Silverfish or firebrat
Lepisma saccharina (L.) and Thermobia domestica (Packard)


Secondary pest; Scavenger
Order: Thysanura
Family: Lepismatidae
Acronym: none


  • Both range in size from 3 to 30 mm depending on life stage.
  • Both have 2 long threadlike antennae and 3 “tails.”
  • Silverfish tend to be brownish in coloration and covered with scales.
  • Firebrats are greyer, but are also covered with scales.

Similar species

  • None

Commodities affected

  • Starchy substances, books, bindings, starched clothing, linens, starchy foods, vegetables
  • Pet food, proteinaceous materials, flour

Signs of infestation

  • No distinct damage is caused by these pests.


  • Damage is not distinguishable as caused by these insects.
  • They are generalist feeders.

How to control

Where found

  • Silverfish are occasionally found in storage situations that are cool and damp.
  • Firebrats are sometimes found in warm areas near furnaces, boilers and steam pipes.
  • Both are found in elevators, mills, households, warehouses, processing facilities.

Life history

  • Females may lay up to 200 eggs in a lifetime.
  • Females lay eggs in cracks and crevices on virtually any substrate.


Select an image to view a larger version.