Pest Guides

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Lepisma saccharina

Silverfish are nocturnal, elongate, and flattened insects typically between 0.5 and 1.0 inches (12–25 mm) in length. Their abdomen tapers at the end, giving them a fish-like appearance. They are born whitish, but develop a grayish hue and metallic shine as they get older. They have three long cerci at the tips of their abdomens, one parallel to their body, one facing left, and one facing right. They also have two small compound eyes, despite other members of Thysanura being completely eyeless, such as the family Nicoletiidae.

Silverfish consume matter that contains polysaccharides, such as starches and dextrin in adhesives. These include glue, book bindings, paper, photos, sugar, coffee, hair, carpet, clothing and dandruff. Silverfish can also cause damage to tapestries.

Silverfish are considered a household pest, due to their consumption and destruction of property. While responsible for the contamination of food and other types of damage, they do not transmit disease.



•  12mm long. Torpedo shaped with 3 long bristles at end of abdomen.

•  Wingless with long antennae.

•  Silverfish — Silver–grey colour.


•  Eggs laid in crevices.

•  Adults live for 1–3 years.


•  Run quickly.

•  Silverfish favour moist, warm conditions.

•  Feed on food debris, starches and gums and are active at night.

•  Minor pests of kitchens, libraries and commercial premises.