University of Maryland Extension

Silverfish and Firebrats

silverfish close up

Silverfish and firebrats are tapered at both ends, about 1/2 long, gray to brownish, have long antennae and 3 long, thin tails. Silverfish prefer damp, cool places such as basements and under sinks. Firebrats prefer warm, moist places. They will eat carbohydrates and proteins including dried meats, flour, starch and stored products. They may also damage paper products. They may attack fabrics such as linen, silk, rayon, and cotton. Their damage can be recognized by the presence of feces, scales, irregular feeding marks on individual fibers and in the case of linens, yellow stains.


To control silverfish and firebrats clean up any outdoor hiding places such as lumber piles and debris. Sources of dampness, such as leaky plumbing, or condensation should be eliminated. Kitchens and pantry areas should be thoroughly cleaned and food stored in containers with tight fitting lids.

firebrat close up
Photo: Firebrat

Additional Resource

Publication: (PDF) HG 5 Silverfish and Firebrats

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