Currently viewing the category: "Silverfish, Bristletails and Firebrats"
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Bug in my house – Please help
Dear Bugman,
I am so glad that there is a site such as yours. I don’t’ know what I would do if I didn’t find your site. I have a critter in my house that just baffles me. I don’t know what it is and I have gone through the books in the library and I just can’t find out what it is that is living with me. It’s about an inch long from head to tail. It has antenna on its head and the tail is like a tail of a fish or mermaid with another set of antennas. It swings form side to side. At the bottom, it seems to have multiple legs like a caterpillar? I’m really not that sure, it just seems to slide on the floor. Anyway, I find it on the walls, in my drawers in the kitchen, bedroom, bath, on my bed… I can catch it pretty easily, it doesn’t move too quickly, BUT it does have the capability to slide right into the WALLS. When I kill it by smudging it, it just seems to just flakes into pieces. I don’t see it all the time; I see one maybe every other day in a new location. Would you PLEASE offer any information to see how I can terminate it?

Dear S.,
You have Silverfish, a common household pest that is difficult to erradicate. They are very primitive insects. They will eat most anything, including the glue from book binding or wallpaper. We have gotten a report that Cloves when spread around helps to eliminate them.

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I love your web site!
We recently moved into a new house in the Phoenix, AZ area and we are seeing a lot of small (1/4 to 1/2 inch) bugs in the house that look a little bit like the silverfish that I used to see back in Virginia. They are very fast runners and they like to sit high up on the walls – particularly in the corners. They are beige with 3-4 brown stripes running from side to side and they have long thin antennae and what looks like antennae off the rear of the bug as well. They are extremely soft-bodied and, when threatened, their first response is to try to crawl deeper into the corner rather than simply run.
My camera will not let me zoom in close enough to get a decent photo, so I hope my description is adequate.
Peoria, AZ

Ed. Note: Several hours later, Bob sent this email.
After reading more about silverfish and firebrats, I suspect that these are the latter. Oddly enough, we don’t find them in the damp areas of the home as much as in the dry. We do not find them in sinks or drains or in greater quantities in the bathrooms or kitchen. Right now, I can find 2 or 3 of them in the living room and each bedroom, parked at the ceilings. The house stays pretty dry (<30% humidity most of the time) and there are no signs of moisture anywhere. They do not seem to be more active at night and they do not seem to hide during the day. The body is less carrot shaped than indicated in the drawings and photos I’ve seen on the web, with a slightly more rounded rear. My wife calls them “trilobites” because of their prehistoric appearance.

Hi Bob,
I am inclined to agree that you probably have Firebrats. They are very primitive insects and your wife likening them to trilobytes is interesting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination


Dear Silverchicken,
I think your sister was pulling your leg. Earwigs, on the other hand, have a reputation for seeking
refuge in ears, hence their name. Earwigs will not burrow or do any permanent damage, they are just
seeking shelter. No need to fear silverfish or earwigs.

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Hello I live in England and I was hoping you could help me work out what the bugs I have in my lavatory are .They are small brown ,worm like and they move by slithering along the floor they remind me of silverfish the way they move but are the wrong colour.
Angela Thompson

Hi Angela,
Firebrats are close relatives of Silverfish and are brownish in color. They prefer warm areas, and might be attracted to the heat in your bathroom. They are similar in habits to the silverfish, and are also household pests that feed on starchy substances like book bindings, starched clothing and wall paper paste.

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I have a note from some household tips mag that silverfish don’t like clove.
“If you are troubled with silverfish try placing whole cloves in the closets and drawers.”
dunno, but it’s worth a try
I only have a couple in the bathroom and haven’t found where they live.

Wow, we love natural tips for pest control. We will post this one immediately.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination