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

Protecting Your Food Storage from Pests

Posted by Mark A. Puglisi, ACE on Fri, Dec 06, 2013 @ 01:17 PM


tornado resized 600Survival Food resized 600

Food Pest Safety and Survival Food

Let’s face it; we are living in a time of economic uncertainty and tragic failures providing victims proper care and response in the face of disaster. We have seen the level of damage and emergency response with Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.  This disaster taught us that we cannot rely on help reaching us in a timely manner (if at all) from our government, or its agencies for these types of disasters.

More and more people are seeking ways to be more self sufficient in surviving disasters.  This has been a personal concern for some time and I have become much more aware of the things we need to do in order to look after our families. Planning ahead is going to be the key to readiness.

Food and water after any disaster is critical, but often times not available in the disaster zone for long periods of time because of hording, poor response from emergency agencies, and possible contamination of supplies on hand.  It’s become very popular to be educated on survival techniques and long term food storage.  

As an Entomologist I am aware that just having these supplies isn’t a guarantee that the quality of the food will be in a usable state when it is needed.  I’ve seen my share of Stored Product Pest damage and the Millions of dollars it cost the manufacturing companies it affected over the years.  So knowing the potential damage it can cause to a survival program, I wanted to offer some storage practices that can help mitigate inventory loss.

Facts:  About 80% of human food comes from grains, such as barley, corn, millet, rice, rye, sorghum, and wheat, and legumes, such as beans, soybeans and peanuts. All of which are great to have in a survival program.

Food Pest resized 600

Loss of product comes from two sources, (1) the actual consumption of grains form insects and rodents. (2) Contamination and damages to structures or containers by poor storage and/or rodents and insect activities. Indirect contamination also can be from those from which result from dry and wet grain heating, moisture migration, bacteria, fungi, aflatoxins, and parasites of humans.

Stored Product Pest can already be in your food when you purchase it. I know this is scary, but many of the flour and grains have eggs in them and can hatch at any time depending on moisture and temperature.

Storage Practices:  Knowing the potential risk of these facts, you want to think about How and Where you are going to store your dry food products can greatly improve the chance that when you need it, it will be in a usable state.  I can’t imagine the heartache of opening your food supply when you really need it to only find a web filled, powdery mess, full of bugs.  So, for starters you want to choose a “pest Proof” container such as insect proof containers, such as glass or plastic jars. Pint-size freezer bags that are moisture and vapor proof work pretty well, but my first choice is a vacuum sealed bag, such as a Seal -a- Meal ®.  This offers many advantages such as

  • Air Tight
  • Extend the life of the food
  • Clear
  • Takes up less space
  • Adjustable size
  • Water proof
  • Contents can be boiled for cooking
  • Easy inspection for food pest inspection
describe the image
It’s always best to keep each item separate form others so if a product does hatch you will not contaminate your entire supply.  This is where you need to have a regular inspection of all storage.  Placing everything into a sealed drum isn’t your best option here.  Out of sight, is out of mind and you will not likely be happy when you do open it.  Pest won’t hatch out if you are able to keep in the refrigerator or better yet in a freezer.  I know not everyone has room, but having a spare freezer or refrigerator in the garage is a good investment. 

External threats are also a concern with long term storage.  Rodents are probably going to be your biggest concern because they can chew through just about every container material there is.  Metal drums that have a removable ring on the top is a good start.  Access is a key issue so choose a place that will be secure and available when you need it.  Monitoring your products on a regular basis is going to be key in the quality of your survival food.  There is Stored Product Pest pheromone traps available from the Internet that can be used to “sample” the storage area that you choose to keep your food in.  Also, if you choose your garage, be sure that your total storage isn’t going to cause an access issue if you have a major earthquake, you don’t want your food to be buried under Aunt Edna’s collection of glass wear.

If you have a specific issue or concern, please don’t hesitate to ask, I am here to answer your questions

.Click me

Tags: Food Safety, pest control food safety, survival food storage