“A palmetto bug is like a surprise visitor in your home. You never know when they’ll show up, but when they do, you can’t help but feel a little unsettled.”
Florida is known for its sunny beaches and warm climate, but it’s also home to a particular pest that strikes fear into the hearts of many (no, it really does!): the palmetto bug, or “Florida Woods Cockroach.” But what exactly is a palmetto bug, and why are they more than just a pesky insect?
Palmetto Bug vs. Cockroach: What’s the Difference?
Firstly, it’s essential to understand that the term “palmetto bug” is often used to describe other large cockroach species, such as the smoky brown cockroach. However, not all cockroaches are palmetto bugs. So, how can you tell the difference?
Size: Palmetto bugs are large cockroaches that can grow up to 1.6 inches in length, whereas the smoky brown cockroach only grows up to 1.5 inches in length.
Color: Palmetto bugs can be dark to blackish brown or reddish-brown in color after molting, while smoky brown cockroaches are uniformly dark brown.
Habitat: Palmetto bugs are typically found in wooded areas, under lumber and boards, and in other crevices. Smoky brown cockroaches usually inhabit sewers and storm drains.
What Does a Palmetto Bug Nest Look Like?
Unlike many species of insects, palmetto bugs do not typically build nests to lay their eggs in. Instead, they lay their eggs in a slimy capsule and attach it to a safe surface, usually near a food source. This egg capsule can be found near rotting wood, under fallen trees, or even on your porch.
Palmetto bugs are most often found living in large groups and like dark, humid areas that are protected from the elements, but can also be found in the base of Palmetto trees and in their fan-like leaves.
In our homes, this is often the basement or bathroom. They may even congregate around hot water heaters as these areas offer them warmth and shelter from predators. With an adult maturation time of about 150 days and a lifespan of at least a year, these little buggers aren’t going anywhere soon!
What Does a Palmetto Bug Eat?
The palmetto bugs diet may surprise many individuals, as they primarily feed on decomposing matter. Dead and decaying plant materials such as lichens, mosses, molds, and soil microbes form the basis of their dietary requirements.
In contrast to other varieties within the same family, the American cockroach has an exceptionally varied diet which includes people’s food such as greasy meats, sweets, and starchy foods. It doesn’t really care for alcohol, but they will happily feast upon leather, wallpaper paste, book bindings, and paper – so beware if you have a large collection of books at home (no, really)!
How to Ensure You’re Not Unknowingly Attracting Palmetto Roaches
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
- Clean up food spills promptly.
- Ensure all food supplies are sealed.
Why Palmetto Bugs are More Than Just a Pesky Insect
One pest management company that knows all about palmetto bugs is Price Termite and Pest Control in Melbourne, Florida. They have seen firsthand the problems that palmetto bugs can cause to both homeowners and businesses alike. But why are palmetto bugs more than just pesky insects? Well, according to Price:
Behaviors: Like many members of the genus Eurycotis, when alarmed, palmetto bugs can eject extremely foul-smelling defensive secretions up to an unbelievable 1 meter away! This can cause respiratory problems for those with asthma or allergies, and obviously, if you run a business, can be a real deterrent for customers.
Diseases: Cockroaches, including palmetto bugs, carry diseases that can transmit to humans, such as E.coli and Salmonella. Furthermore, when traversing surfaces, they deposit excrement and skin flakes that may trigger allergies and asthma in certain individuals.
Infestation: Palmetto bugs can quickly multiply and infest homes and businesses, and while they may not cause direct property damage, they can certainly lower your property value and, if you own a business, can lead to negative online reviews.
In conclusion, palmetto bugs are not just pesky insects; they can cause significant harm to both people’s health and property value. In our experience, over-the-counter bait stations just won’t cut it, so if you suspect you have any type of roach infestation, it’s crucial to contact a professional residential and commercial pest management company like Price Termite and Pest Control to get the problem under control before it’s too late!