Silver fish (Lepisma saccharina) have inhabited the earth for over 300 million years. They depend on high atmospheric humidity, and so usually occur in bathrooms, washing basements and damp storage rooms and pantries.
The insects are silver in colour and 10 mm to 12 mm long, and lay their eggs in cracks and crevices. They thrive best in temperatures between 25° and 30° Celsius, and cannot reproduce in a cold and dry environment. These light-shy, nimble and wingless insects live for up to four years.
Silver fish only cause trouble in large quantities. They prefer food containing starch such as glues, book bindings, starched fabrics and photographs. But they also damage leather articles and synthetic fabrics by gnawing and eating holes. The foods they infest usually contain sugar. In bathrooms they feed on hairs, skin scales and dirt.
Preventive measures and controls
- Keep infested rooms cool and dry
- Pour boiling water into bathtubs and sink drains
- Vacuum-clean holes, crevices and cracks
- Use insecticides