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  • Writer's pictureJon Stoddard

How to Solve a Cockroach or Palmetto Bug Problem - Fast!

Everyone living in Florida knows only too well about these skin-crawling pests, which can scuttle or, worse, glide past at any time. You might be watching a movie, eating dinner, or catching up on chores when you see a cockroach disappear under the couch or bed or behind a large piece of furniture.

These unwanted pests have not only lived for centuries and outlived the dinosaurs, but they can also survive without their head! American cockroaches can be tough to get rid of.

American Cockroaches and Palmetto Bugs

There are more than 4500 species of cockroaches globally, over 70 of which are found in Florida. The sizeable American cockroach is the same thing as a palmetto bug. That's just a term used by folks in Florida and the Southeastern states to describe the vast cockroaches which prefer hot and humid climates.

Although these bugs live outdoors, in and around palm trees, they only too often find their way into people's homes also.

But How do They Get Indoors, and Why?

The much smaller German cockroaches tend to live indoors and favor warm, humid places like kitchens, bathrooms, and pantries where they can find food. On the other hand, American cockroaches prefer trees, woodpiles, landscaping, shrubs, and mulched areas.

As they're often called, these roaches, or palmetto bugs, can be 1 to 2 inches long. Their wings are dark brown. They have a flexible exoskeleton allowing them to crawl through surprisingly tiny spaces and openings, thus getting into our homes and letting them hide or escape effectively.

Floridians are blessed to have warm weather for most of the year. But that's when the American cockroaches start coming into our homes looking for water or food. During the cooler months, they might try to come in to get out of the cold.

Palmetto bugs can quickly jump from branches near the house or climb the exterior wall to find a little hole to squeeze through. Even if you're sure there are no cracks or holes in your building, these determined critters can even come up through the drains and plumbing pipes!

Once they get inside, they will seek a warm, humid area like under a sink or in the bathroom to build nests made of dead skin, eggs and dropping and lay new eggs.

How to Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs

Seeing as American cockroaches can lay eggs every three to five months, they can infest a house fast.

The only way to eradicate them is to hire an experienced professional exterminator, who will complete an inspection of your property's exterior to find and seal up potential entry points. The exterminator will then treat your home both inside and out to prevent these unwanted intruders' recurrence.

Tips for Keeping American Cockroaches Out of Your Home

Nobody wants roaches to enter their Florida home, and it can be challenging to keep them out altogether. However, there are some awesome preventative measures you can take to prevent these palmetto bugs from gaining entry to your property.

Here are ten tips for keeping palmetto bugs out:

  • Keep bushes, shrubs, and tree limbs trimmed and away from the house.

  • Remove garbage frequently.

  • Seal and patch any cracks you find in or around the place where roaches could come in.

  • Remove or reduce bright outdoor lights with yellow or lower voltage alternatives.

  • Don't keep piles of newspapers, boxes, or other paperwork out since these attract a variety of bugs, not just roaches.

  • Deep clean your property several times a year, including inside drawers and bathroom and kitchen cabinets, as well as under furniture where bugs might hide.

  • Check underneath toilets and sinks and make sure you don't have any leaky pipes or plumbing because roaches are attracted to water.

  • Don't leave out food for people or pets.

  • A warm, humid climate is attractive to cockroaches, so make sure your AC system works properly to keep the house cool and dehumidified.

  • Keep your house, especially the kitchen, and places food is prepared or eaten, clean and free from crumbs or food.

How Often Should You See Palmetto Bugs

Although some people think it's normal to see these cockroaches and accept it as just part of living in Florida, that isn't always the case. Seeing an occasional dead or alive palmetto bug isn't uncommon in this area, but seeing a lot of activity means you need to get a professional exterminator in before the problem becomes even worse.

Are American Cockroaches Bad for Our Health?

Although these bugs don't carry diseases like ticks, fleas, or mosquitos, they can be hazardous to human health. Roaches walkthrough droppings contaminated with streptococcal bacteria or salmonella and then walk this all over surfaces in your home. They smell bad, leave stains on furniture, and cause allergic reactions in people and pets. This is why it's so important to keep these creatures out of your home.

Do Cockroaches Do Any Good?

It might be of surprise to learn that, yes, cockroaches do have some redeeming qualities. The palmetto bug, or American cockroach, eats small pieces of organic material, which helps improve soil quality for trees and plants and serving as food for lizards and birds, which in turn eat ticks and mosquitos.

In a way, that means Palmetto bugs can help kill off more bothersome pests! That doesn't mean you have to put up with them, though. If you've seen more than the very occasional cockroach lately, it's time to get in touch with a professional exterminator. Feel free to contact us, call, email, or visit us for more information. Follow this comprehensive cockroach preparation video to ensure the best possible treatment prior to your pest control technician's arrival.


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