reproduce rapidly, so it is important to address a silverfish population before the infestation becomes to severe (see Atlanta silverfish pest control). A combination of tactics may be used when addressing a large infestation of silverfish including an insect growth regulator, baits, and a micro-encapsulated pesticide by a professional pest control technician.
Unfortunately, most store bought products do not address a silverfish infestation adequately. It may eliminate some silverfish, but it fails to break the life cycle of the silverfish nymphs and eggs.