Firebrats are slender, wingless, nocturnal pests that often make their way indoors during dry summer weather. Closely related to silverfish, they're also known as bristletails, fishmoths, tasseltails or fringetails.

Firebrats grow up to 1/2 inch long. Instead of metallic silver, these pests have scales of mottled gray and brown. Their soft bodies have two long antennae on their heads, then taper down to three long tail-like appendages. Immature firebrat nymphs look like adults, only smaller.

Firebrats prefer warmer temperatures than silverfish do. Though drawn to dampness, they tolerate lower humidity and less moisture as well. You'll find them where temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Areas near ovens, furnaces, boilers, fireplaces and hot water heaters are favorite firebrat hangouts.




Firebrats, like silverfish, rarely come out during daytime hours. You may catch them in action when you flip on lights at night or early morning, but most of their dirty work happens in the dark. They scurry across floors toward hiding places when surprised, drawing comparisons to small, quick-moving cockroaches.

Firebrats feed on dry cereals and other foods, but their preferred menu consists of books, wallpaper and other paper products with glue or paste. Like silverfish, firebrats feed by scraping rather than chewing. Damaged books reveal scrape marks, large and irregular holes, excrement and small iridescent scales between pages.


Once firebrats make their way into your home, they can live for several years. Effective control stops these pests while they're still outdoors. Inspect your home foundations and seal any cracks where they might gain entry, then treat your home perimeter. Amdro brand offers several options to stop firebrats outdoors — before they breach your home:

  • Amdro Quick Kill Outdoor Insect Killer, available in ready-to-spray and concentrate formulas, kills firebrats by contact and keeps working for up to three months. Treat lawn, landscape, and your home's foundation up to a height of 3 feet.
  • Amdro Quick Kill Home Perimeter Insect Killer Granules offer an easy-to-use formula ideal for protecting your home's immediate perimeter. The convenient shaker container makes applications simple. The deep-reaching formula penetrates to kill firebrats by contact, even in foundation mulch. Then it keeps protecting for up to three months.
  • Amdro Quick Kill Lawn Insect Killer Granules, designed for use with a regular lawn spreader, is perfect for larger outdoor spaces and full-yard firebrat treatment. Water the treated area lightly after application to release the active ingredient. The granules kill firebrats by contact and keeps on killing for up to three months.


Firebrats seek out warm, damp spaces. Keep plumbing in good repair and use dehumidifiers, if needed, to keep your home less hospitable for these pests.

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.

Is this not your insect?