Silverfish and Firebrats

Lepisma spp.; Ctenolepisma spp.; Thermobia spp.

Fact Sheet: English, Spanish.


Adult silverfish (Clemson University,


Adult firebrat (Clemson University,


Silverfish damage (Clemson University,


  • 1/2 - 3/4 inch long and have scales
  • slender, wingless soft-bodied insects
  • fire brats are brown or gray, and silverfish are shiny silver or pearl gray
  • long antennae
  • three long filaments off the back end
  • very common in pest monitors

Nesting Habits

  • females lay eggs in crevices, on cloth or buried in food or dust, usually around moist (moisture not always necessary), warm areas or paper products
  • very common around vending machines, art rooms, libraries, or anywhere there is moisture, heat, and paper
  • present in most buildings


  • paper, fabrics, and similar materials
  • glue or pastes in paper/books
  • dead insects


  • scrape surface of paper

IPM Recommendations

  • Complete control is difficult.
  • Reduce moisture by fixing leaky plumbing.
  • Remove or store potential food sources in sealed containers.
  • Vacuum regularly under vending machines and in cracks and crevices around vending machines, book shelving, etc.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices in the above-mentioned areas.

Additional Resources:

IPM for Silverfish, Firebrats, and Booklice: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)