Silverfish

DESCRIPTION:

The Lepisma adult body length is 1/2 inches excluding the tails at the end of the anal area. Their coloration ranges from gray to almost black, with a metallic sheen.

The Ctenolipisma adult body length is 5/8 inches excluding the tails at the end of the anal area. Their coloration is a dark gray with 4 dark lines running the length of the body.

All silverfish taper from head to tail. Immatures similar to adults in appearance, except for size. The scales appear with the 3rd or 4th molt.

DAMAGE:

Feeding marks are irregular whether they are holes, notches along an edge, or surface etchings. Yellow stains, scales and or droppings may be seen on infested materials.

HABITS:

All silverfish are nocturnal and hide in cracks or crevices. They can be found almost anywhere in a house or commercial structure. They tend to roam quite some distance while searching for food, but once they find a satisfactory food source, they remain close to it. Silverfish will breed anywhere in the house and survive for weeks without food or water.

Silverfish prefer areas of room temperature of 70-85 degrees and humidity of 70-100%. They prefer proteins to carbohydrates and are cannibalistic. They are pests of paper, particularly of glazed paper and paper with sizing, wallpaper and wallpaper paste, etc. They also will eat proteins such as dried beef or dead or injured of their on kind.

The Ctenolepsima is not limited by temperature and moisture. It may be found throughout a building and will especially be found in attics with roofs made of wooden shingles. Outdoors, it occurs in the mulch of foundation flower and shrubbery beds, and under the bark of Eucalyptus trees.

BIOLOGY:

These particular species of silverfish lay about 1-3 eggs per day, placing them in cracks, under objects, or just left exposed. The eggs will hatch when it is 72-90 degrees and at least 50-75% relative humidity. Developmental time takes about 3-4 months under the favorable conditions, but could take up to 2-3 years otherwise. Most silverfish will live about 3 years.

The Ctenolepisma produces the enzyme cellulase in its midgut and can therefore digest cellulose.

SCIENTIFIC NAME:

Lepisma saccharina Linnaeus