Lepisma saccharina, more commonly known as “silverfish,” are particularly fast-moving, common, and creepy-looking insect pests of homes. In addition to being an indoor nuisance, silverfish often infest and damage books by chewing holes through pages, and they will readily eat just about any material containing starch, cellulose and glue. Silverfish look more akin to marine animals than insects, as their body is covered in tiny moist scales. These pests are silver to grey in color and around ⅓ of an inch in length. They possess antenna and their body gradually narrows toward the rear. They commonly infest furniture, and books, and sometimes, silverfish are found in kitchen cabinets and pantries where they feed on sugars, meats, and grains. A few silverfish species in the US are considered indoor pests, but L. saccharina is the most widespread and common. Despite their need for humid conditions, silverfish thrive throughout much of the year in arid Arizona where they are often found congregating in moist indoor areas.
Silverfish prefer conditions between 71 and 80 degrees, and while they must maintain a habitat in humid environments, they can survive exposure to a variety of temperatures. Silverfish may invade wall voids where plumbing leaks, and/or condensation from pipes maintain moist conditions. Provided silverfish secure a moist environment, they can reproduce within homes, sometimes leading to massive infestations. After a mating ritual in which sperm is delivered via a silk thread, eggs are deposited within cracks and crevices on walls and other surfaces. Around 30 eggs are produced at a time, and they appear as small clusters of about 12 eggs. Eggs hatch in 90 degree temperatures and mature within a span of 30 to 40 days. Silverfish were one of the earliest species to appear on the planet, as they emerged on earth long before other common insect pests. Because they are primitive organisms, immature offspring that hatch from eggs closely resemble adults, only smaller in size.
Have you ever found silverfish in your home?