The Complete Guide What Are Palmetto Bugs? (2023)

What Are Palmetto Bugs?

The palmetto bugs are often confused with the cockroaches, but they are quite different and are also known as Florida woods cockroaches. This is an extensive species of cockroach that can grow 30mm and 40mm (it takes around 1.2 inches to 1.6 inches). These bugs grow into adults and are known to eject an excruciating bad smell when they are alarmed. They eject the directional spray within the range of one meter, which is why they are known by different names, such as skunk cockroach, stinking cockroach, Florida skunk roach, and stuck roach.

In addition, they also go by the name of Florida woods roach and Florida cockroach. These bugs are extremely similar to the oriental cockroach (the female ones) and are widely confused, especially if some ordinary person is observing. These bugs tend to move slower as compared to other species of cockroaches. They are highly likely to prefer damp locations, especially places with an abundance of moisture, and tend to do well in damp and warm areas. For the most part, they are found in their native habitats, such as the West Indies and Florida, United States.

In some cases, they roam indoors, particularly in damp areas, including pools and bathrooms. Still, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they prefer the outdoors and aren’t known for infesting their homes. Palmetto bugs are intolerant to cold, which is why they look for tropical, warm, and subtropical areas. They can be seen in sheltered locations in outdoor settings, such as under the boards and lumbers, under the lead litter, within tree holes, wooded areas, bushes, and crevices. Not to forget, they can be seen on the palmetto tree, which is one reason behind their name.

palmetto bugs

Physical Characteristics and Reproduction of Palmetto Bugs

As far as appearance is concerned, palmetto bugs are known for their blackish-brown and dark brown colors, while some can also have a reddish-brown color. As for the males, they tend to start mating eighteen days after they mature while females start producing oothecae after every eight days, and this process starts after fifty-five days of maturation. Their oothecae are buried in the decaying logs and soil. Also, they will hatch within fifty days at 86 degrees Fahrenheit to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Palmetto bugs also take part in asexual reproduction, but such nymphs don’t reach the adulthood phase.

When they are alarmed, they will emit a bad-smelling secretion through the sternal membrane, and the ejection is done up to one meter. However, the nymphs can’t eject such smell while the secretion is built during the timeframe of sixty days. Also, when the males drain the smell, they take around thirty days to replenish it. As far as the secretion is concerned, it has hexenoic acid, hexenal, and hexanol. This secretion can irritate the human eyes and has a toxic nature.

Habitat and Behavior of Palmetto Bugs

In case you are concerned about the habitat, palmetto bugs are commonly found in the cavities of the bark, around lead litter, holes in the stumps and dead trees, and woodpiles. In simpler words, they are available in the non-human parts of the buildings. However, in some cases, they infest the attics where you will see the dead parts of the dead bugs as well as the large droppings.

Why Do Palmetto Bugs Cluster Up In Your Home?

The palmetto bugs are highly likely to live in areas with higher humidity and moisture (yes, this is the prime reason they are so common in low-country areas). As far as the home is concerned, you are highly likely to see them in kitchens, bathrooms, attics, crawlspaces under the sinks, and behind the dishwashers. In addition, they will be seen under refrigerators, mulch, trash bins, dumpsters, septic tanks, and tree litter. They lay their eggs in these spots. This is because the females are likely to look for places that provide moisture, have food nearby, and provide protection.

Palmetto bugs don’t come due to the dirty places, so the perception that filth attracts palmetto bugs is wrong. For this reason, they can be seen in the nicest resorts and hotels. To illustrate, your well-cleaned home and properly mulched garden will attract them the same as the overflowing trash bin.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs?

Before we talk about ways of getting rid of palmetto bugs, let’s talk about some preventive measures. This is because preventing palmetto bugs is always better than cleaning up their dead bodies and spraying air fresheners because they decided to eject the bad smell. So, in the section below, we are sharing some ways to prevent the bugs;

  • Make sure all the holes, crevices, and cracks in the home’s base and foundation are properly sealed
  • Make sure that the window screens are properly repaired, and that there are no tears
  • Always keep the attic vents sealed and ensure sealed windows and doors
  • It is suggested to create a barrier around the home by treating the baseboards, door casings, and windows with the treatments. As far as the non-porous surfaces are concerned, the insecticide treatments will help protect the places from palmetto bugs for over twelve months
  • You need to eliminate the food sources from your home to ensure palmetto bugs aren’t attracted to your home. For this reason, you need to clean up the crumbs and spills in the kitchen. As for the food storage, ensure that food is stored in airtight containers and keep emptying the trash properly
  • Don’t forget to spray the insecticides in the tight corners to prevent their infestation

Getting Rid of Palmetto Bugs: Tips and Strategies

Now that we have shared enough information on preventing the palmetto bugs, let’s see how you can get rid of them. In the section below, we are sharing how to get rid of them!

  • First of all, you can use broad-spectrum insecticide, including D-Fense SC which can be sprayed all around the home. It is suggested to spray it on the exterior walls of your home as well as the foundation because they are outdoor bugs. As for the interior, you can spray in the crevices and cracks of the home. In case they are coming out of the attic, you have to get inside and spray it all over

Keep in mind that ensuring proper identification is important to get the desired results. Palmetto bugs are highly likely to breed and contaminate the living areas, but the bigger ones are low likely to reproduce inside. For this reason, you can place baits and pest growth regulators to treat them. One can also opt for insecticide concentrates and apply them to the entry points and exterior of the home.

Where Do Palmetto Bugs Come From?

The palmetto bugs are common in the West Indies and Florida regions of the United States. Also, generally, they live outside because they look for humid areas where the moisture is high. The places with higher food and water access will attract the palmetto bugs. Not to forget, the leaky pipes and faucets will increase the likelihood.

Will Palmetto Bugs Sting Or Bite Me?

For the most, they don’t have any immediate harm or danger to humans. They do bite humans, but it’s a rare case. As for the bites, they are not very painful or serious. However, their bites are likely to leave red marks (they will be small).

How Bad Is The Sting Of A Palmetto Bug?

Palmetto bugs bite humans, but it’s not that serious or doesn’t ache much. But again, it will leave behind small and red marks. In some cases, they can trigger asthma and allergies in people.

Are Palmetto Bugs Destructive?

They are not destructive to the structures, but they carry different diseases. This is because they tend to contaminate the clean dishes, kitchen counters, food, and other places. As a result, it can result in stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and more.

Do Palmetto Bugs Get Attract To Water?

Yes, they get attracted to water and humidity. Having leaky pipes and faucets is the biggest reason for getting palmetto bugs.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bug Bites?

For getting rid of palmetto bug bites, it’s better to use a cold compress as it helps get rid of pain and swelling. Moreover, if you have allergies, you can take anti-allergy medicine upon asking your doctor.

Why Are Palmetto Bugs Bad?

The palmetto bugs are bad because they pose some health risks. They can result in the spread of salmonella, which tends to contaminate food. Moreover, it can trigger asthma and allergies in some cases, which is why palmetto bugs are bad.

Also checkout Related Articles:

The Guide To Understand Mayflies – Complete Guide (2023)