Palmetto Bug vs. Cockroach
A palmetto bug is a term commonly heard in the Southeast that refers to several different species of cockroaches. In South Carolina, the term palmetto bug usually refers to the smokybrown cockroach, while Floridians are usually referring to the Florida woods cockroach. The American cockroach is also called a palmetto bug.
All cockroach species referred to a palmetto bugs are about the same size, have wide, glossy bodies, and are all various shades of brown and reddish-brown. Several of the species, like the smokybrown cockroach, can be found in palmetto trees in the Southeast (hence the name).
Where Are Palmetto Bugs Found?
Palmetto bugs like moist, humid areas. In your home, you’ll find them in your bathrooms, kitchen (under sinks, behind dishwashers, and under refrigerators), attics, and crawlspaces. Outdoors you’ll find them around septic tanks, trash bins, and in mulched gardens, leaf litter, and trees.
Just like cockroaches, palmetto bugs can pose health risks. They can spread several harmful pathogens, including salmonella which can contaminate food. As they walk across your counters and floors, they leave behind feces and sheddings that can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks in some people. Palmetto bugs have also been known to bite people which can cause skin irritation.
6 Ways to Keep Palmetto Bugs Out of Your House
- Seal cracks and holes around your home’s foundation.
- Repair tears in window screens.
- Seal any gaps around doors, windows, and attic vents.
- Create a barrier around your home by treating windows, door casings, and along baseboards with Ortho® Home Defense Max® Indoor Insect Killer with Extended Reach Comfort Wand®. On indoor non-porous surfaces, it will continue to protect against cockroaches, including palmetto bugs, for up to 12 months.
- Make your home less appealing to palmetto bugs by eliminating their food source—clean up spills and crumbs in the kitchen, keep food in tightly sealed containers, and empty the garbage regularly.
- You can also control palmetto bugs hiding in tight spaces inside your house with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Cracks & Crevices.
Keep Palmetto Bugs Out of Your Garden
Your perfectly maintained garden bed is just as appealing to a palmetto bug seeking food as the overflowing dumpster down the street. However, excessive mulch is especially attractive to palmetto bugs, so maintain your mulch at the proper 2-3 inch depth and don’t pile it against the foundation of your home. Also, don’t leave your pet’s food and water outside. If you have a problem with palmetto bugs in your landscape, control them with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape.
For more information, read the article "Signs You Have Cockroaches."