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The scientific name, Lepisma saccharina, literally translates as "sugar eater". It was chosen because silverfish tend to eat starchy foods high in carbohydrates and protein, such as dextrin in glues. However, the insect's more common name comes from the insect's distinctive metallic appearance and fish-like shape and movement. They commonly feed on books or book bindings, but may also eat paper, photos, sugar, coffee, hair, carpet, flour, dried meat, rolled oats and clothing, especially if it has been starched. They are nocturnal, requiring high humidity (75% to 90%) and temperatures between 70-80° F to survive.
Life Cycle of the Silverfish
Insecticide treatments should be targeted to harborage areas such as cracks and crevices, around baseboards, closets and attics. Natural active ingredients include d-limonene, clove oil, thyme oil, boric acid or diatomaceous earth. So try Citrus Home Pest Control, Orange Guard, EcoPCO ACU, or sprinkle diatomaceous earth (Safer Ant & Crawling Insect Killer, Concern Crawling Insect killer, JT Eaton Kills Bedbugs and Crawling Insects Powder) where the silverfish are known to be; they will die in a few days. Use JT Eaton Answer® Boric Acid as bait in the same way.
See more products for indoor pests in our Cockroaches and Other Indoor Pests section.