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Elimination

Use Maheu&Maheu Insecticide Dust around heating systems to avoid the fire risk posed by liquid insecticide. Insecticide dust should also be sprayed onto pipes, under the bath (sometimes there is a trap door that provides access through an adjacent closet), and near the hot water heater, as well as in other more hard-to-get-at places. Also remove electrical outlet and switch covers and sprinkle dust inside the walls. Another good idea is to spray Maheu&Maheu Crawling Insect Killer around room perimeters and up vertical surfaces where dust will not adhere. When these pests are found in apartment buildings, it is best to treat the whole building because they can spread from one apartment to another along electrical wiring, pipes, etc.

Actions

  • Reduce indoor humidity levels
  • Spray or treat the perimeters of rooms and around pipe outlets with an insecticide

Prevention

  • Keep humidity as low as possible

Description and development

Firebrats (Thermobia domestica Packard ) and Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina L. ) are wingless insects with scaly bodies; two long, thin antennae on their heads; and three long, rigid filaments at the tip of their abdomens. Adults are about 12.5 mm in length. Silverfish have a uniform coloring whereas Firebrats are grayish in color with darker spots. The females of these two species lay 10 to 100 eggs over their lifespan, starting at three months of age. They seek out cracks and crevices, but sometimes lay them right in the open. Nymphs hatch 20 to 40 days later already resembling their parents, but much smaller. Both species can live up to four years.

Habits

Both species are found in warm, concealed spaces inside buildings. Silverfish can be anywhere in the house whereas Firebrats mainly stay in heating systems near electrical baseboards and heat vents. Relatively high humidity levels will spur the development of these pests, which can survive up to 300 days without food. Silverfish and Firebrats prefer to feed off vegetable matter, particularly substances containing flour and starch. They can damage glossy paper, wallpaper, book bindings, synthetic materials, as well as cotton, heavy fabric, and rayon. They also eat the glue used in lumber mills, and can even digest cellulose. They are sometimes found on construction sites, because they get into pressboard at the time of shipping.

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