The silverfish (L. saccharina) female lays about 1-3 eggs per day, placing them in cracks, under objects, or left exposed. Egg hatch requires 72-90°F (22-32°C) and at least 50-75% relative humidity. Developmental time (egg to adult) is 3-4 months under favorable conditions, but may require up to 2-3 years otherwise. The majority live about 3 years. The most favorable conditions are 72-80°F (22-27°C) and 75-97% RH. The fourlined silverfish (C. lineata) produces the enzyme cellulase in its midgut and can therefore digest cellulose.
The gray silverfish (C. longicaudata) female lays her eggs in batches of 2-20, placing them in cracks. The first instar lacks setae (hairs) and scales, scales appear in the 4th instar, and genitalia in the 14th instar. Sexual maturity is reached in 2-3 years and it may molt 3-5 times per year for another 5 years. Cellulose-digesting bacteria and enzymes are found in its midgut.
They can be found almost anywhere in a house including living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, attics, basements, garages, and shake roofs. Silverfish infest commercial structures such as offices, stores, and libraries.
Silverfish can survive for weeks without food or water.
Silverfish are often introduced into buildings via cardboard cartons of books and papers from an infested location. They are pests of paper, particularly of glazed paper and paper with sizing, wallpaper and wallpaper paste, book bindings, gummed labels and envelopes, etc. Silverfish eat proteins such as dried beef and dead or injured of their kind.