In this blog, we’ll explain the differences between palmetto bugs and cockroaches and how to specifically get rid of palmetto bugs.
We’ll be looking at the following:
- What are palmetto bugs?
- What are the differences between a palmetto bug and a cockroach?
- Palmetto bug infestation prevention
What Are Palmetto Bugs?
Technically speaking, palmetto bugs are, in fact, a species of cockroach (Eurycotis floridana, or the Florida Woods Cockroach). However, when most Americans say ‘cockroach,’ they refer to the more common variant found in homes, not palmetto bugs.
Palmetto bugs are typically dark brown and primarily found in southeast and southwest portions of the United States. Palmetto bugs are typically searching for warm, damp climates, which is why they will wander into your home. They often emit a foul spray, and thus, they have been called the Florida Stinkroach, Florida Skunkroach, and many other appealing nicknames. In Arizona, they’re commonly referred to as American Roaches.
What are the Differences Between a Palmetto Bug and a Cockroach?
For the sake of telling the difference between these pests, here are five distinctions between palmetto bugs and cockroaches:
1) Palmetto Bugs are larger than other cockroach variants, such as Smoky Brown Cockroaches. This also makes them a more daunting intruder to deal with, especially alongside some of their other features.
2) Palmetto Bugs have wings and thus are able to fly. It is never a fun time to walk in your door and have a larger-than-average palmetto bug fly in your face.
3) Palmetto Bugs smell musky, which is a distinct identifier of their presence if you’ve encountered them before. We hope you’re not familiar with this smell, but it comes from nesting in the damp areas of your home – beneath woodpiles, floorboards, or walls.
4) Palmetto Bugs contaminate food and carry diseases such as salmonella due to their nesting and dietary habits. While most cockroaches are not great for your health as well, there are some breeds that are innocuous. This is another unfortunate but important reminder that palmetto bugs are not your typical cockroach.
5) Palmetto bugs have unique coloring and markings in that they are a dark reddish-brown color and often have the ‘sunglasses’ pattern at the top of their thorax. By knowing their appearance, you’ll be able to identify and communicate this particular pest clearly to your local pest control technician, who will then know exactly how to solve your infestation problem.
Once more, while palmetto bugs are a type of cockroach, knowing this variant and their different nesting/breeding habits and destructive patterns can be important in identifying an infestation. From there, you need to take measures to remove the palmetto bugs and prevent them from returning.
|Type||Appearance||Smell||Health Risk||Nesting Habits|
|Palmetto Bug||Dark reddish brown color, sunglasses pattern at top of thorax||Musky||Contaminate food and surfaces, trigger asthma||Damp, hidden areas; beneath woodpiles, decaying vegetation, floorboards, walls, etc.|
|Cockroach||Flattened, oval body, long threadlike antennae, shiny black or brown leathery shell||Oily||Contaminate food and surfaces, trigger asthma||Damp, hidden areas; beneath woodpiles, decaying vegetation, floorboards, walls, etc.|
Palmetto Bug Infestation Prevention
While palmetto bugs and other roaches can be persistent, there are measures you can take to prevent them and get rid of palmetto bugs to some degree. These include:
- Sealing any cracks under doors and around windows.
- Having screens installed on attic vents, all doors, and all windows.
- Using a trash can with a lid and keeping waste/compost partitioned outside your house.
- Sealing all cracks and holes in the walls and foundation of your home.
- Hiring a professional pest control service to audit and treat your home.
Ultimately, when living in a climate that sustains palmetto bugs and other roaches, they’ll be interested in the food, water, and shelter that your house provides. We recommend developing a relationship with a professional pest control service to conduct regularly scheduled maintenance. The money you spend will go towards preventing all pests and will bring you and your family greater peace of mind and health.