Harrier Pest Control

Silverfish

Silverfish

Always a sign of damp

Silverfish and firebrats are prehistoric hangovers that invade our homes to this day. Lepisma saccharina, frequently called silverfish, fishmoths, carpet sharks, or paramites, are small, wingless insects in the order Thysanura. They are typically between an inch and half an inch in length (12–25 mm). Its common name derives from the animal’s silvery light grey and blue colour, combined with the fish-like appearance of its movements, while the scientific name indicates the silverfish’s diet of carbohydrates such as sugar or starches.

The presence of silverfish indicates a damp environment and whilst a temporary solution can be achieved with insecticides the ultimate solution is to remedy the damp issue.

Silverfish are nocturnal, elongate, and flattened insects typically between 1 inch (25 mm) and 0.5 inches (13 mm) in length. Their abdomen tapers at the end, giving them a fish-like appearance. They are born whitish, but develop a grayish hue and metallic shine as they get older. They have three long cerci at the tips of their abdomens, one parallel to their body, one facing left, and one facing right. They also have two small compound eyes, despite other members of Thysanura being completely eyeless, such as the family Nicoletiidae.

Like other species in Apterygota, silverfish completely lack wings. They have long antennae, and move in a wiggling motion that resembles a fish. This, coupled with their appearance, influences their common name. Silverfish typically live for two to eight years.

The female lays groups of less than fifty eggs at once, deposited in small crevices. The eggs are oval-shaped, whitish, about 132 inches (0.079 cm) long, and take between two weeks and two months to hatch. Silverfish usually lay less than one hundred eggs in their lifetime.

When the nymphs hatch, they are whitish in color, and look like smaller adults. As they moult, young silverfish develop a grayish appearance and a metallic shine, eventually becoming adults after three months to three years. They may go through seventeen to sixty-six moults in their lifetime, sometimes thirty in a single year, much more than usual for an insect. Silverfish are one of the rare species of insect that continue to moult after mating.

 

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