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The Truth About Palmetto Bugs in Southwest Florida

A picture of a large palmetto bug next to a quarter for size comparison. The Larue logo is in the background.

People often confuse cockroaches with palmetto bugs—in reality, it’s very unlikely you will ever come across a palmetto bug. 
Palmetto bugs, scientifically known as Eurycotis Floridana, got its nickname from commonly being found in palmetto fan palms and cabbage palms. They are also called Florida woods cockroaches. They are usually about 1.5 inches long, so they’re really just “really huge cockroaches.” The most identifying characteristic of the true palmetto bug is the foul smell it emits when disturbed. So, if it moves slowly and stinks when you squash it, then you might have actually seen a palmetto bug. Otherwise, more than likely it was just a normal cockroach.

The 4 Most Common Roaches in Florida

Cockroaches are still concerned to find in your home! They carry bacteria and spread viruses, so it’s important to know which roach is in your house and to have it professionally treated as soon as you notice an infestation.

The American Cockroach (AKA the Waterbug) 

Up to 2 inches long, American Cockroaches love our hot, humid Florida weather. They are commonly found in damp places like basements and sewers, but they are scavengers and will eat just about anything, so you’ll also find them hanging around food preparation areas as well.

The Brown-Banded Cockroach 

About a 1/2 inch in length, brown roaches prefer warm, dry locations. While they can still be found in kitchens and bathrooms, they are also found in bedrooms, living rooms, and closets more than other roaches.

The brown-banded cockroach prefers feeding on starchy materials. However, they can be found feeding on almost anything, and have been known to chew on such non-food materials as nylon stockings (presumably for the residues of body oils and skin flakes).

The Oriental Cockroach 

About 1.25 inches long, the Oriental cockroach is generally found outdoors, but during times of drought, they may venture inside.

Once indoors, you may find them in high moisture places such as sewers and drains. They prefer to feed on all sorts of decaying matter, making them especially fond of garbage bins. They are seldom found on walls or in furniture and cabinets.

The German Cockroach 

About a half-inch long, these roaches are the one you really need to keep a watchful eye out for. Because they are smaller than many other species, they can more easily hide and evade humans. 

Controlling German cockroaches takes expertise and persistence due to their rapid reproductive rate. At least 95% of the populations must be eliminated during initial treatment or they will return. Baits are an effective way of controlling them, but correct placement in cracks and crevices near harborage areas is critical.

How to Keep Roaches Out

Cockroaches are nocturnal. You may see them scatter when you turn on a light in your house. You’ve probably noticed they like places where they can easily hide, like in cracks, cabinets and around sinks. You’ll find them more often in bathrooms and kitchens because they like moisture, but garages are also a frequent hotspot for cockroaches.

The best way to get rid of cockroaches is to prevent them from liking your home in the first place!

How can you do that?

  • Keep your house clean and tidy.
  • Remove garbage from your home on a regular basis.
  • Do not allow dirty dishes to accumulate or remain in the sink overnight.
  • Periodically check and clean the evaporation pan under the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Don’t leave uncovered food on the counter or in your kitchen cabinets.
  • Sweep and vacuum your kitchen and dining areas for any crumbs.
  • Store leftover food in containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Clean out your cabinets and fridge often.
  • Check your plumbing for any leaky pipes, and tighten them wherever necessary.
  • Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest entryways, such as doors and windows.
  • Update your weatherstripping for rips or broken spots.
  • Get rid of clutter such as old newspapers and piles of boxes, especially in attics or basements where it can sometimes be moist.

What to Do When You Find Roaches

Unfortunately, even the cleanest homes can have cockroaches. No matter what species, cockroaches pose a serious risk to you and your family. The saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies of cockroaches contain allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children. They are also capable of transmitting disease organisms, such as the bacteria that cause food poisoning, and are known to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.

This further shows why professional roach control is necessary. If you suspect you have an infestation, contact us at 239-334-0880 to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. Our exterminators are more than happy to help!

Contact us today for roach control in SW Florida!

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