Your home is your castle, your domain–the place where you can keep everything just as you want it. That’s precisely why it’s so frustrating to get any pest–especially when they’re the little monsters known as palmetto bugs.
All three types of palmetto bugs are cockroaches found in the United States and abroad. Here’s how to get rid of palmetto bugs: use glue traps, peppermint oil, and insecticide to kill them. You can prevent them in the home by sealing cracks and cleaning up food scraps.
Palmetto bugs are visually similar to other common cockroaches. What’s the best way to prevent palmetto bugs from plaguing your home? In this post, we’ll consider 8 ways.
On top of that, we’ll give you a way to figure out what they are and how to tell them apart from ordinary cockroaches.
Table of Contents
What are Palmetto Bugs?
Here’s how to distinguish palmetto bugs from other roaches.
While they don’t require special treatment, it’s good to know your enemy. And if the bug is actually a roach at all.
3 Types of Palmetto Bugs
There are three types of cockroaches known as palmetto bugs.
- American cockroach (Periplaneta americana): Common in southern Spain and Portuagal, the Canary Islands, and across the southern United States. Light in color. It is also known as Bombay canary, ship cockroach, and kakerlac.
- Smokybrown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa). Common in the southern United States, Japan, Australia, and South America. It is distingushed by it’s dark, shiny thorax.
- Florida woods cockroach (Eurycotis floridana): It is also known as the Florida stink roach, skunk roach, stinking cockroach, and many more similar variations.
The three types of cockroaches known as palmetto bugs are larger than other roaches. The American cockroach is the largest of all cockroach species.
They are called palmetto bugs because they can be commonly seen on palmetto trees.
There are many other cockroach species, but only these three species are commonly known as palmetto bugs.
How can you prevent and kill palmetto bugs?
8 Ways to Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs
1. Seal Cracks in the Home
The most important way to prevent palmetto bugs from entering your home is to seal off cracks throughout your residence.
These cracks are the most common way for palmetto bugs to enter a building, as they lead directly from the outside world into the nooks and crannies of a structure.
These cracks and holes can appear throughout the home. In some cases, you might find them in warped wood or a cracked windowsill.
They might also be in dark corners throughout the home, such as in the backs of closets, cracks in door frames, or the paneling for electrical outlets. They might even be in the foundation of the home.
To mitigate these cracks, grab some caulk or another sealant and trace throughout the house to seal it up.
2. Clean Up the Kitchen
A reason that roaches are attracted to your home might be that there are lots of food crumbs left out.
This can be especially concerning, as palmetto bugs shed and leave behind feces as they walk through the kitchen. These droppings create a risk for you to catch foodborne illnesses.
You’ll want to make sure your kitchen is cleaned very diligently. Take a paper towel, disinfectant wipe, or handheld vacuum and clean up crumbs from everywhere you can, including the fridge, the pantry, and all the cabinets.
Doing so can be an incredibly easy way of ensuring that palmetto bugs find other food sources than inside of your home.
3. Take Care of the Garbage
On top of cleaning up debris and detritus in the kitchen, you’ll want to make sure to take out your trash and recycling regularly.
These are places that palmetto bugs will flock to and even hide in, and you’ll want to deny them that food source.
If you’re experiencing a palmetto infestation, take out the trash and recycle once a day or so.
If you found one palmetto bug, there are probably (many) more.
4. Apply Peppermint Oil
While many essential oils have been shown to repel roaches, they don’t all kill them.
Peppermint oil has been proven to be toxic to cockroaches.
If you’re planning to experiment, peppermint oil might be the best one to start with. Of course, you should check how it might interact with pets, kids, and furniture before applying.
5. Place Glue Traps
If you’ve identified where your palmetto problem is coming from, the next step is to lay down glue traps. Scatter these traps in all the places where the bugs might be attracted to or places where you’ve seen them before.
Once the bugs land on the traps, they’ll be stuck to them, allowing you to easily dispose of them.
Be sure, to know if your trap contains toxic or nontoxic ingredients. This will affect how you handle these around the home.
6. Apply Insect Killer
If glue traps alone aren’t handling your palmetto bug infestation, the next thing you can do is experiment with insect-killing substances, like boric acid or diatomaceous earth.
Boric acid can kill palmetto bugs by either poisoning them or damaging their exoskeletons. If palmetto bugs eat boric acid, it’ll send a toxin into their bodies and eventually kill them.
To attract cockroaches to boric acid, you can mix it with sugar, flour, and some oil and place it near their favorite spots. It’ll seem like a snack to them, but it’ll ensure that their days are numbered.
Be careful with boric acid around pets or small children! Always follow the instructions on the package.
Another option is diatomaceous earth, an organic white powder that will damage palmetto skeletons’ exoskeletons and eventually kill them.
7. Send in the Pets
If all else fails, the old ways can often be the best. Humans have kept cats and dogs as pest controllers for generations, allowing these furry friends to feast on the bugs.
Cats especially are excellent roach-killers, adept at using palmetto bugs as entertainment.
Although pets aren’t necessarily a complete solution, they can still be an excellent option to mitigate palmetto problems.
Used in conjunction with healthy home hygiene, they’re a great tool–with the extra benefit of affection and companionship.
8. Call an Exterminator
When all else fails, you might want to call an exterminator to deal with your palmetto bug problems.
They’ll have access to expert equipment, insecticides, and techniques that you might not have. If the problem is truly out of control, it couldn’t hurt to get an expert opinion.
Have roaches in your electronics? Here’s how to get them out.
More Reading: Are Bugs and Insects the Same? 3 Key Differences
Although palmetto bugs are nasty pests, don’t fear–they’re no match for human ingenuity! If you find yourself in a deluge of palmettos, make sure to exercise good hygiene in your home and (safely!) experiment with compounds that can kill the bugs.
Take steps to prevent more bugs from getting into your home, and let your pets be part of your solution. Worst case scenario: call an exterminator.
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.
He also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Storyteller Tech. Bryan is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company he runs with his wife, Dena.