|University of Kentucky Department of Entomology|
Mystery Bug Answers
Mystery Picture #56
You'll think something's "fishy" if you see these scaly, speedy insects running around the dark corners of your home. They come out at night to eat paper, grains, cereals, and dried glue. Fast-running Silverfish are often found inside homes where they live in dark, moist places. Silverfish are sometimes considered pests because they eat fabrics, grains, wallpaper paste, and even the glues that hold books together. They are usually about a half-inch long and can be recognized by their scaly bodies, long antennae, and three tail-like appendages (cerci). Silverfish are also called fish moths in some parts of the country.
Bess beetles are often called "patent-leather beetles" because of their shiny, black bodies. These insects live in large colonies inside rotten trees and logs, where the adults chew up wood and feed it to the worm-like larval beetles. Bess beetles are usually a little over an inch long.
Both adult and larval bess beetles can communicate by making high-pitched noises, which sound like squeaks to humans. Using these sounds, beetles living in a colony together are able to communicate with one another. Adult beetles produce these sounds by rubbing their wings across their abdomens, and larval beetles rub their legs against each other.
This page is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org