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.
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Through its county agents, the Cooperative Extension Service gives individuals access to the resources at land-grant universities across the nation. These universities are centers for research in many subjects, including entomology (the study of insects) and agriculture. Each county within the United States has an Extension office, which is staffed with agents who work closely with university-based Extension specialists to deliver answers to your questions about gardening, agriculture, and pest control. You can find the phone number for your local county extension office in the local government section (often marked with blue pages) of your telephone directory or by clicking on the map below.
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