The Anatomy Of A Silverfish – Despite Their Name, They’re Not Fish
Imagine sitting at your dinner table with the family enjoying a meal and, at the same time, there are little worms crawling up your walls and in your home enjoying a meal of their own too. But they’re not paying for the food or rent. They’re called silverfish (Lepisma saccharina Linnaeus), and the good news is they are mostly harmless, and you most likely won’t notice them; but, they are considered pests and are creepy bugs to many homeowners nonetheless. All the same, it’s important to study what “bugs” us, so today we’ll be learning a bit more about the anatomy of a silverfish to learn what makes them tick.
Diving Into The Anatomy Of A Silverfish
The name “Silverfish” doesn’t sound like a bug, but they are indeed insects, according to the University of Florida Entomology Department. If you spot some by surprise, you may get a good fright because they squirm around like an eel or fish. Silverfish have two long antennae and are typically less than a centimeter long. Their body is wide at the head and getting smaller towards the bottom and have three long legs with bristles, almost like a centipede’s legs. They only move around and eat at night, so you’ll most likely not notice or see them at all unless they decide to take a rest out in the open.
There are two other kinds of silverfish that are common here in the US: the so-called urban silverfish, and another kind called “The firebrat”. Together they both have a similar body type and color scheme, but there are details in their makeup that, if you look at a picture of them, you’d be able to tell the difference.
More good news: The experts at the University of Florida say Lepisma saccharina Linnaeus are considered primitive; meaning they have actually existed for millions of years. That means pest control experts like us at MasterGuard have a lot of experience dealing with them. In fact: “Silverfish [are] one of the simplest, least evolved orders of insects, the Zygentoma,” according to UFED, which means they have been around earth since about 541–251.902 million years ago. That’s pretty elderly!
Silverfish Are Basically Wolverine
Their ripe old age means they have some super hero-type special abilities! Just like Wolverine in the X-Men comic book and movie series, they have the ability to regenerate parts of their body, including their legs and antennae. Granted, it’s not instantaneously like a comic book hero; it takes a couple months – but neat nonetheless! That super power also means they can live for several years, growing a bigger family and changing themselves every one to three months depending on temperature and their diet.
They Mean You No Harm But Get Rid Of Them Quick
If you just so happen to find them, don’t be afraid; they don’t want to mess with you, but they can do some serious damage to your home and stuff if they grow too large in numbers. They love paper so much they won’t just eat books or wallpaper: they will eat and damage “carpet, clothing, coffee, dandruff, glue, hair, some paints, paper, photos, plaster, and sugar,” according to the Entomology department at the University of Florida.
If you want to stop silverfish from coming inside for lunch; vacuum often, seal holes and crack and don’t allow standing water or wet paper to sit in the open. It doesn’t sound too difficult, but even the best of efforts can fall short, and they’ll find a way in anyway. If you do spot them inside your home and you want to get rid of them in an eco-friendly way, according to an article in Good Housekeeping, you can simply seal all food as air-tight as possible, use a dehumidifier, get rid of all the clutter and sprinkle some Diatomaceous Earth Powder around your home. Good Housekeeping says it’s made of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a class of algae – so it’s all natural!
If you take all the steps needed to prevent silverfish or drive them away from your house and that doesn’t help; that means there is a serious problem – time to call the experts! Just remember that they are harmless to you, so don’t be afraid of any bug bites. However, they could be a big financial headache if not dealt with right away, so act fast!