When the fall season arrives, and the weather gets cooler, palmetto bugs begin to seek refuge in homes across the Southeastern U.S. These irritating pests commonly carry disease-causing pathogens that can easily spread to humans. The palmetto bug is relatively large for an insect and downright ugly, and these characteristics alone are enough to frighten most homeowners. Fortunately, they are easy to eradicate if you use the best remedy for palmetto bug infestation.
What Exactly Are Palmetto Bugs
In short, the term “palmetto bug” is used to reference a variety of different cockroach species, particularly those found in the Southeastern states. These cockroach species include the smoky brown cockroach, the Florida woods cockroach, and the American cockroach. The cockroach species that fall under the palmetto bug designation share similar characteristics. They’re all nearly identical in size – both length and width; they all have glossy bodies and are reddish-brown.
Palmetto bugs can grow to over 2″ in length. They have wings and the ability to fly, but their massive size makes them very awkward in the air. In comparison to other insects, palmetto bugs have a relatively long-life expectancy, nearly 2 years. The name “palmetto bug” originates from the cockroaches’ habit of living in palmetto trees. And while palmetto bugs rarely bite, certain species do have the ability to spray a stream of foul-smelling liquid from their body when threatened.
How to Know If You Have a Palmetto Bug Infestation
Determining whether palmetto bugs are infesting your home seems like it would be very easy, given their substantial size. However, palmetto bugs are nocturnal insects, meaning they typically only come out at night when everything is shrouded in darkness. This makes catching sight of them during daylight hours nearly impossible. Fortunately, other signs will help you in knowing if your home is infested with palmetto bugs, and here are a few of them:
- Musty odor. Like bed bugs, palmetto bugs release a pheromone when agitated. The pheromone is undetectable unless numerous bugs are releasing it simultaneously. When this occurs, a distinct musty odor will permeate the air. If you can’t identify the source of the odor, then it’s probably coming from palmetto bugs.
- Chew marks. Palmetto bugs have a voracious appetite for starchy things and items that contain glue. If you notice chew marks on items like envelopes, Post-It notes, or even curtains, they were made by palmetto bugs.
- Shed skin. As with other insects, such as bed bugs, palmetto bugs shed their exoskeleton several times before reaching adulthood. This shed skin is essentially an outline of the bug that casts it off. These skin casings are typically found in places where the palmetto bugs have been breeding.
Remedies for Palmetto Bug Infestations in Your Home
A seemingly infinite number of remedies claim to be effective for palmetto bug infestations. Still, unfortunately, most of these claims are baseless, or the results are negligible. On the other hand, there are some remedies – both natural and chemical – that have been proven to be effective against Southeastern cockroaches.
These are the best remedy for palmetto bug infestations in your home:
- Homemade repellent. Fill a spray bottle with water, add 10 to 15 drops of mint oil, and voila! You have just concocted a homemade repellent that will kill palmetto bugs with ease. Best of all, it is safe to use around children and pets.
- Diatomaceous earth. This substance is made from powdered aquatic fossils, and it works by severely dehydrating the palmetto bugs, eventually causing them to die. Sprinkle the powder near entry points, around baseboards, and anywhere else the bugs might be using to get into your home.
- Sweep and vacuum. Every crumb that falls on the floor, whether in the kitchen or dining room, is a potential meal for cockroaches. Therefore, sweeping and vacuuming these areas regularly is very important. If there is no food source, the bugs will stop coming around.
- Use insecticide. There is no denying that chemical-based insecticides can be hazardous to your health if improperly applied. However, there is also no denying that they are far more effective in getting rid of palmetto bugs than most other remedies. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle to ensure effectiveness. Additionally, read the safety label on the chemical insecticide before use, and never apply chemicals around children or pets.
- Roach Bait. This remedy has been around for ages, and it has proven successful time after time. The ingredients in roach bait are designed to lure in palmetto bugs by making them think it’s a food source. Once they feed on the bait, its chemicals will start to take effect, and before you know it, the palmetto bug will be dead.
- Contact a Pest Control Company. Whether you’ve tried all of the remedies listed above or you want to skip them altogether, contacting a pest control company is your best option. A professional pest control technician will know which application is the best remedy for palmetto bug infestation. Once a treatment plan is decided on, you will be able to rest knowing that the infestation will soon be eradicated.
Enjoy Your Palmetto Bug-Less Home
When a palmetto bug infestation takes over your home, you must take proactive measures to eradicate the enormous pests. With numerous remedies available, both natural and chemical, it shouldn’t be long before you notice the effects. With a bit of luck, you will eliminate every last palmetto bug that has invaded your home.
However, if you are having trouble achieving the results you want, it’s time to get a hold of your local pest control company. Professional pest control agents have special training and years of in-the-field experience, and they will get rid of pests infesting your home once and for all. Then you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy your palmetto bug-less home.