How To Get Rid Of Firebrats

If you have an active firebrat infestation, follow these guidelines to learn how to get rid of firebrats, and the best products for treatment.

Even though Firebrats and Silverfish are similar in appearance, their habitats are a little different. Silverfish prefer damp, moderate temperature places such as basements, laundry rooms, and under sinks. Firebrats, as their name would suggest, survive best in hot, moist areas.

They all prefer a dark, moist environment and require an abundant supply of starchy foods or molds.

Silverfish and Firebrats are considered nuisance pests that can feed on wallpaper pastes, natural textiles, books, and papers. They also feed on mold or fungi that can grow on various surfaces.

Firebrats and Silverfish are fast-moving and can travel throughout buildings. Hiding during the day, Firebrats and Silverfish are nocturnal.

Once these insects find a good source of food, they stay close to it. Silverfish and firebrats diets are high in protein, sugar, or starch, including cereals, moist wheat flour, the starch in book bindings, and paper on glue or paste. They are hardy and can live without food for many months. They contaminate human foods with their droppings and scales.

Firebrat Size
Firebrat Size

Identify Firebrats

Silverfish and firebrats
Silverfish and firebrats

Silverfish and firebrats are very similar in appearance. They both wingless, having a fish-like appearance, and their flat body, which is tapered at both ends, is covered by overlapping scales.

  • Firebrats have a dull-gray appearance.
  • Adult firebrats are about one-half inch long.
  • They have hair-like appendages that extend from their last segment. They are commonly called "bristletails" for this reason.

Firebrat Inspection

Firebrats prefer temperatures around 100 degrees F and are found in boiler rooms and bakeries, around ovens, hot-water heaters, and pipes if found inside.

  • They follow pipelines from the basement to rooms on lower floors, living in bookcases, closet shelves, behind baseboards, and behind window or door frames.
  • It is common to find them trapped in bathtubs as they were seeking food or moisture.
  • Relative humidity of 70 percent to 80 percent is favorable to firebrats because they do require some moisture.
  • Firebrats may habitat all year long.
  • Firebrats live outside and are found under rocks, leaf molds, or bark, nests of mammals and birds, or termites and ant nests.

Firebrat Control Measures and Recommendations

Mechanical Means (Non Chemical)

Sources of excessive moisture, such as faulty plumbing or condensation that provide the humidity favored by silverfish and firebrats, should be eliminated.

Dehumidifying reduces the moisture content of the air that these insects find essential.

Some methods for dehumidifying include:

  • Mend leaking pipes.
  • Ventilate closed rooms and attics.
  • Eliminate standing water.
  • Use a dehumidifier and air conditioner.

Regularly vacuuming cracks and crevices with a narrow vacuum tip can also be an excellent method to physically remove these insects from their harborages. Remove food sources, stored in tight containers. Seal obvious cracks and crevices to reduce harborage sites. Capture firebrats and monitor their movements at night with Trapper Monitor/Insect Traps

Pest Control Chemical Recommendations

Apply residual insecticide around the perimeter of your home along the foundational wall in a 2-3 foot band.

Inside, spray around baseboards, cracks, and crevices, around windows and doors, plumbing under your sinks.

Spray around steam and water pipes

Apply residual insecticide around the perimeter of your home along the foundational wall in a 2-3 foot band.

Inside, spray around baseboards, cracks, and crevices, around windows and doors, plumbing under your sinks.

Spray around steam and water pipes

Apply a residual insecticide aerosol with crack and crevice tips. The crack and crevice tips you to get behind baseboards and corners, electrical boxes, light fixtures, under siding, and any other small opening that a liquid can not easily or safely be applied. Recommended Aerosol: PT 221L.

Recommended Insecticide Dusts: D-Fense Dust or Drione Dust.

  • These dusts last for six months.
  • Apply it in the attic in the insulation area, particularly under siding, in storage boxes, light fixtures, and electrical outlets. Apply it to areas that can be kept dry.
  • A simple way to apply dust, if broadcasting in the insulation area, would be using a duster called the Dustin Mizer, cranking out a significant amount of dust at a time. You will want one lb. of dust per 800-1000 sq. ft. For smaller dust jobs, the Bulb Duster or  Bellow Duster would work fine.

Recommended Baits: Another very effective way is to use baits in the attic or on the outside.

  •  Intice 10 Perimeter Bait works very well against silverfish as well as roaches and crickets.
  • It can be sprinkled out in a self-contained one lb shaker bottle in all the areas you believe the silverfish or firebrats are hiding.
  • Suggested areas to use baits or dusts attic insulation behind refrigerators and ovens boxes light fixtures electrical outlets under siding

Top Firebrat Control Products

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.