Silverfish in Florida

Florida Silverfish Facts

Silverfish and firebrats belong to the insect order Thysanura.

These insects differ from most other insects by continuing to molt, or shed their exoskeleton, throughout their entire lives.  Silverfish and firebrats are usually considered a nuisance when they invade homes. They consume and stain books, fabric, foods and wallpaper. These insects prefer starchy foods such as flour, rolled oats, paper or glue. Damage is only significant if a large population is present for a long period of time.

Sanitation should be used to avoid infestations of silverfish and firebrats. It cannot be used as the only means to eliminate infestations. Remove old books, magazines and newspapers. Inspect fabrics that have been stored for long periods for damage or infestation. Many times valuable books or papers have infestations of silverfish. These items can be placed into a sealable plastic bag and placed into the freezer for several days to kill the silverfish.   Clean closets on a regular basis to help remove harborage areas. Vacuum regularly and clean up spilled food or drink immediately. Make sure to inspect any items brought into the home, especially those that have been in storage, to avoid an infestation.

In areas of infestation, or areas where books are stored, reduce humidity by using air conditioning units, fans or dehumidifiers. Repairing any plumbing leaks will cut off water sources for these insects.
Insecticide treatments should be targeted to harborage areas such as cracks and crevices, around baseboards, closets and attics. With large infestations, small holes may be drilled in walls to treat the wall void.

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