Silverfish (Lepisma Saccharinum)

 

Have you ever seen any in your London property

 

These 6 legged insects are common throughout the UK and seldom more than a nuisance, but can occasionally reach unacceptable numbers. They are nocturnal and inhabit moist areas, requiring relative humidity. Foraging in the bathrooms, pantries, or kitchens and by day they will hide in crevices, behind tiles, skirting boards, and bath panels, beneath loose floor coverings, and behind wallpapers.

The name of this insect as you might guess comes from its shape and color. The adult is a small silver-grey, primitive wingless insect (usually around 12-25mm long). Its abdomen tapers at the end and moves in a wiggling motion that resembles the movement of a fish, giving it a fish-like appearance.

Silverfish (Lepisma Saccharinum) AccuRat

Description and Life Cycle:

 

Eggs are small (0.8mm) white or brownish oval-shaped and are usually carefully laid in crevices or occasionally dropped at random. Nymphs are whitish and resemble the adult but are much smaller and do not have the greyish metallic shine. The first stages of the nymphs are relatively fatter and lack the silvery scales and the 3 bristly tails. Silverfish are also known as ”bristletails” because of the 3 long bristles at the end of their body.

There isn’t much difference between the male and female silverfish, and their mating is more than a ritual.

Their ritual starts with a “date” – male and female silverfish stand face to face, touching their antennae repeatedly and then backing off. After that, the male runs away and the female starts chasing him.

Lastly, both insects stand beside each other and the male lays his sperm capsules (spermatophore) and the female takes them into her body to fertilize her eggs, which takes a long time- between 2 weeks and 2 months to hatch.

Nymphs can take up more than 1 year to develop into adults usually after the 10th mold, which makes this the longest stage of the silverfish’s life cycle. Silverfish are insects that can actually continue to mold even after reaching adulthood.

​Habits, Control and Preventative Measures

They can be present almost anywhere in your home. They prefer areas where the humidity is higher than 70% (perfect humidity being between 75% and 95%) such as crawl spaces in basements and attics, bathrooms, sinks, showers, and more. Like any other nocturnal insect, they are really good at hiding and their presence can go unnoticed. As a nuisance pest silverfish do not spread any diseases but are considered pests because of damage they can cause to your clothing, books, upholstery, etc. Once the silverfish find a food source it will remain close to it.
Silverfish feed on paper, glue, clothing, sugary and starchy foods like flour, cereals. They are considered cannibalistic as well – they can feed on dead insects of their kind.
What is interesting about them is they can easily survive without food or water for about a year, all they need to survive is water. That is why they prefer dark humid places. The most important thing you need to consider when you see this insect is of course the reason for its presence.

Silverfish (Lepisma Saccharinum) AccuRat

If you spot a sign of a silverfish infestation in your bathroom or somewhere under the sink in the kitchen means that you may have a leak. Controlling the high humidity which also might be harmful to humans, at your property is the first step to prevent silverfish invasion. A thorough inspection is key – finding their harbourages and food sources. You can try to get rid of silverfish by using diatomaceous earth which is totally safe for you and the rest of your family but it is always recommended you contact a pest control professional that will make a detailed inspection and properly assess the level of infestation in order to successfully eradicate the insects and advise you on the preventative measures needed.

After successful treatment, it is again up to you to prevent them from coming back again by keeping your dry food properly stored in sealed containers and get a humidifier for your home. If there are any more specific recommended preventative measures, you can be sure that our technician will explain them to you.

Silverfish (Lepisma Saccharinum) AccuRat

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