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Silverfish 101: 8 Interesting Facts & 4 Things That Kill It

Three silverfishes with different postures on the whtie.

Silverfish are small, wingless bugs that are silver or blue in color. These insects are interesting because they almost have a fish-like appearance, and they have a movement that is best described as odd – almost like a fish.

Fun facts and information about silverfish

Most people will have Silverfish in their home or apartment at one point or another. And while a nuisance, these nocturnal insects are not harmful. Let’s take a look at a few fun facts and information about these insects.

1. What are silverfish?

Silverfish are insects of the Insecta class, order of the Thysanura, family of the Lepismatidae and genus of the Lepisma. First discovered or cataloged in its current binomial name, this bug is considered a lepisma saccharina species.Flat long shadow silverfish icon set.

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2. Where do silverfish come from?

What’s interesting is that bugs, and silverfish, have a tendency to be in our home one day and not the next. These bugs have a tendency to like moist areas, and they need a humidity level of between 75% and 95% to truly thrive.

Most people will find these insects in their:

  • Attics
  • Sinks
  • Bathtubs
  • Kitchens
  • Showers

And they’ll also flock to closets. Since these insects are nocturnal, they have a tendency to prefer darker areas.

Found all over the world, these pests are common in:

  • Africa
  • America
  • Australia
  • Asia
  • Europe

So, you’ll see these insects in most parts of the world.

3. How do silverfish reproduce?

These insects go through an intense reproduction phase that can last as long as 30 minutes. Reproduction occurs over three phases:

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  • Phase 1: The first phase includes the male and female standing face to face using their antennae to touch one another. They’ll back up and return to the antennae touching during the phase.
  • Phase 2: The second phase is interesting, as the male will run away from the female, who then chases her male counterpart.
  • Phase 3: The final phase is where the male and female stand next to each other with the male vibrating his tail against the female.

The third phase will result in the release of spermatophore from the male, which is then taken into the body by the female and will use them to fertilize the eggs. The result is silverfish eggs, and females typically lay less than 60 eggs at once.

Eggs will be deposited in groups, which will be found in small crevices around the home.

The eggs are white in color and span just 0.8mm, so they’re very small and hard to see. Eggs hatch rather fast, with times ranging between 2 weeks and 2 months, depending on environmental conditions.

4. What color are silverfish?

Silverfish, like most insects, will change color from the time they’re a baby until they reach full adulthood. The colors of these pests are:A whitish silverfish on white background.

  • Whitish: A whitish color is seen when a baby silverfish is born. This color may be different than when the insect molts into an adult, but the bug will look similar to their adult counterparts even as a baby.
  • Grayish: As the baby molts, it will start to turn a grayish color with a sort of metallic shine to it.

And when adult age hits, these pests can be bluish, gray or brown with a tinge of gray. Brown silverfish are not uncommon either.

5. Are silverfish dangerous?

People have a fear of these pests, and many people ask: “are silverfish poisonous?” They look an awful lot like centipedes, after all. Despite their close appearance, the main difference between silverfish vs centipede is that some centipede can be poisonous.

Silverfish are neither poisonous, nor dangerous.

In fact, this is one insect that would rather flee when they see a human than sit there and allow themselves to be killed. Fast and agile, these insects are rather timid.

The only danger that is involved with this bug is that they can be very destructive. And they’ll eat wallpaper, too, in some cases, which isn’t a pleasant surprise for a homeowner. Otherwise, these pests normally keep to themselves.

6. Do silverfish bite?

There is no fear of a silverfish bite. These pests are not known to bite humans, and they won’t bite your pets either. If by some slim change you do get bit, there is no need to worry about negative side effects.

These pests are not known to carry any diseases or harmful bacteria.

And since they don’t have any poison, the bite would do nothing but cause some irritation. The chances of being bitten are very rare, as these bugs will flee and enjoy darkness above all else.

7. Do silverfish eat clothes?

Yes. If it looks like someone or something ate little holes in your garments, it’s most likely a silverfish that was hungry and decided that it’s time to snack on some of your clothes.

These pests prefer the following material:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Silk

These pests can also cause damage to rayon, although the damage is far less than what they do to other materials. Leather can also be eaten by these pests, but this isn’t a preferred meal choice.

8. What’s the average silverfish size?

These grayish bugs have a teardrop shape and a long tail with antennae. This makes them appear long at first glance, but a full-sized silverfish will measure just 12mm to 19mm in length.

Babies are smaller in size.

What most people don’t know is that silverfish will continue to molt even when they’re adults. Most bugs will molt until they hit the adult stage, but silverfish continue to molt their entire lives, which makes them part of a very unique set of insects.

Estimates suggest that the average silverfish will molt up to 30 times per year. In many cases, these bugs will eat their own molted skin afterwards.

4 Things that kill silverfish

These destructive pests can be killed rather easily, and you don’t need a silverfish wiki to find out what kills these pests. We’re going to tell you how to kill silverfish once and for all.

1. Jar traps

Trapped jar inside a jar inside another jar. A simple jar trap will do the trick to catch and starve out these insects. You’ll need a plain jar and to wrap the outside of the jar with tape. Masking tape works well because it will allow the bug to climb up the outside of the jar.

Inside of the jar, you’ll need to place a lure.

Starch is a good lure, and it will attract these pests. Silverfish will be able to climb up the outside of the jar via the tape provided. But once they fall inside of the jar, they’ll be met with glass, which doesn’t allow for enough traction to be able to crawl out of the jar.

You’ll either need to close the lid and let nature take its course, or kill the silverfish in the bottle.

If you simply dump the bugs outside your front door, they’ll make their way back inside.

2. Diatomaceous earth

One of the most potent insect killers on the planet is diatomaceous earth. This will cause the insects to die through dehydration and works well for the vast majority of household pests. The key is to place this substance in the right areas.

You’ll want to note where the largest concentrations of pests are located, and place DE in these areas.

Pets and humans will not be harmed by DE, and it’s an all-natural ingredient, so it’s not going to cause harm to you, animals or plants.

3. Cedar shavings

Cedar is one of the best ways to repel silverfish, and this is a product you’ll find in many home improvement stores. This is a messy solution, but it works quite well. You’ll want to place shavings outdoors, in the basement and anywhere that you see these pests.

Just make sure to vacuum up the mess and put cedar back down when needed.

4. Lavender and citrus spray

A lavender and citrus spray can help repel silverfish. An old secret that many grandmothers passed on for generations is to mix lemon juice and lavender oil into a spray bottle. You’ll need to dilute the mixture with water, and a full lemon is all that’s needed to be squeezed into the water.

You can adjust the amount based on how much water is in the spray bottle.

The amount of oil needed will vary, too, but it’s recommended that you put 10 – 20 drops of lavender essential oil into the water and citrus mixture for best results. Shake up the bottle and use it to spray around the home.

Keep in mind that this is also a great cleaner, so it can be used as a cleaning solution, too.

This is a great solution for:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Drawers
  • Cabinets
  • Closets

Some people will even mop their floor with a similar solution because it cleans very well and smells good, too. Since silverfish don’t like the smell, they’ll be repelled from the home, which is another added benefit.

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