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What Are Silverfish

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What Are Silverfish?

If you were to go by the name, you might be inclined to believe that silverfish are only silver. But these tiny bugs can also be white, brown-grey, or bluish-silver in color. Based on their name, you might also be tempted to think silverfish live in the water. While these critters definitely enjoy moist environments, you're not going to find silverfish in your local pond. Silverfish like moist soil, moist wood, and sometimes, moist homes.

What do silverfish look like? As mentioned, silverfish are generally silver in color. They grow to be around 12 to 19 millimeters in length and are a unique teardrop shape that appears somewhat flat. At the tip of a silverfish' abdomen there are three tails that extend outward, and a silverfish' body is covered with flexible, slippery scales. These scales protect this creepy insect from being captured by larger insects. Because they are so flat and flexible, silverfish are able to squeeze into tight spaces, such as the binding of a book, and feed undetected until irreparable damage has been done.

What type of environment do silverfish prefer? Silverfish can survive in many climates, but they prefer to live inside dark, damp areas such as laundry rooms, basements, kitchens and bathrooms. They are particularly drawn to areas that have moist fabrics. Outside homes, if they are not in the moist ground, they can be found inside stored items, inside boxes, in garages, or inside sheds and other outbuildings.

Do silverfish bite? Silverfish are not a blood-eating insect, so they have no inclination to bite people. Which leads us to the next question.

What do silverfish eat? Though silverfish can actually survive many months without eating anything at all, they eat many things, both things we would consider food, and things we would not. Silverfish prefer to dine on carbohydrates, sugars and starches, but they also love cellulose found in wood products. Because of this, they will eat, and cause damage to, books, old photos, carpets, clothing, leatherwear, curtains, sheets, blankets, tapestries, important (and not-so-important) documents, and the paste on wallpaper. They are also known to consume shampoo, dandruff, dead insects, sugar, coffee, pasta, flour, cereal and other starchy foods.

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Do silverfish crawl on people? As mentioned above, silverfish will eat dandruff. If you have dandruff, and silverfish, you may find these creepy, slithery creatures crawling on you looking for a bite to eat. You may also see them crawling around on the tines of your hairbrush.

Do silverfish carry disease? Unlike some other household pests, silverfish are not known to bring disease into a home.

How do silverfish get into homes? If you are seeing silverfish inside your home, it is likely they originated from the soil around your home. If it gets too dry outside, silverfish will search for a more humid environment. And, if you have gaps and cracks in your foundation, they will likely take advantage of it. They will also try to get in if it gets too wet. Though they prefer damp environments, they cannot live if there is too much water in the soil.

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