Silverfish are smallish, blue-gray insects with a carrot-shaped body and long, protruding antennae and legs. They live in damp, dark environments and are almost exclusively active at night. They're not dangerous animals, they don't carry diseases, but they can be a considerable nuisance because of their diet.
Silverfish are relatively slow to reproduce, with a female laying only usually around 100 eggs in her lifetime. But because silverfish can inhabit a house for long periods without being detected, even at this rate a few individuals who enter the home can soon become an infestation.
Silverfish live in dark areas, such as wall voids or in cracks or crevices. They normally only come out to feed or mate at night, and they will usually flee light. A homeowner's first interaction with silverfish is usually seeing them scurry away in the bathroom at night when light switch is turned on.
Silverfish require areas that are damp and high in humidity to live. This means they are normally found in areas where damp can collect, such as basements, under kitchen sinks and refrigerators, and bathrooms. However, because of Houston's nearly constant high humidity in this city they can easily spread throughout the home.
Silverfish will feast on nearly anything containing starch, including books, photographs, paper, wallpaper, and sometimes even clothing.
Silverfish leave small, uneven holes in the items they feast on. When dining on books, the damage is often seen as small, white blotches where they've eaten away the outer layer of the cover. Similar whitish blotches are also seen on photographs they've attacked. Silverfish are also very fond of the glue used to bind many books, and given time an infestation can unbind an entire library.
Silverfish are particularly resilient and can live for more than a year without eating. This means that even eliminating food sources from an infected area may not eliminate them from your home.
Silverfish are a nuisance pest, and controlling them can be difficult. Silverfish are highly elusive, and their nests are almost always in very difficult to reach places. Over-the-counter traps, baits, and insecticides will kill individual insects, but are generally ineffective at eliminating an entire colony. Like cockroaches, silverfish mate in pairs and don't have a single egg-laying queen. This means that eliminating an infestation means eliminating all the individuals, as even a single surviving breeding pair over time will reestablish the infestation to its full strength/
Ridding your home entirely of silverfish usually requires professional pest control. Although they are not dangerous, if allowed to proliferate silverfish can do a significant amount of damage to your personal property.