Palmetto Bug

A Palmetto bug or Palmetto roach is also known as a “Florida Woods Cockroach” and comes with an extra annoying feature: a foul, stinking spray they emit when alarmed. This part of their biology also gave these critters the nicknames of the skunk cockroach, stink roach, and skunk roach.

Facts, Identification, and Control

So, what is a Palmetto bug? A Palmetto roach, or Eurycotis floridana, belongs to the cockroach family and can grow as large as 40 mm, or roughly 1.2 to 1.6 inches in length.

Palmettos bugs tend to move more slowly than other cockroaches and look quite similar to the Oriental cockroach, or Blatta orientalis.

What Does the Palmetto Bug Look Like?

Typically, Palmetto bugs or Florida Woods Cockroaches will be deep brown, so dark they can appear nearly black. If Palmetto bugs recently molted, they exoskeleton will look more maroon or brown with a red tint.

If you suspect an infestation of these roaches, you can search for Palmetto bug images to check their distinguishing features or color, and their smaller wings.

Facts about Palmetto Bugs

Where Do They Live?

Palmetto bugs thrive in the tropics, the West Indies, and Florida—hence the nickname of the Florida Woods Cockroach. You can find Palmetto bugs in South Carolina and Palmetto bugs in North Carolina, too.

Palmetto Bug Florida

Florida has a notably heavy presence of these cockroaches, so residents of The Sunshine State should take precautions to keep their homes dehumidified and free of exposed garbage and rotting debris as much as possible.

These roaches love damp, humid environments, warm climates, and in homes, often congregate around bathrooms or other areas with humidity. They also sometimes live in Palmetto trees, dead stumps, and leaf piles.

What Do They Eat?

Palmetto bugs are omnivores and scavengers, so they aren’t particularly picky about what they eat. These roaches will eat garbage, dead leaves, bark, crumbs, decaying organic material, and even feces or mold.

If you have garbage out in the open and live in an area where Palmetto bugs are prevalent, you are sending these cockroaches an invitation to come and feast. Pay attention to rotting food in gardens and fallen fruit from trees or piles of lawn debris that sit and make a perfect hiding spot or food source for Palmetto bugs.

How Did I Get Palmetto Bugs?

To some extent, in areas where roaches thrive, it can be challenging to keep them away from your home. However, you can take some steps to help keep them at bay.

  • Use dehumidifiers in your home
  • Clean up rotting fruit or dead leaves and stumps around your house
  • Keep all trash sealed in a bin with a secure cover and no holes
  • Make sure all window and door screens are in good condition
  • Use Diatomaceous Earth around your home and in areas roaches might travel

Palmetto bugs could have found your residence because of damp conditions, garbage, or simply because of trees nearby where they already bred and flourished. Even clean houses can experience infestations in regions where they are prevalent.

How Serious are Palmetto Bug Problems?

Skin Irritations

Do Palmetto bug bite? While it is rare, these cockroaches technically can bite. You are more likely to experience skin irritation from their waste, though, which can cause dermatitis in some people.


If you suspect you saw a Palmetto bug in your home (or a number of them), you should look for their droppings. Palmetto bug poop can be found in areas such as under cabinets or refrigerators, along baseboards, in bathroom corners, inside cabinets, and anywhere else these roaches might scurry.


Palmetto bug droppings can look similar to coffee grounds or flecks of pepper. The feces can cause allergies in many individuals and can also trigger asthma. In addition to their droppings being an irritant and contamination in your home, they contain a pheromone that calls other roaches to the area, potentially making your infestation worse.

What Can I Do About Palmetto Bugs?

Using the same methods that you would for a cockroach infestation is advised. Keep your house exceptionally clean and follow the directions on any chemicals. Use caution with pets and children.

Signs of a Palmetto Bug Infestation?

Aside from the visible sign of spotting Palmetto bugs, their droppings are another telltale signl of their presence. Check damp areas and hidden spots such as cupboards, bathrooms, and underneath cabinets or appliances.

Palmetto Bug Prevention and Control tips

Control tip #1

Keep all garbage sealed and disposed of in tightly sealed bins or cans. Clean up your yard from lawn debris, dead leaves, old stumps or branches, and any rotting fruit or vegetables.

Control tip #2

Use a vacuum daily to rid your house of any Palmetto bug droppings. Use dehumidifiers if possible. Clean the floors with an eco-friendly but robust mixture such as vinegar and water or floor cleanser.

Control tip #3

Spread Diatomaceous Earth both inside and outside the walls of your home, in cabinets, corners, under appliances, and spots you spotted Palmetto bugs.

Control tip #3

Consider a roach gel or roach removal kit if you spotted more than one Palmetto bug inside. Continue to clean your home diligently even when using these products.

Palmetto Bug Professional Pest Control

With a robust Palmetto bug or cockroach infestation, you should seek professional pest control for help. Massive populations of these critters in your home can be harmful to your health and challenging to eradicate.

Foggers should be set off by a professional, and you will need to leave your house for a set amount of time as the chemicals clear. If you have a Palmetto bug infestation, contact a reputable pest expert in your area today.


How Do You Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs?

The best way to get rid of palmetto bugs is to spray with a pesticide that is recommended for their eradication. They are strong chemicals, so which ones you can buy will depend on where you live. Follow the instructions carefully, take your time, and be thorough. If you miss a few cracks, that could be where they are nesting, and all of your efforts will be for nothing. An easier approach is to call in a professional roach controller.

Do Palmetto Bugs Come up Through Drains?

Palmetto bugs can come up through the drains. But, it is more common for them to enter through a gap between a door and its frame, a crack in the wall or an open window. If, however, the area you live in is being treated by the health authority for bugs and roaches you should block up your sinkholes and overflow holes. When that happens, they tend to flee the area the chemicals are being sprayed in and come up through the drains.

Why Do Palmetto Bugs Come in Your House?

Palmetto bugs come into your house to feed and drink. If there is no food or water for them, they will usually move elsewhere. However, you will also need to mop up standing water and clean up food sources in the area surrounding your property. If you do not do so, they may feed and drink there, then use your house as a place to shelter and raise their young.