It’s not knowledge they’re seeking. Looking like they are straight out of a science fiction novel, the silverfish can very well be IN one of your science fiction novels. Feasting on dry items such as paper and binding glue, silverfish can be found in your bookshelves, boxes, pantries, or slipping in and out of cracks on your walls.

According to the UC Integrated Pest Management Program, silverfish get their name from their shiny silver backs made up of tiny scales. They are soft bodied and measure around ½ to ¾ inch long. These bugs carry slim antennae, two to three tail-like appendages, and very mobile legs that create the very agile movements they display when their hiding spot is compromised.

Although silverfish are not poisonous or medically harmful, these chewing insects secrete digestive enzymes that can cause damage to books, furniture, curtains, wallpaper, clothes, photos, and photo albums if left to their own devices. Silverfish also seek out dry foods such as pasta, cereal, rice, and pet food, causing your household pantry selections to become their feeding grounds.

Silverfish prefer warmer temperatures, so summer is their optimal time, and areas in your home such as laundry rooms, garages, attics, fireplaces, and even hot water pipes can become optimal breeding grounds. To attract a female, the male silverfish displays a very interesting tantric dance of love. One female silverfish can lay anywhere from 50 to 200 eggs.

If you’ve ever encountered one of these wiggly intruders, you’ll know that they are hard to kill. They are the masters of making a narrow escape, making prevention your best option of defense.

Some tips from the UCIPM include :

– Keep basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms (especially shower stalls) clean and dry.

– Try to keep dust at a minimum as it is an important food source.

– Periodically clean out closets, cabinets, and storage containers.

– Patch holes around any pipes or conduits.

– Reduce humidity with fans or dehumidifiers in closets or any area you might suspect has a problem.

– Occasionally rearrange books on bookshelves or stacks of magazines to disrupt any potential living quarters.

– Keep food in airtight containers when possible.

Though many insecticides may paste a silverfish’s picture on the label, according to the UCIPM, most pesticides have not been tested directly on them.

Silverfish will also travel long distances for food, making hard to pinpoint exactly where they’re coming from. And these bugs are fast! If you suspect they may be damaging your belongings, rather than using over-the-counter pesticides that may not be effective, contact our Sacramento pest control professionals at Earth Guard Pest Services, 916-457-7605, or visit our website.

For more info and a moving picture of this space-alien-like creature, check out the Insect Sciences Museum of California.