Even though Firebrats and Silverfish are similar in appearance, their habitats are a little different. Silverfish prefer damp, moderate temperature places such as basements, laundry rooms, and under sinks. Firebrats, as their name would suggest, survive best in hot, moist areas. They all prefer a dark, moist environment and require an abundant supply of starchy foods or molds. Silverfish and Firebrats are considered to be nuisance pests that can feed on wallpaper pastes, natural textiles, books, and papers. They also feed on mold or fungi that can grow on various surfaces. Firebrats and Silverfish are fast-moving and can travel throughout buildings. Hiding during the day, Firebrats and Silverfish are nocturnal. Once these insects find a good source of food, they stay close to it.
Firebrats have a dull-gray appearance. Adult firebrats are about one-half inch long
Silverfish and firebrats are very similar in appearance. They both wingless, having a fish-like appearance and their flat body, which is tapered at both ends, is covered by overlapping scales.
Habits and Diet
They prefer temperatures around 100 degrees F and are found in boiler rooms and bakeries, around ovens, hot-water heaters and pipes if found inside. Firebrats follow pipelines from the basement to rooms on lower floors, living in bookcases, closet shelves, behind baseboards and behind window or door frames. It is common to find them trapped in bathtubs as they were seeking food or moisture. A relative humidity of 70 percent to 80 percent is favorable to firebrats because they do require some moisture. Firebrats may habitat all year long. Many firebrats live outside and are found under rocks, leaf molds, or bark, in nests of mammals and birds, or in termite and ant nests.
Silverfish and firebrats diets are high in protein, sugar, or starch, including cereals, moist wheat flour, starch in book bindings, and paper on which there is glue or paste. They are hardy and can live without food for many months.They contaminate human foods with their droppings and scales.
Control Measures and Recommendations
Mechanical Means (Non Chemical)
- Sources of any excessive moisture, such as faulty plumbing or condensation that provide the humidity favored by silverfish and firebrats should be eliminated.
Dehumidifying reduces the moisture content of the air that these insects find essential. Some methods for dehumidifying include:
- Mend leaking pipes.
- Ventilate closed rooms and attics.
- Eliminate standing water.
- Use a dehumidifier an air conditioner.
- Regularly vacuuming cracks and crevices with a narrow vacuum tip also can be a good method to physically remove these insects from their harborages.
- Remove food sources, stored in tight containers.
- Seal obvious cracks and crevices to reduce harborage sites.
- Capture firebrats and monitor there movements at night with Trapper Monitor/Insect Traps
Pest Control Chemical Recommendations
Apply residual insectcide around the perimeter of your home along the foundational wall in a 2-3 foot band. Inside, spray around baseboards, cracks and crevices, around windows and doors, plumbing under your sinks.Spray around steam and water pipes. Each of these products are odorless and lasts 2-3 months.
AerosolsApply a residual insecticide aerosol with a crack and crevice tip to let you get behind baseboards and corners, electrical boxes, light fixtures, under siding and any other small opening that a liquid can not easily or safely be applied.
Recommended Aerosol: PT 221L
Dusts and Baits
If you have a more severe problem with silverfish or firebrats, look into stored boxes and the insulation in your attic. It is best to dust or bait these areas. When you use baits or dust, you do want to get it as close as possible to their habitats to be effective. You never want to bait and dust in areas that are visible.
Recommended dusts: D-Fense Dust or Drione Dust. These dust last for 6 months. . Apply it in the attic in the insulation area in particular, under siding, in storage boxes, light fixtures, electrical outlets. Apply it to areas that can be kept dry. A simple way to apply dust, if broadcasting in the insulation area would be the use of a duster called the Dustin Mizer, cranking out a significant amount of dust at a time. You will want one lb. of dust per 800-1000 sq. ft. For smaller dust jobs the Bulb Duster or Bellow Duster would work fine.
Recommended Baits: Another very effective way is the use of baits in the attic or on the outside. Intice 10 Perimeter Bait works very well against silverfish as well as roaches and crickets. It can be sprinkled out in a self contained one lb shaker bottle, in all the areas you believe the silverfish or firebrats are hiding.
Suggested areas to use baits or dusts
- attic insulation
- behind refrigerators and ovens
- light fixtures
- electrical outlets
- under siding