Keeping Parishioners Safe

« Back to Home

Firebrats: What Should You Know About This Strange Pest?

Posted on

If you notice strange insects during the night that resemble silverfish in speed, appearance, and size, you may think you have a new species of silverfish in your home. The insects you're seeing are firebrats. Here's your guide to firebrats, how they invade your home, and what you can do to keep them out.

What Are Firebrats?

Firebrats and silverfish both belong in the bristletail family, which describes insects with appendages that look similar to three thin tails. But unlike silverfish, which have silver-colored scales, firebrats have brown scales that look similar to tufts of hair. The pests can move quickly when disturbed or chased. Because firebrats have flat bodies, they can easily slide under flat or thin crevices.

You generally find the insects in humid and warm locations, such as near your clothes dryer or beneath your stove. Some insects can hide below bathroom sinks or inside bathtubs. The pests can even lurk near furnaces in the cold season or under roofing shingles in the warm season. 

Firebrats tend to eat things made of starch, sugar, and protein, including books, dry cereal, glue, and vegetables. The pests also consume dead bugs and items made of beef or beef extract. If you have any of these items in your home, you'll probably find firebrats in the vicinity.

Large infestations of firebrats can cause holes and other physical damage in the things they eat. The bristletails also contaminate your items with dark spots of feces, which you can spot if you look carefully. 

Once firebrats enter your home, they may be hard to get out. In this case, you need to ask for help.

How Do You Get Firebrats Out of Your Home?

One of the best ways to eliminate your bristletail problem is to contact a professional pest control company for assistance. Pest control contractors will use a variety of techniques to make your home insect-free again, including placing safe and effective insecticide around the outside of your home. The chemicals contain ingredients that kill firebrats over time. Some chemicals "dry out" the skins of firebrats. Without moisture, the pests die. 

Contractors may also place treatments inside the cavities of your walls, along the crevices of your floorboards, and in several other locations to control or eliminate the pests in your house. If necessary, pest control may place treatments in your attic, basement, and laundry room. These drastic measures are often used for severe infestations. 

Once your home is free of pests, you can take additional steps to keep them out. Since firebrats need moisture to stay healthy, try to remove anything on your property or inside your home that contains standing water. This includes indoor and outdoor flower pots and planters, as well as old tires and buckets.

If possible, use a dehumidification system to control the moisture levels in your house. You can use a whole-house system or simply place dehumidifiers in the most humid areas of your house, such as your basement or laundry room. If you don't know where to place the equipment, consult your pest control professional. 

Finally, store your food in plastic or glass containers to keep firebrats away from your sugars, starches, proteins, and other treats. Place food made with beef in cold storage or in sealed containers. Be sure to monitor your cabinets, pantry, and other perishable food storage areas regularly for pests. 

You should also inspect your books, magazines, and other paper items regularly for damage and feces. If you locate any signs of firebrats in these places or elsewhere in your house, contact your local pest control contractors for services.

To obtain more information about firebrats and pest control, check out websites like