Firebrats: How to Get Rid of Them?
If you’ve ever worked in a bakery, you know that firebrat bugs are among the most annoying pests which crop up in the most unlikely of places. Whether by hanging out dangerously close to the flour supply or trying to skim scraps off the floor, firebrats are a significant challenge for a sanitary environment.
In this article, we’ll educate you on the firebrat menace so that you can remove them from your home or workplace for good. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to locate and kill nearby firebrats so that they won’t contaminate your food or bother your cat.
What Are Firebrats?
Firebrats are small cockroach-like thermophile insects that look similar to silverfish, meaning that they are six-legged insects with an unsegmented body and no wings. Firebrats can eat a wide variety of foods, but prefer dried carbohydrates and proteins like flour, cotton, and potatoes.
This means that firebrats are a massive nuisance for anyone who has a lot of these foods lying around in areas that are both hot and humid — like in a bakery. While firebrats may not be able to simply walk inside of a bag of flour and start to chow down, they often chew their way through paper flour bags and begin to consume the bag from the bottom up.
Differentiating between silverfish vs. firebrats is mostly a matter of size; silverfish are very long, whereas firebrats are more condensed. Furthermore, firebrats have dark black bands on the top of their carapace, whereas silverfish typically have lighter brown bands.
Firebrats are nocturnal, but they also have excellent low-light vision, so they can quickly dart around dark crevices in your home no matter the time of day.
Do Firebrats Bite?
While it is physically possible for a firebrat to bite, you probably wouldn’t notice if they did try to bite you because of how weak their jaws are. Firebrats struggle to chew holes in standard printer paper, requiring many minutes of teething before making any dent.
Furthermore, firebrats aren’t aggressive and will try to retreat from threats rather than fight. In other words, you shouldn’t worry about an angry firebrat biting you while you’re clearing them out.
Where Do Firebrats Live?
Firebrats love areas that are extremely hot. In fact, they tend to congregate around areas as hot as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that you are likely to find them near boilers and ovens.
Firebrats also like to be in areas that are very humid and dark. This means that if there’s a hot water pipe that runs near your sink, it’s at high risk for having a firebrat infestation.
How To Get Rid of Firebrats
If you want to get rid of firebrats, you can utilize sticky traps intended for cockroaches or other insects of the same size. The firebrats will be attracted to the scent of the traps, then become stuck and subsequently die.
You can also get rid of firebrats by applying insecticides to the areas where you suspect they are attempting to feed. This is typically undesirable, however, because firebrats love to inhabit areas near human food, mainly when those areas are scorching.
High temperatures will reduce the efficacy of pesticides, and you probably don’t want to get any pesticides on your food. Thus, if you don’t want to use the sticky trap method, you can also use mechanical force to kill firebrats.
Hitting firebrats with anything from a boot to an old book will do the trick to kill them. Firebrats are not very hardy or fast, and their primary defensive ability is to stay out of sight when it is daylight.
You don’t need to worry too much about killing the firebrats you see but accidentally leaving their eggs alive. Firebrats have a relatively slow reproductive lifecycle, with some firebrats requiring in excess of 500 days to mature from nymph to reproduction-ready adult.
How to Prevent Firebrats From Coming Back
If you want to keep firebrats out of your home for good, you’ll need to make a few changes to deny them easy access to food. Place any bags of flour, rice, potatoes, or other vegetables into a hard container or durable plastic sack.
Then, clean up the floor where any traces of these foods have dropped. Firebrats have a powerful sense of smell, so you may find that installing an air purifier is helpful, as well.
Next, double-check and ensure that there are no areas near these food sources where the conditions are both moist and very hot.
Once you’ve made these changes, firebrats won’t have any reason to think that they can find a meal by hanging around your home. Killing any errant firebrats which you do see will probably be enough to keep them from becoming rampant again.
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