Silverfish

Silverfish and firebrats are common in homes all over Appling County, Wayne County, Jeff Davis County, Bacon County, Tatnall County, and Pierce County. The silverfish lives and develops in damp, cool places. Large numbers may be found in new buildings where newly plastered walls are still damp. The firebrat lives and develops in hot, dark places, such as around furnaces and fireplaces, and in insulation around hot water and steam pipes. Silverfish and firebrats follow pipes through walls in search of food. They may be found in bookcases, around closet shelves, behind baseboards, windows or door frames.

Both of these insects are slender and wingless. They are covered with scales. Adults are about 1/3 to 1/2 inch long. Silverfish are shiny and silver to pearl-gray in color. Firebrats are mottled gray. Young insects resemble the adults, except they are smaller. Both have 2 long antennae attached to their heads and have 3 tail-like appendages at the hind end. Each appendage is almost as long as the insect’s body.

Silverfish and firebrats are active at night and hide during the day. When objects under which they hide are moved, they dart about seeking a new hiding place. Under normal conditions, they develop slowly and have few young. They can live for several months without food.

Females lay eggs year round in secluded places. Silverfish lay only a few eggs at a time, but may lay several batches in a few weeks. They hatch in 2-8 weeks, depending on temperature. Firebrats lay about 50 single eggs and may lay several batches. They hatch in about 2 weeks. Both insects reach maturity in 3-24 months. Their rate of growth depends on temperature and humidity.