Silverfish and Firebrats

Order Thysanura


These insects of this order have the same characteristic shape. Their bodies are flattened, long and slender, slender appendages are found at the rear of the body. All silverfish and firebrats are wingless. The young look like small adults.

Silverfish: 3/8-1/2 inch. Tapering, carrot-shaped. Silver-grey, coated with scales. Threadlike antennae and 3 tail filaments, all shorter than body. Small black eyes.

Firebrats: 3/8-1/2 inch. Mottled gray and tan or brown. Threadlike antennae, longer than body, usually swept back parallel to sides. 3 tail filaments.

firebrat exterminatorHabitat:

Indoors in warm, dry places, including closets, bookcases, behind baseboards, in partitions, or in bathtubs, (Firebrats: near ovens, heating pipes, and furnaces.) Silverfish and firebrats are most active at night and can run very swiftly.


Silverfish: Dried cereals, flour, glue, and starch, including stiffeners used in clothing and bound books, and coated papers used in magazines.

Firebrats: Crumbs and scraps of dry human food near cooking and heating devices.

Life Cycle:

Silverfish: No metamorphosis. Oval white eggs are dropped in a few places week after week. Eggs hatch in 2-8 weeks. Nymphs have the same body form as adults. Full size is attained in about 2 years,

Firebrats: No metamorphosis. At intervals female lays spherical white eggs with soft shells in clusters of 50 or more. Hatching and subsequent growth take weeks or many months, depending on temperature, humidity, and food supply. Nymphs take up to 2 years and about 40 molts to reach full size. Maximum life-span in warm situations is about 30 months.

General Information:

Silverfish and firebrats have very week jaws, which causes them to scrape, instead of bite, the surface of a piece of paper. They tend to crowd together in a central hiding place during the day to rest, and help regulate the temperature and humidity around the eggs and young nymphs.

Silverfish and Firebrat Management:

Since these insects can travel long distances while looking for food, it can be difficult to locate the infestation source. By keeping areas clean, dry, and clutter free, and along with repairing leaks and drips will help provide effective management.