To begin with, people tend to call five types of insects “Palmetto Bugs”. It can lead to misunderstandings and confusions, so if you are planning to use any chemical Palmetto Bug killer it is necessary to consult a professional: they can identify the species.
All these insects really have much in common, but, of course, the differences between them exist.
These species are the following:
- American roaches are one of the largest roaches who may infest your home. They can be 50 mm in length and even a little longer. They are reddish brown, with a yellow band behind their head. The nymphs of these species are grayish brown. When they become adults, their wings develop, and mature American Roaches can fly.
- Australian cockroaches are similar in appearance to the American roaches, they are also reddish-brown and have wings. But they are obviously smaller than the American roaches, being approximately 40 mm in size. They have yellow edge of the thorax and yellow stripes near the wings.
- Oriental cockroaches are shiny black or dark brown, and they are about 25–30 mm long. The females have short useless wings below their head. The males have brown wings that cover the majority of the abdomen, and they can fly 2 to 3 meters.
- Smokybrown cockroaches are about 45 mm long, mahogany brown. These are good at flying too, their well-developed wings extend beyond the abdomen.
- Florida Woods Roaches are also known as Stink Roaches, because they produce foul-smelling fluids to protect themselves from predators. According to the scientists, these guys are “proper palmetto bugs”. And one more name for them is Florida Woods Roaches. This name describes the habits of theses pests, as they usually live in areas with a lot of trees, and are common throughout Florida. Their size rages from 35 to 50 mm in length. They are dark in color, from reddish brown to black. Their body is wide and glossy. At first sight they seem to be wingless, but they actually have very small wings located close to the head.
Obviously all these pests have many common features: their size (from 30 to 50 mm in length); dark color from reddish brown to black; wide and glossy body. And their living habits are much alike as well: they all tend to live in Palmetto trees (that is where the name “Palmetto Bugs” comes from).
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Palmetto Bug vs Cockroach
It is obvious that none of the species called Palmetto Bugs belongs to the beetle species. The only “palmetto beetle” existing is a Palmetto Weevil. Though this insect is a pest, it infects only palm trees, so you will not see it inside your house. The Palmetto Weevil is a rather small black and red beetle with a long snout. And it has nothing common with anything what may be called a Palmetto Bug.
The difference between beetles and roaches is that beetles are much more advanced insects. The dissimilarity seen with the naked eye is that beetles have a hard outer covering on their wings. Being much more primitive, roaches do not have such covering. So the only possible answer to the question about the differences between the cockroaches and Palmetto Bugs is “There is no difference!”
What Is a Palmetto Bug: Where Is The True Danger?
The main problem with them is that they are really creepy, these huge cockroaches living in your house, walking on walls and ceilings. And you always have a chance to see this monstrous palmetto bugs flying at you. Sometimes it gives an impression that the thing is attacking you.
Some scientists claim that bugs act like that because they think you are a tree. Anyway it is impossible for this insect to do you any harm. Although some victims of these bugs claim that they have been chased around the house by the huge pest, that impression could be caused only by their irrational fear, and certainly not by facts.
Palmetto Bugs in Florida – a Fact of Life
You will not enjoy your life in Florida if you can’t stand these insects. Palmetto Bugs are just an inescapable part of Florida lifestyle. This state has perfect weather conditions for tropical insects. And everyone originating from this state has many Palmetto Bug Stories in store.
So you are doomed to see these creatures in your home at least sometimes. For these cases it is good to keep bug spray at hand to use it at once when you see the pest.
And you must get used to the thought that while gardening or just walking in the street you may come across them at any moment.
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Try to Keep Them Away
Though the natives of Florida claim that it is impossible, there’s no harm in trying. So keep Palmetto Bugs as far away from you as you can. If you take the efforts, at least their penetrations into your house will be less frequent.
To do that close all the ways the pests can use to enter your house. Make sure that all the windows and doors fit tightly with their frames in size and shape. They should have no cracks. All the holes and cracks of your house should be fixed with caulking gun or other appropriate materials.
Palmetto bugs are especially active in cold weather: they look for warmth in the people’s houses. Try not to leave the door open during cold seasons. And it is necessary to use window screens.
Also it would be nice to make your yard uncomfortable for these pests. Palmetto Bugs really love foliage. Lots of foliage, growing grass as well as foliage garbage. Of course, you don’t need to remove all the plants from your garden. Just don’t plant them near doors and windows. And if you have tall trees right near your house, do your best to fix all the holes and cracks in the roof.
Of course, you should never keep leaf litter in your yard. Spray some boric acid around your garden. You may use chemical pesticides as well, though in this case it is better to consult a professional.
Usually the first advice on keeping cockroaches out is to clean your house. What is rubbish for you may be a delicacy for the roaches, and they definitely will not live in your house if they find nothing to eat.
The problem with Palmetto Bugs is that their diet is extremely variable. They consume paper, hair, dirty clothes, glue and many other materials. So it is almost impossible to remove everything they can eat away from your home. And they usually do not enter your house because they are looking for food.
Mostly these pests come to your home in search of warm air and water. These roaches need wet living places (it is no surprise that sometimes they are called Palmetto Water Bugs!). So try to make your home as dry as possible.
Leakages and sweating pipes are a great advantage for pests. So fix everything leaky and replace all pipes out-of repair as soon as possible. Also dry everything what can be dried with paper towels, and keep these wet towels in a sealed plastic bag.
Usually these roaches are satisfied with living conditions outside human dwelling. So you are unlikely to have Palmetto Bug infestation. If you see such insect in your home, it must have come there accidentally.
Of course the situation will be aggravated if a female Palmetto Bug drops an egg capsule, so make sure that the creature is destroyed or swept away from your house. If you are unlucky enough to miss the dropped capsule, 50-55 days later you will have about 15 Palmetto Bug nymphs walking around your dwelling.
Of course, it can also be helped, for example, following the advice below.
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Ways to Kill Palmetto Bugs
Seeing a Palmetto Bug many people just have a panic attack. They will never touch or even approach the pests (what is right, considering the foul-smelling fluids they produce). And stepping on the bug with your foot is definitely not a good idea, as the result will be more then disgusting. But there still exist some safe and guaranteed ways to kill the pests.
- If you have already found out where your intruders are hiding, you may sweep them one by one on the dust pan and take away. And if the idea of being so close to them is unbearable for you, you can use a vacuum cleaner as your weapon. Just suck the creatures with vacuum and take them away from your home.
- Make traps for them. These bugs don’t feel if the food is poisonous for them. So use some delicious treats mixed with poison. Put them around the house in food containers. Try to use quick-acting poison so that you can find the dead pests near the traps and not around the house. Of course, you must warn your family about the poison and put the traps where your children or pets will not find them.
- If you think that having the poison around your house is too dangerous, there exists a great natural insecticide. Mix 3,5 grams of tobacco dust with one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of black pepper. Apply the mixture in the same way as you would apply a chemical pesticide: spray it about the rooms where you can see the bugs.
- Boric acid dust is good against Palmetto Bugs, too, though it must be applied very carefully. It is toxic for people and animals. Never use it in places where children or pets may find it. A perfect place to apply it is on tops of the cabinet, as Palmetto Bugs prefer high places. The acid will be collected on the insect’s body as it walks through it, and carried to the nest. So as the bug grooms itself it will be poisoned, and all the roaches in the nest will share this destiny.
If you live in Florida, you have to get used to Palmetto Bugs. Just understand that these creatures are harmless and learn to keep a cool head while dealing with them. And following our advice you will certainly minimize your contacts with them.
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