Silverfish Vs. Firebrats: Learn How To Treat Infestations in Spring, TX
Silverfish crawling on a white wall.

Silverfish Vs. Firebrats: Learn How To Treat Infestations in Spring, TX

If you see a strange, lanky, many-pronged insect in your home this spring, fear not! Catching sight of an occasional invader is common for home and business owners living in Spring, Texas.

As spring arrives, greater rainfall levels and warming temperatures begin to foster all sorts of life. From plants to mammals to bacteria, the world starts to come alive again after winter’s long dormancy. You will start to see many new animals and insects become active, including pest species. One of the most unsettling springtime arrivals includes silverfish and firebrats, a dynamic duo of humidity-loving destruction.

Silverfish and firebrats are classified as occasional invaders by professional entomologists. They prefer to stick to themselves for as long as possible and enjoy living in dark, warm, and damp environments. While you may have heard of silverfish before, you have likely never heard the name ‘firebrat.’ These two insects appear almost the same, with just a few minor deviations (such as size). Let’s take a closer look at both creatures and their unique physiologies:

  • Silverfish were given their names from shiny exteriors and fishlike side-to-side motions. They are sometimes referred to as ‘brown grey’ or ‘blue grey’ insects, up to 19 millimeters in length. Some people describe them as having a ‘carrot’ shape, with large heads and smaller, tapering torsos. Interestingly, silverfish are not known to harbor or spread any form of the disease. Scientists are still completing some testing to confirm this hypothesis. Silverfish are much larger than firebrats, which are harder to spot in organic or wooden environments. Silverfish make humans uneasy with their start-stop motions and fast speeds. The three bristles that extend from their abdomens, called filaments, are their second most distinguishing feature. 

  • Firebrats are greyish brown creatures with dark brown stripes lining their backs and heads. They also have long antennae and are sometimes referred to by the term ‘bristletails.’ Three pointed appendages stretch out from the rear of the firebrat, pointed west, south, and east. Firebrats are no more than three millimeters long from tip to toe. Although some species can be larger, the most common ones in the Texas area are moderately sized. Firebrats prefer to live in slightly warmer habitats than silverfish and prefer to hide from prying eyes whenever possible. 

Both silverfish and firebrats are insects that hail from the hexapod family. Not only do they look similar in form, but they perform similar functions as well. This is why they sometimes appear to infest together and are attracted by the same elements of the home and yard.

All The Things That Could Be Attracting Silverfish And Firebrats To Your Home

Silverfish and firebrats are extremely similar pests that enjoy many of the same household elements. Here is a list of just a few attractant factors for both silverfish and firebrats in a Texan environment:

  • Heavy rainfall and high heat, particularly near the sides of the home 

  • Patches of soil or mulching that tend to stay moist

  • Warm compost beds are frequent hotspots  

  • Leaky roofs and water drainage issues both inside and outside the house

You are more likely to find silverfish living inside the moisture-heavy areas of the home, including kitchens, bathrooms, and pantries. If you own a home where the closet is inside the bathroom, you may be encouraging infestations near clothing as well.

Both species of hexapod prefer to live in areas that are dark, quiet, and undisturbed. They will likely not remain in an environment where constant cleaning takes place or large overhead lights. Like mold, these animals prefer to live in damp soils. Hexapods are more or less considered to be herbivores, feeding primarily on carbohydrates and cellulose items. If there are spots within humid rooms where occasional invaders can hide, they may be even more difficult to spot.

The presence of silverfish and firebrats can be a disturbing thing, especially for homeowners who have not managed this type of pest species before. However, it is important to note that these insects are perfectly harmless and prefer to stay away from humans if at all possible. There is no need to panic if a silverfish or firebrat infestation occurs in the home.

Silverfish And Firebrat FAQ For Texas Homeowners

Homeowners in the Texas area have many questions about the presence of silverfish and firebrats near their property. Check out some of the most frequently asked questions we get about these insects here at Modern Pest Control.

Can Silverfish Bite Me? What About Firebrats?

Contrary to popular belief, neither silverfish nor firebrats have the ability to bite humans. Their fangs are just too small to penetrate human flesh. In addition, these occasional invaders are extremely shy and rarely show themselves to humans. They would much prefer to spend their days alone and in total darkness. If a silverfish or firebrat happens to crawl on your skin, don’t panic. They won’t do much more than tickle. Even if these creatures could bite you, they would not be able to spread diseases or any infection.  

What Do Silverfish And Firebrats Like To Eat? Will They Ruin My Stuff?

As occasional invaders, they enjoy high heat, high humidity, and all the cardboard and paper they can eat. When given a chance, these insects prefer to feed on items both grown and manufactured. Just like people, these pests love eating cereals, grains, and flour items inside our pantries. Some of the most popular items include pasta, flour, bread, and rice. Silverfish and firebrats are eternally searching for delicious cellulose, found in more than just food products. You might even catch a silverfish hunting for food inside magazines and books. Other edible items of note include wallpapers, pictures, carpets, bedding, and even curtains. If left to their own devices, firebrats and silverfish will most certainly ruin the items in your home.

How Did Occasional Invaders Get Inside My Home?

Occasional invaders like silverfish and firebrats most likely came from the wilderness surrounding your home. Piles of wood chips, leaves, mulching, and moist soil can become a huge breeding ground for hexapods and other moisture-loving creatures. They could have been transported inside from a flowerpot, muddy boots, garden tools, or clothing. It is not your fault that these insects have found a way into your home, as we will soon discuss.  

Does Having A Silverfish Or Firebrat Problem Mean That There’s Something Wrong With My House?

Just because occasional invaders have found a way into your house does not mean there is something wrong with your home or housekeeping abilities. While it could be pointing to some attractant factors that should be addressed, it does not mean that your home is dirty, unkempt, or messy. Silverfish and firebrats do not distinguish between dirty and clean homes. All they want to do is eat! Keeping them from ever getting a foothold in the home is a great first step toward prevention.

How To Prevent Silverfish And Firebrat Infestations With Prevention Steps

It is a relief to many homeowners that neither silverfish nor firebrats are hazardous creatures. However, these insects are still extremely destructive in the home and are complicated to prevent during certain times of the year.

Although prevention is not always enough to stop a full-blown infestation, there are steps you can take today to eliminate or reduce your risks for a silverfish or firebrat problem. Check out these helpful prevention tips for home and business owners all over the state:

  1. The first step for reducing serious silverfish and firebrat infestations is controlling moisture. Chronic moisture could spread from both internal and external sources. If the amount of water in your home is high enough, it could be attracting large numbers of hexapods. Start by checking for any clogged drains or leaky pipes in the house. Clogged pipes are easily repaired with Drain-O, over-the-counter chemicals, and manual removal methods. In contrast, pipe leakage may require professional repairs or caulking.  

  2. If humidity is an ongoing issue for you and your household, consider using a dehumidifier in chronically moist places. Smaller humidity solutions, including desiccant bags, are also available in most local retail stores. 

  3. Do your part to clean and disinfect any items that come into contact with outdoor soil. Soil pockets could carry silverfish, firebrats, and any eggs indoors. Wash your gardening boots with warm and soapy water. Run all clothing through the washing machine in a warm setting. Finally, vacuum, mop, and sweep your floors to reduce unwanted crumbs and dirt deposits. 

  4. Closed-off rooms are frequently attacked by silverfish and firebrats due to a lack of ventilation. It may be a good idea to open your windows during moderate days to release stagnant air or humidity. You may also want to run an indoor fan or AC unit to push or circulate air. 

  5. Like other Texas pests, the proper storage of food is essential for keeping silverfish and firebrats away. Keep all flour-based foods and ingredients stored in strong containers. Plastic and glass are some of the best forms of containers for pest control purposes. If you still aren't sure that your efforts are enough, consider performing a full deep cleaning of the kitchen.

It's no secret that both moisture and humidity are two of the most concerning factors of silverfish and firebrat infestations. Finding ways to manage or mitigate the effects of stagnant water will boost your security against pests of all kinds. 

Although the above steps are beneficial for homeowners looking for new solutions, they are not the end. In fact, even perfectly applied prevention steps will not be enough to mitigate all infestations. This is why reliance on a professional pest control company is paramount to year-round pest security.

Reasons Why Modern Pest Control Is The Best Cure For Silverfish And Firebrat Problems

Home and business owners all over Texas choose to trust the silverfish experts at Modern Pest Control. Since our founding in the 1950s, we have built our business model on integrity, service, and quality control. We never set out to be one of the biggest pest control companies in the Texas business, just the best one. Our incredible team of trained operatives has continued to prove that hard work and professional skills can eliminate even the most frustrating pest infestations, including silverfish.

All home and business owners in our service area have access to actionable silverfish protections through their seasonal pest control plans. Once our technicians have a chance to survey your property and its infestation concerns, they will be able to provide you with a quick and accurate treatment quote. Your silverfish or firebrat treatment may consist of one or more of these elements:

  • We will apply holistic techniques to ensure silverfish and firebrats get and stay out of the house. This involves using Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a unique program that separates man-made pest control measures from cultural and organic controls. We will provide you with a checklist of helpful pest prevention measures and best practices for controlling pest outbreaks in the future. 

  • The treatment of silverfish can take on many forms. Our crew will look for ways to develop and moderate a treatment program that considers your needs. 

  • The Modern Pest Control pest-free guarantee is applied directly after our final silverfish treatment. In other words: if pests come back, so do we! 

Modern Pest Control is one of the leading authorities on silverfish treatment, management, and mitigation. If you think or know that these insects are present in the home, it will be time to look for the treatment measures that matter. No matter what, Modern Pest Control has your back!

Call today to schedule an initial silverfish or firebrat inspection of the home or business. No matter what you might be facing, know that our team can help!

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