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Name That Bug

By Wyatt Earp | November 16, 2007

Well gang, it’s time for another fact-filled edition of Name That Bug. This week’s pest is the ever-popular Lepisma saccharina (commonly called the fishmoth, urban silverfish or just the silverfish). It belongs to the basal insect order Thysanura, and the species is estimated to have existed for over 300 million years, originating in the Palaeozoic Era.

The favorite food of silverfish is any matter that contains starch or polysaccharides, such as dextrin in adhesives. These include glue, book bindings, paper, photos, sugar, hair, and dandruff. Silverfish can also cause damage to books, tapestries, and textiles. Silverfish will commonly graze in and around showers, baths, and sinks on the cellulose present in many shampoos, shaving foams and so on. Apart from these cases, the damage caused by silverfish is negligible and they have no direct effect on human health beyond psychological distress to those who are frightened or disgusted by their appearance.

Strangely enough, this is something I have in common with the silverfish. So, how do we eliminate them?

In buildings, silverfish can only exist in sufficiently humid, crevice-rich environments. If these two conditions are removed, the silverfish will not be able to survive. By far the most effective way to be rid of silverfish for sure is to keep an area or room tidy, limiting the possible number of breeding grounds they have. (H/TWikipedia)

They only exist in humid, crevice-rich environments? They must overrun the face of Edward James Olmos! Heh.

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