Pest Of The Week – Firebrat

The common firebrat, Thermobia domestica, is shiny, a mottled grey or brown, and about 1/2 inch long. Adults are slender, wingless, soft-bodied insects with 2 long, slender antennae. Their bodies taper gradually from front to rear to 3 long, thin, tail like appendages.

Behaviour & Habitat
Firebrats are rarely found outdoors, but rather prefer moist, hot places such as boiler rooms and around ovens, hot-water heaters and pipes. Firebrats may also be found near food sources including book shelves, behind baseboards and wallpaper, and around window and door frames.

Firebrats will eat almost anything, including wallpaper paste, flour, starch, dried beef, gum, paper, glue, rayon, sugar, cotton, linen, silk, breakfast cereals, and mould.

Life Cycle
Adult female firebrats begin laying eggs in cracks and crevices at about 1½ to 4½ months of age, under conditions of 32°C to 41°C. Female firebrats can lay 50 eggs per batch and nymphs hatch after an incubation period of about two weeks. Newly hatched nymphs are about 1/16 of an inch long, plump, white and have no scales. The life cycle from egg to adult takes about 2 to 4 months. Firebrats usually live about 2 years.

Firebrats are pests mostly because of their diet. While firebrats will not physically harm humans or animals, they will damage wallpaper, book bindings, paper goods and some dry food. Firebrats may also eat small holes in fabrics including linen, cotton, and silk.

Practice good sanitation to help prevent further firebrat population growth
Use of an insecticidal spray treatment will help control firebrats
Remove old papers, books, boxes, and clothes from storage areas. This will aid in the control process by removing food sources and hiding places.
Try to eliminate excess moisture. This can be accomplished by fixing leaky pipes, ventilating attics and other closed rooms, eliminating standing water, and using a dehumidifier.

If you suspect you have a firebrat infestation in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee or Perth, call GRAHAM pest control today and we could help.