Silverfish and firebrats are slender, wingless, scale-covered insects, about 13mm long when fullgrown.
They have two long slender antennae, and three long stiff appendages at the tip of the abdomen. Silverfish are uniformly silver in colour; firebrats are grayish, mottled with darker gray scales. A female of either insect may lay 10 to 100 eggs, in undisturbed corners and crevices or in the open. The newly hatched young look like the adults. They grow slowly, taking 1 to 3 years to reach full size. The females, however, are able to lay eggs when they are 3 months old. Silverfish have been known to survive for more than 300 days without food.
Both insects are found in many types of buildings, including new apartment and office buildings, dwellings, bakeries, and libraries, especially in warm secluded places. Silverfish occur in basements, as well as almost any other part of buildings; firebrats are often found in furnace rooms and bakeries, near radiators and heat pipes, and in other warm locations. Silverfish prefer temperatures between 22°C to 27°C; firebrats thrive best at 27°C to 41°C. Both flourish when the relative humidity is high. When the insects are disturbed, they run away quickly and hide.
Silverfish and firebrats eat mainly material of vegetable origin, particularly substances containing starch and sugar. They damage glazed paper, and glued or pasted materials such as bookbindings and wallpaper. They eat bonding glue in wood-processing plants, and are carried to construction sites on wallboard. The insects can damage cotton, linen, or rayon, especially if the fabric has been treated with sizing; and they may become more troublesome as the use of treated synthetic fabrics increases. They are fond of moist wheat flour and other cereal products containing starch.
Silverfish and firebrats, like many other household pests, thrive best where they are undisturbed for long periods. Vacuum and clean your house often, and do not leave stored books and clothing undisturbed for long periods. If you have fabrics of the type favoured by these insects, hang them outdoors occasionally, preferably on a hot, sunny summer day or a clear, cold day in winter. Do not let trash accumulate; it provides ideal shelter for insects of all kinds. Small glass jars, quarter filled with water, can be used as traps, if the outsides are covered with masking tape. The tape enables the insects to crawl up, but they are unable to escape from the jar, once they have fallen in. No bait is necessary.
We employ the Spray method utilizing Dragnet FT to exterminate these pests.