Silverfish are primitive (older than cockroaches) wingless insects that are 1/2 to 3/4-inch long when fully grown. They are covered with silvery scales and are flattened and somewhat “carrot” shaped. Three long, slender “antennae-like” appendages project from the end of the abdomen, giving them the name “bristle tails”.

Silverfish are tropical insects that are able to survive in the environment we create in our homes. They are found living in warm (71-90 degrees Fahrenheit), moist locations in the home and are most often found damaging books, cloth, and sometimes dried meats or dead insects. They seem especially fond of the sizing on books and paper as well as the glues and pastes found on wallpaper, labels, and paper products.

The young silverfish look exactly like the adults, except smaller, and feed on the same foods. Under ideal conditions, they molt every two to three weeks and become adults in three to four months. These insects are very long-lived, commonly living two to three years. The silverfish are unlike other insects in that they continue to molt after they become adults.

Good sanitation is helpful but may not greatly reduce the population because these pests feed on so many paper products. Reducing the amount of stored paper products, sealing cracks and crevices, and maintaining relatively cool temperatures within the structure will all provide some control.