GreenleafOrganicPest.com Blog

7 Interesting and Helpful Facts About Silverfish

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 @ 07:19 AM

7 Interesting and Helpful Facts About Silverfish

jarsWhat is that creepy-looking metallic gray bug with a bunch of antennae and legs, and why is it shimmying up the wall? It's most likely a silverfish, so named because of its silvery sheen and its rapid movements, which resemble the undulations of a swimming fish. Here are seven more interesting facts about silverfish.

 

  1. Silverfish Are Old-School Bugs

The first ancestors of silverfish are some of the most primitive insects known to science. Silverfish evolved no later than the mid-Devonian period, over 350 million years ago.

Silverfish —along with bugs like jumping bristletails — developed before winged insects. None of the 600 species of silverfish have wings to this day.

 

  1. Silverfish Never Really Grow Up

Silverfish never reach a defined adult form, which is another trait of primitive bugs. The insects can reproduce by the time they shed their skin, or molt, nine times, so they definitely have mature bug capabilities.

However, silverfish will molt throughout their lives and never develop a permanent exoskeleton. Since silverfish live for two to eight years, that adds up to as many as 50 molts throughout their lives. Young silverfish appear whitish, while subsequent molts reveal the silvery sheen that gives the bugs their name.

 

  1. Silverfish Eat Paste                                      

Silverfish are not picky eaters. They adore the dextrin and starches found in glue and dried wallpaper paste.

Other foods enjoyed by silverfish include:

  • Coffee
  • Hair
  • Cereal boxes and cereal
  • Dandruff and dead skin
  • Plaster
  • Sugar, rice, pasta, and flour
  • Linen and cotton

Often, the first sign of a silverfish infestation is holes and yellow stains in books and on paper products. Silverfish will even chew on photographs.

Thankfully, silverfish don't chew on humans or pets. They aren't biters and aren't known to carry diseases. Silverfish do have an amazing ability to live up to a year without food, as long as water is available.

 

  1. Silverfish Love to Come Out at Night

Household varieties of silverfish are nocturnal creatures. You may find holes in your favorite novels and suspect a silverfish invasion yet never see a single silverfish. The bugs are adept at hiding from view in damp, dark spaces around your home.

Hunt for a silverfish infestation in or under:

  • Sinks
  • Cabinets
  • Closets
  • Bathrooms and kitchens
  • Wall cracks and crevices
  • Boxes and bags

An additional sign of a silverfish infestation is their tiny droppings, which look like small black pepper flakes. You may also find exoskeletons that the silverfish have shed near their living spaces. The exoskeletons are transparent after being shed.

 

  1. Silverfish Engage in Ritual Reproduction

Silverfish don't reproduce via internal fertilization as many other insects do. Instead, the male and female perform an intricate mating ritual to produce their offspring externally. Their reproductive routine can last up to half an hour.

First, the silverfish couple face each other and touch their antennae together. Their antennae tremble and quiver as they back away from each other and then return to touching one another. Eventually, the male takes off and the female pursues him.

Once the female catches the male, the pair stand beside each other head to tail as the male's tail vibrates against the female. He finally lays a capsule of sperm called a spermatophore. The female sits on the capsule and takes the spermatophore up into her ovipositor to fertilize her eggs.

 

  1. Silverfish Are Relatively Easy to Eradicate

You can get rid of silverfish by performing the same housekeeping tasks used to eradicate other bugs. Keep your home clean and clutter-free. Seal up food containers. Store grains and cereals in jars with lids.

You should also:

  • Remove damp areas from your home.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices inside and out.
  • Keep pet food sealed in containers.
  • Use lavender or cedar in linen storage.
  • Repair damp or peeling wallpaper.
  • Avoid storing books and clothes in cardboard.

Periodically deep clean your cabinets and bookshelves. Spilled noodles and oatmeal attract silverfish, so promptly clean up spills and crumbs to remove these tempting silverfish meals. Do the same deep clean of your bookshelves every month or so. Remove books, dust the shelves, and inspect materials for signs of infestation.

 

  1. Silverfish Are Managed With Professional Pest Control

Your pest control professional has a variety of methods to remove silverfish from your home. The techs may use a variety of pesticides, pest deterrents, and traps to repel, catch, and kill the silverfish invading your home.

The precise pest-control measures used in your home will be based on your preferences and the presence of children and pets in the home. Bait traps and some applied chemical pesticides are best used in areas where no kids or pets have access.

Materials including boric acid, diatomaceous earth, and pyrethrin-based pesticides are all used to combat silverfish infestations. To learn more about ridding your home of silverfish in Los Angeles, California, contact Greenleaf Organic Pest Management, Inc., today.

Tags: indoor pest, pest control food safety

Winter Pest Control in Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 @ 06:48 AM


Winter pest issues

As I am sitting here watching the first rain of the season out my window  in North Hollywood I’m reminded of the change in pest we are about to start seeing.  Pests are like you and I, they don’t want to be sitting outdoors in the rain when we can move to a warmer and dryer environment. Pests will take the first opportunity to move inside a structure.  Pests are opportunist when it comes to finding shelter when the climate changes the needs of rodents and insects habitat.  What worked in the summer months isn’t going to be life sustaining in the wet, cold winter months.

Even though we have “winter” it isn’t cold enough in California to stop pest invasions. Let’s take a look at a couple of pests that will be looking for that opportunity to move indoors.

 

RODENTS

Mice and rats are top of the list of pest that will find their way indoors.  The only need a space the size of ¼ inch to squeeze through and most homes have many construction deficiencies that will meet this opportunity.

  • Vents and craw space doors
  • Opening around pipes
  • Eaves  and soffits
  • Weather stripping
  • Old abandon sewer lines

These are the common areas that all kinds of pest gain access to our homes and businesses.  Many of these pests, such as Nuisance Animals will make their own openings by ripping off roof shingles, screens and dig tunnels under your home to gain access to the subarea. 

INSECTS

Insects, such as ants, spiders, crickets, earwigs and roaches will move closer to a structure when the rains start to escape the elements. Many will crawl under window sills, like black and brown widows looking for other insects that are doing the same thing looking for an easy meal.  Ill fitting screens allow access through windows and missing weather stripping at door bottoms is another common access point.

 Professional pest control products come in various formulations that are specifically designed to work in wet environments without losing their efficacy.

Prevention is a key component to keeping control of your pest needs year round, but especially during the winter months.  Maintaining service throughout the year is crucial in an effective pest management program. What you do or don’t do during the winter months will have a positive or negative effect on your year round program. 

This is a great time to do the walk around your home or business to inspect the above common areas of access.  Armed with a tube of caulking and a flashlight you can seal up lots of openings that could offer access.

Many of the issues are best handled by a pest control professional since they know the biology of the pest and know what materials best suit the repair.  I’ve seen some exclusion work that obviously took a lot of time to complete, but will not provide actual exclusion because the material used or methods were sub-standard.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you currently have a pest control provider, my first suggestion is DON’T STOP the service.  If you don’t have a company, GET ONE.  Many companies offer rodent inspections to evaluate what issues may be present and give you solutions.  Attics are primary harborage sites for Roof Rats (most common rat) and because of insulation in attics, you may not actually hear them running around doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have a major infestation.  Rats will store all kinds of food and nesting material in attics and subareas in order to thrive and survive the winter.  One of the dangers of allowing pests, such as opossums, skunks, raccoons, foxes  and squirrels to share your dwelling is they have no reason to leave.

  I remember when I first started in the industry as a young kid my training and time spent was mostly dealing with insects.  I never saw skunks, raccoons, or opossums because they were happy in their environment, well that all changed after all the major fires, rains, and floods we had back in the day caused them to move into urban areas.  When they did, they found food, water and shelter in abundance.  Pets and pet food was easily available in almost everyone’s backyard.  These animals had it made, would you go back up in the hills to hunt for food when all you had to do was take it?  Just yesterday coming into the office I saw a coyote walking down a residential street as if he could care less.

Winter pest control in many ways is equally important as summer, because it sets the stage for the next shift in pest activity.   I understand that it is hard to justify a service when you don’t SEE the results.  “We do our best job when there is nothing there”

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Tags: Winter pest control, rats in attic, indoor pest