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Ask the Orkin Man

What bug has a small gray body and three antennas?

Question: Recently, I have had a small problem with a weird-looking insect that I have never seen before. It’s real small and seems to congregate under wood such as plywood.

It has a slender gray body that is broader at the head and tapers down towards the end; it also has three antennas.

Would you be able to tell me what this bug is? I thought it was some sort of termite, but all the images of termites I have seen do not resemble this thing. Your assistance is highly appreciated.

ANSWER  From your description, I think it may be silverfish or a closely related species. With a specimen the identification would be conclusive.

The silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) is often found around the home. They have probably found a food source under the plywood. Silverfish also like moist areas. Their preferred diet is sugars and starches, so they can damage books and documents.

Contact your local Orkin branch, and a qualified Orkin Pest Specialist will be happy to conduct a thorough inspection of your home, making recommendations on ways to reduce their food sources and moisture, and develop a customized treatment strategy to rid your home of these insects.

Related Questions:

The Orkin Man used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by Orkin.com users:

Question: I have seen really slender, flattened body, grayish bug in the bathrooms. They move really quickly to hide under the sideboard. I looked up the silverfish, and it looks like the silverfish but this bug did not have any back or front antennas.

ANSWER :Well, maybe you didn’t see the antennae … but I’m fairly certain these were silverfish.

Question: I have this flat grayish bug that I keep finding in my bedroom. It is very fast, and it has two antennae. I’m trying to find out what it is, and if its harmful because I have a new baby.

Answer: Silverfish don’t carry any disease organisms, and they don’t bite.

photo of a silverfish
Silverfish

large illustration of silverfish
Silverfish illustration

For additional information on Silverfish click here.

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