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Silverfish and Firebrats

Silverfish and firebrats (also known as bristletails) are wingless insects with flat, carrot-shaped bodies. Silverfish and firebrats are very fast runners, so they are often seen when their hiding places are disturbed. Most active at night, they feed on a variety of foods, such as flour, cereals, dust, dead insects, and certain fungi. They also eat starchy substances like cotton, linen, silk, wallpaper, and glues used in book-bindings and cardboard boxes.

Silverfish prefer damp and cool places, such as basements, attics, garages, laundry rooms, closets, and storage areas with boxes and/or books. On the other hand, firebrats prefer very warm, moist places. They are found around ovens, heating units, fireplaces, and hot water pipes. The presence of silverfish or firebrats indicates too much moisture in the area. An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach may involve moisture control, cleaning, and structural modifications like replacing broken windows and/or leaking pipes, and possibly the use of insecticides.

Control tips:

Tips for reducing moisture in your home:

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

Last updated February 05, 2013

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