Name that bug
July 9, 2014 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Please help me identify this bug: black, 1 cm long, head maybe 2 mm wide tapering down to a very thin tail, antenna-less, no visible legs (appears to slither), moves quickly (and therefore tough to kill), found almost exclusively in the bathroom.

It is the bug described in these threads. But none of the suggested answers are correct.

I am in Toronto and have seen this bug during all four seasons, but more frequently in the winter. I only see them at night. They seem to prefer the darkness. I usually see only one at a time, two max. They mostly move in semi-circles or S-shapes. They prefer tile to carpet. They've never strayed more than 5 feet from the bathroom.

If someone identifies them, I would also appreciate advice on how to get rid of them. Thanks!
posted by rebooter to Science & Nature (5 answers total)
I'd be surprised if it wasn't some form of silverfish, although it seems you've ruled that out. I doubt you'll get a good answer without a clear photo of said creature.
posted by pipeski at 9:39 AM on July 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, I was so excited for a Name that Bug post, but without pictures, it's simply impossible to identify it. It really does sound like some kind of Thysanuran/silverfish. I get that pictures are hard because they move so fast, but if you want this identified, then next time you see one try and get one caught under a transparent glass or something and take a picture. Keep a transparent glass or cup in the bathroom you see them in for expressly this purpose.

But nothing else really moves like that besides silverfish -- and remember, when they move so fast, you're not likely to see their antennae, which are in silverfish really really thin and easy to miss if you're not right up on them.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 10:01 AM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was thinking silverfish too. Boric acid is cheap, effective and easy to come by. I'm on my phone so can't link but if you Google it you will come up with tons of directions. It seems to be effective on more than one type of bug so worth a try even if you can't identify your particular critter.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:23 PM on July 9, 2014

Response by poster: Well, crap. Silverfish looks likely. As an entomophobe this was quite the undertaking but here for your viewing pleasure. Sorry, no macro. It's the grey thing in the lower right-hand quadrant of the pic.
posted by rebooter at 10:48 PM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, yeah, totally a silverfish. Good job getting a picture!! They're very harmless, really, they just move in disconcerting ways and possibly chew up book binding and carpets and stuff. But they won't cause any major problems in your home. I mean, probably the worst effect would be them serving as food for things like centipedes and spiders. And like BoscosMom said, putting a bit of boric acid down around the edges of the walls where you find them will help immensely. Also see if you can't find a leak or some other water source around there; they like the wet, and the warmth. Good luck!
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 9:49 AM on July 10, 2014

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