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Are Silverfish Dangerous?

Despite their creepy extraterrestrial appearance, silverfish are not going to put you or your family in any immediate danger.  But they are a nuisance and can cause damage to your food and paper goods including your walls or wallpaper.  Regular pest control maintenance can keep these pests at bay and prevent a hard-to-detect infestation from forming.

Metallic Fish?

They get their name from their silver coloration and scale-like exterior that almost resembles fish scales.  Although some people relate them more like land shrimp, they only have 6 legs.  They can move very fast and often get confused for having more legs than they do.  They move them very quickly they have 3 pseudo leg-like appendages at the back end with two very long antennae at the head.  They are only ½ to ¾ inch and will flee from you every time.  They can bite, but are highly unlikely to.  They are not venomous despite some confusion with centipedes that are.

Silverfish Infestation

One or two silverfish don’t cause much damage, but there usually isn’t one or two for very long.  Silverfish have a life cycle like all insects do that last for 6 to 8 years or so.  During the majority of that time they lay eggs almost daily (between 2-20 at a time), that hatch larvae three weeks later.  They continue to molt throughout their life.

They are nocturnal, but evidence can be found during the day.  Silverfish prefer damp and humid environments, like bathrooms and kitchen pantries.  They eat paper products such as old books, glue from book spines, linens, and wallpaper, but also will raid your pantry for items such as:

  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Proteins
  • Sugar
  • Vegetables such as potatoes
  • Dead insects

They are also commonly found in dark, humid basements where old paper products are stored.  They are known to consume cardboard, old newspapers, magazines, and even silk fabrics and flowers.

Preventing Infestation

Due to the fact that these nocturnal insects are small and prefer to stick to the shadows, it is possible to not know their numbers are amassing behind the scenes until you begin to see evidence of their destruction.  They leave behind small pepper like feces.  They also leave a yellowish stain on the most frequented areas and small holes from their bites on which they feed.  They nest near their food sources and prefer to hide in the cracks of baseboards and crown molding.

Having a dehumidifier helps impede an accommodating environment, but no matter how nice and clean your home may be, silverfish can find a way in.

14 Dec
2015

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