Pests and Nuisance
Silver fish and Fire Brats
Both the silverfish and its close relative the fire brat belong to the order THYSANURA (Bristle tails).
Probably the most interesting factor relating to this species is its great age. Like the fire brat it is the descendent of the primitive insect stock before wings were evolved - over 350 million years ago - and in all this time they have probably not changed their form.
The silver fish owes its name to its silvery appearance, its fish or carrot-like shape and the darting fish-like movements which are characteristic.
The female lays about 100 eggs, singularly, or in twos and threes. Usually the small white oval shaped eggs are thrust into crevices or hidden under objects. The first stage nymph is about 2mm long and is bare of scales and bristles. After about three moults a covering of silvery scales appears. Adulthood is probably reached at about the 10th moult. Being without wings there is no impediment to moulting in the adult stage and growing continues throughout life until they reach about ½ inch in length.
Feeding habits and haunts
Silverfish live to a large extent on carbohydrates such as starch and dextrin, but they also welcome some protein - dead insects, gum and glue found on wallpaper, book bindings etc.
Silverfish are nocturnal in habit and are rarely seen in the daytime during which period they hide in crevices, furnishings and skirting board. They commonly hide under loose wallpaper and plaster. They frequent various parts of the house but are more commonly associated with bathrooms an sculleries where the moisture they need is available.
Fire brats have much the same lifestyle and diet is similar but, whereas the silverfish haunts dampish areas, the fire brat is found under warm situations particularly behind the stoves of kitchens and bakeries etc.