The grey silverfish, also known as the long-tailed silverfish or paper silverfish (scientific name: Ctenolepisma longicaudatum), is a small, slender insect that is commonly found in homes and other human-made structures. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions, but they have adapted to cooler climates and are now found worldwide. Grey silverfish are similar in appearance to common silverfish (Lepisma saccharina), but they are slightly larger and have longer antennae and tails. They are also more tolerant of lower humidity levels, which means that they can be found in a wider variety of habitats than common silverfish.

Grey silverfish are scavengers and feed on a variety of organic matter, including paper, cardboard, glue, sugar, and starches. They are also known to eat dead insects and their cast skins. Grey silverfish are not known to transmit diseases to humans, but they can be a nuisance in homes, as they can damage books, wallpaper, and other materials.

Here are some of the key characteristics of grey silverfish:

  • Size: Adults are typically about 15-25 mm (0.6-1.0 in) long.
  • Color: They are a silvery-gray color with a slightly mottled appearance.
  • Body: Their bodies are slender and covered in scales.
  • Antennae: Their antennae are long and thread-like.
  • Tails: They have three long, whip-like tails at the end of their bodies.

Grey silverfish are nocturnal and are most active at night. They are also very sensitive to light and will quickly disappear if they are disturbed. Grey silverfish can live for several years, and females can lay up to 100 eggs per year.

Here are some of the signs that you may have a grey silverfish infestation:

  • Small holes in paper or cardboard: Grey silverfish will chew on paper and cardboard to feed on the glue and starch.
  • Silverfish droppings: Grey silverfish droppings are small, dark pellets that resemble pepper.
  • Silverfish cast skins: Grey silverfish will molt several times throughout their lives, and they will leave behind their cast skins.
  • Live silverfish: If you see a live silverfish scurrying around, it is a sure sign that you have an infestation.

If you suspect that you have a grey silverfish infestation, there are a number of things you can do to control the problem:

  • Reduce humidity: Grey silverfish thrive in humid environments, so reducing the humidity in your home can help to control them. This can be done by using a dehumidifier or by improving ventilation.
  • Seal up cracks and crevices: Grey silverfish can enter your home through cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and around windows and doors. Seal up these openings to prevent them from getting inside.
  • Remove food sources: Grey silverfish are attracted to a variety of food sources, so eliminating these sources can help to control them. This includes storing food in airtight containers and regularly cleaning your home.
  • Hire a professional pest control company: If you have a severe grey silverfish infestation, you may need to hire a professional pest control company to treat your home.

By following these tips, you can help to control grey silverfish in your home and prevent them from causing damage to your belongings.

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