Silverfish are a cosmopolitan species, found throughout North America, Europe, New Zealand, Japan, Asia, and other parts of the Pacific. They inhabit moist areas as they need a high humidity to survive and breed. In urban areas, they can be found in basements, bathrooms, garages, closets, and attics.
They particularly enjoy clothes cupboards, wardrobes, and areas where paper or boxes are stored.
Silverfish consume matter that contains polysaccharides (sugars and starches), so ideal foods are paper, paper binder, and glues. Books, book bindings, paper, and photos will all be happily destroyed by these pests. Also on the menu is sugar, coffee, hair, carpet, clothing and dandruff. They can also cause damage to tapestries. Other substances that may be eaten include cotton, linen, silk and synthetic fibres, and dead insects or even its own moulted exoskeleton.
In the absence of normal foods they have even been known to attack leather and synthetic fabrics.
Silverfish are considered a household pest, due to their consumption and destruction of property. Although they are responsible for the contamination of food and other types of damage, they do not normally transmit disease.
The Life Cycle of Silverfish:
Silverfish can live for a year or more without eating.
The female lays groups of less than fifty eggs at once, deposited in small crevices. Eggs are oval-shaped, whitish, tiny, and take between two weeks and two months to hatch. Silverfish usually lay fewer than one hundred eggs in their lifetime.
When the nymphs hatch, they are whitish in colour, and look like small adults. As they moult, young silverfish develop a greyish appearance and a metallic shine, eventually becoming adults after three months to three years. They may go through seventeen to sixty-six moults in their lifetime, sometimes thirty in a single year, which is much more than usual for an insect. Silverfish are one of the rare species of insect that continue to moult after mating.