Silverfish are cosmopolitan insects that have been widely distributed by commerce. It is thought that they originated in the tropics. They are small insects, up to ¾ inch long and silvery in color. They are covered in scales, which will be hard to see with the naked eye, and they have three appendages protruding from their abdomen. They feed on fungus, sugar and starch products such as flour, glue and paste. They can feed on some synthetic fabrics and cellulose which includes paper, books, photographs and cardboard boxes. They will also feed on dead insects. Silverfish are attracted to moisture so you want to make sure you fix any plumbing leaks as soon as possible. They are frequently found in crawl spaces under a home if it is damp there. You have to make sure no moisture is available for these insects and try to keep items such as paper, books, and food products as far from the floor as possible.
They tend to hide their presence from humans which means any damage they have caused could go unnoticed as well. While silverfish are mainly a nuisance pest, they can contaminate food and damage paper goods such as wallpaper and books. Frequently, homeowners detect silverfish when they find one on the floor or in a sink or bathtub. Their feeding damage also can indicate their presence, along with their tiny pepperlike feces.
Silverfish typically live for two to eight years. They are agile runners and can outrun most of their predators (such as spiders and centipedes). However such running is only possible on horizontal surfaces, as they lack any additional appendages and, therefore, are not fast enough to climb walls at the same speed.