8 Ways to Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs
A Palmetto bug is actually part of the cockroach family and can be referred to as the Florida woods cockroach, a skunk cockroach, stink roach, and skunk roach. Why all of the skunky references?
Not only are Palmetto bugs a pest, but they can also emit a foul-smelling odor when frightened or alarmed, leaving you with both a roach problem and an unpleasant stink in your home.
Facts, Identification, and Control of Palmetto Bugs
A Palmetto roach, or Eurycotis Floridana, is technically a cockroach and can sometimes be mistaken with the Oriental cockroach, or Blatta orientalis.
What Does the Palmetto Bug Look Like?
Palmetto bugs tend to have shorter wings than some species of roaches, and their full-body size can grow as large as 40 mm, or about 1.2 to 1.5 inches in length.
Palmetto bugs can appear darker than other types of roaches, too. The Florida woods cockroach or Palmetto bug is typically a dark brown color, almost black in hue. When they recently molted, or shed their exoskeleton during growth, they will appear more vibrant, with a reddish-brown or maroon color.
Where Do Palmetto Bugs Live?
Palmetto bugs live in the tropics, sub-tropical regions, the West Indies, and in the United States, which are prevalent in the southeast. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida experience Palmetto bug infestations.
South Carolina (The Palmetto State) and Florida, in particular, can see a lot of these roaches, as Palmetto bugs thrive in warm, humid areas and are often found living in Palmetto trees.
Indoors, Palmetto bugs tend to congregate in damp or humid locations and near food sources. Unfortunately, these roaches are not picky eaters, so that can mean an infestation throughout a variety of areas in your home.
What Do Palmetto Bugs Eat?
Palmetto bugs are both scavengers and omnivores, meaning they will feast on a massive variety of things that provide nourishment, even if it is decaying garbage, rotting fruit, or meat.
Palmetto bugs will eat starches (such as crumbs), sweet foods, and proteins, and sometimes even mold. If you have a fruit tree in your yard, make sure to clean up the ground around it often. Keep garbage sealed in a bin with a tight lid, and don’t let food crumbs remain on your floors or counters.
How Serious are Palmetto Bug Problems?
Palmetto bugs don’t usually bite, although they technically can if you come in direct contact with them. The more significant threat is that the droppings from Palmetto bugs can stir up allergies, exacerbate asthma in individuals who suffer from it. If these cockroaches come in contact with your food, you run the risk of food poisoning.
How to Prevent Palmetto Bugs?
So, you want to know how to keep palmetto bugs out of your house. It can be challenging to prevent Palmetto bugs if you live in an area with a massive population of these critters. However, some steps will go a long way in preventing these cockroaches from taking up residence with you.
Prevention Tip 1
Check your yard for anything that could draw Palmetto bugs toward your house. Do you have rotting fruit on the lawn? Is your garbage sealed tightly away from pests? If you have Palmetto trees, are any extremely close to your house or have branches hanging near your roof? If so, take care of these issues. Palmetto bugs can also live in piles of leaves or dead tree stumps. Clean up the yard and any trash to make your residence less hospitable to these bugs.
Prevention Tip 2
Make sure your screens are correctly in place and free of holes in all doors and windows. Check the seals around possible entrances, such as the bottom of doors.
Prevention Tip 3
Do your best to keep too much moisture out of your house. Buy a dehumidifier if you must, and don’t allow water to sit in puddles around drains or spills to remain on floors. Use a bathroom ventilation fan when showering if you have one.
Prevention Tip 4
Get diligent about the cleanliness of your house. Vacuum and clean floors as often as possible. Wipe up spills immediately and clean crumbs out of cupboards and drawers. Tightly seal all of your food so that Palmetto bugs can not get into it in your cabinets. The more sterile your environment, the less reason Palmetto bugs will have to set up shop.
Prevention Tip 5
How to get rid of Palmetto bugs naturally? Use Diatomaceous Earth around your home both inside and out. This powder consists of ground-up, fossilized diatoms, which were small aquatic organisms.
Diatomaceous Earth is a fine enough powder that it’s safe around humans (unless inhaled, use a dust mask) but can cause tiny piercings in insects and bugs, killing them without the use of harsh chemicals. Diatomaceous Earth works on a variety of critters, so it can help kill or prevent other infestations such as bed bugs, silverfish, and ticks, too.
8 Palmetto Bug Elimination Tips
If you already have a Palmetto bug infestation, you can attempt to eliminate them on your own. So, how do you get rid of Palmetto bugs? We recommend professional pest control for a significant infestation. However, if you’ve only spotted one or two of these roaches, you can try these tips.
- Clean up your yard, garbage areas, piles of leaves, and Palmetto branches that are too close to your house.
- Invest in a dehumidifier if you can and run it in areas that tend to be damp in your home.
- Keep hiding areas for Palmetto bugs to a minimum, so keep piles of laundry, blankets, or anything else unnecessary off your floors.
- Make your house as sterile as you can. Vacuum floors and baseboard, and cleanse floors with a mixture such as vinegar and water or an eco-friendly floor cleanser with a robust essential oil scent.
- Spread Diatomaceous Earth both inside and outside (wearing a dust mask) along your walls both inside and out, in cupboard cracks, crawl spaces, under cabinets, and anywhere else roaches might travel.
- If you spot any dead Palmetto bugs or more droppings, immediately clean them up, vacuum again, and reapply Diatomaceous Earth.
- Try out a Palmetto bug killer such as cockroach gel or Palmetto bug traps and follow the instructions carefully. For larger homes, you can use a roach removal kit. Use caution around pets and children.
- Continue to clean your house daily, as Palmetto bugs leave a pheromone in their droppings that can lure others into the area.
Many over-the-counter foggers are ineffective, so if you have a serious infestation that your home needs fogging, it’s best to call an expert.
Palmetto Bug Professional Pest Control
If you’ve tried the tips mentioned here and still have Palmetto bugs, or if you’ve seen a significant number of them around your house, it’s time to call professional pest control. Experts often use stronger chemicals than you can find at a home improvement store, and they can also advise you on your specific infestation.
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