How to Get Rid of Firebrats in Your Apartment – Naturally

how to get rid of firebrats

The firebrat is a small insect that is distinguished by its three slender, hair-like tails that extend from the back of its body.

It also has a long pair of antennae at the front. Sometimes called bristletails, the firebrat is carrot-shaped, grayish-brown, and has dark spots along its back.

And while they cannot fly, they can move around surprisingly quickly given its long tails and antennae.

The firebrat is most commonly found in hot and humid areas, particularly those that are dark.

They mostly consume molds or starchy foods which means that they can often be found in the kitchen of many homes.

But the question is are firebrats a threat to you, your family, and pets?

How Serious are Firebrats?

The presence of a firebrat can make you feel uneasy.

Their fast movement combined with stopping and starting suddenly can startle even the bravest of souls.

The firebrat itself does not bite nor does it spread disease.

However, it will contaminate food sources such as flour, cereals, and other food that contains proteins and sugars.

Paper is a favorite food source as well, which means that firebrats are a threat to books, newspapers, and any item made of paper.

But if you see a firebrat, identifying its food source may be problematic since they often move considerable distances during the day.

However, you can bet that if you see one inside your home, the kitchen and any room with paper in it are prime food sources for the firebrat.

Why Do You Have a Firebrat Infestation?

The reason why you have an infestation of firebrats varies depending on the environment.

Firebrats prefer hot, humid areas with temperatures that soar above 100 degrees F.

This makes bakeries, boiler rooms, hot water heaters, and pipes prime locations for the firebrat to call home.

The pipes in your home are a highway system for the firebrat to scurry about to their food sources.

You will often find firebrat nests near water heaters, inside walls, behind baseboards, and even in bookcases.

But a typical firebrat will be attracted to the heat and moisture found near your bathtub.

Many firebrats will drown when seeking out such humid and hot areas.

Outdoors, firebrats tend to nest under bark, leaf molds, or rocks. You can even find them in the nest of birds or mammals.

If they decide to enter your home, it is often through one of three ways.

  • Roof with a crack or hole
  • Sinks with cracks or openings
  • Showerheads that are broken or damaged

The more clutter inside your home, the more likely firebrats may be present.

Inside the cardboard boxes and shipping containers, you may find nests of firebrats present.

In fact, one of the most common ways that a firebrat will find its way inside a home is within a container of books, paper, or furniture as it is being moved inside.

But unless you see a firebrat or more likely several firebrats, just how do you know if they have made your apartment their home? 

What are the Signs of Firebrat Bugs Damage?

Firebrats are generally too careful to be seen in broad daylight.

For the most part, you may not see them at all unless you enter a dark room and turn on the light.

If they are distant, then their unique scurrying manner which consists of sudden starts and stops is a giveaway that they are firebrats.

Few other signs which tell you about the presence of these insects include:

a) Small, Chewed Holes:

The most common sign of firebrats are the damage they cause.

Most notably, the holes that are chewed into books, papers, and starchy foods.

Even book bindings and linen are subject to firebrats.

If you see small holes in such items, especially when they go straight through, then you probably have a firebrat infestation.

b) Fecal Matter:

The waste product of firebrats may collect in the sink or tub as they crawl around looking for some water to drink.

However, if they find their way inside the tub, then getting out is problematic for them.

So, if you see their fecal matter but no firebrat it probably died inside the drainage pipe.

Of course, you may also find their small, pepper-like fecal matter on shelves, books, and other items near where they feed.

c) Molted Skin:

A typical firebrat will live up to four years. That will molt quite often during their lives.

So, this means that you may find their old skin in places where they like to nest or frequent.

Under appliances, on bookshelves, or in hot, moist places is where they are most likely to molt. 

If you see any of these signs, then chances are you have a substantial firebrat infestation.

For everyone you see, there may be dozens more lurking in your apartment.

The question is how do you get rid of them?

Ways to Get Rid of Firebrats in Your Apartment

Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of firebrats.

You can call an exterminator, but if you want to save money, you can try any of these methods first.

1- Pesticide:

One of the more common ways is to spray an insecticide around the places you suspect the firebrats are feeding.

However, unless you are going to move your food away from such areas on a long-term basis, then a pesticide is not desirable.

In fact, you may be creating an even bigger issue with the poisons used in the insecticide than the firebrats themselves.

2- Swatter:

Although firebrats can scurry about, they do not have good reflexes.

This means that they will often stay still when discovered.

At least until they gather their wits and take off.

It is during that time you can swat them with a fly swatter.

However, just about any light item such as a rolled-up newspaper, book, or other item will work. 

The only problem is that while you can kill some in this manner, you are not directly addressing the issue of firebrats in your apartment.

3- Traps: Simple sticky tape is a great way to catch firebrats, cockroaches, and other small insects.

The tape itself is made of paper products, so it will instantly attract firebrats to it.

Just replace the sticky tape when needed after placing them in areas frequented by the insect.

Once you get rid of the firebrats, the next step is keeping them from re-entering your apartment.

You can do this by putting all non-perishable foods into a hard container that can be fully sealed.

Other methods include removing food from any area that is moist and hot.

And finally, giving the apartment a good cleaning while installing air purifiers.

Because firebrats operate mostly off their sense of smell, removing the odors of food will often confuse and even turn them away if they are searching for something to eat.

You will need to be persistent in your prevention efforts, but a little work today can help prevent firebrats from coming into your home tomorrow.

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