A cigar-shaped, silver-grey, wingless insect about 12mm long, found in damp areas commonly in kitchens and bathrooms. Nocturnal in habit, but often trapped in baths, basins or chinaware as it cannot climb the smooth surfaces. Moves quickly and has three long bristles at the tail end.

Occasionally damages paper but feeds on residues of starchy substances such as glues, wallpaper paste and carbohydrate food debris. It may indicate damp conditions which need attention.

Eggs are laid in cracks and crevices and the nymphs grow by an indefinite number of moults. Can grow a new leg if they lose one. Adults can live for over three years.

A closely related species, the Firebrat, is flatter and speckled, without the metallic appearance, and favours hot, dry situations, but can still be destroyed in the same way as its cousin.


A mollusc, occasionally found indoors, in damp areas such as cellars.


In the UK snakes are not dealt with as pests by an average pest control company as problems are not common and dealing with snakes requires particular skills.

It is illegal to kill, injure or sell any native British snake or lizard including Grass Snakes, Adders and Slow worms. (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981)

The Adder, or Viper, is Britain’s only poisonous snake.

If you are experiencing problems with snakes please contact a specialist or contact your local RSPCA shelter for advice.