Silverfish are slender, wingless insects, shiny silver in appearance approximately 10mm long with three, long bristletails at the end of their body. They can be found in moist places such as kitchens and bathrooms, underneath floors, sinks, in cupboards and along pipes where they hide during the day and feed during the night. They are extremely fast runners and are sometimes seen trapped in wash hand basins or baths where they are unable to climb the smooth vertical surface to escape.
Silverfish are scavengers and can cause damage in the home by eating materials that are high in protein, sugar, starch, cereals, or paper on which there is glue or paste, sizing in paper and book bindings. They seldom damage fibres of animal origin such as wool or hair. Damage often appears as irregular patches removed from wallpaper or irregular and notched edges on wallpaper or other paper products. Scales, excrement, or yellowish stains on paper or fabric can also indicate their presence.
A female will lay less than 100 eggs during her lifetime depositing them in cracks and crevices or behind skirting boards in damp and warm locations. The eggs hatch between 2-8 weeks later depending upon conditions, the lifecycle being completed within 3-4 months in warm humid conditions, or within 2-3 years in cooler dryer conditions. Newly hatched insects are about 2mm long resembling the adult insects in appearance. The insects and their eggs can be brought into the home in cardboard boxes, books, papers, starched and rayon fabrics and other carbohydrate materials.
Clear up areas where wood, cardboard boxes, old papers or books are stored and where there is evidence of insect activity. Treatment should be carried out by applying insecticidal dust to cracks and crevices, under shelves, around sinks, skirtingboards, window frames, and at junction where pipes pass through walls.
Alternatively, treatment can be carried out professionally by the Bury Metro Pest Control Unit.