Posted on: January 4, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 8

A palmetto bug, or the American cockroach, is scientifically referred to as Periplaneta americana, and is a member of the winged cockroach. You will find a lot of palmetto bugs in the United States and also in the tropics. Today, the palmetto bug can be found almost everywhere because of commerce and shipping between countries. The palmetto bug is also called a “waterbug”, especially in the southern US. (See how to get rid of waterbugs)

You will see a lot of palmetto bugs thriving near human houses in cold places like Montreal, Toronto and New York City, among many others. You can also find a lot of palmetto bugs in the different ports around the world, but you will find most of them in Durban and Cape Town in South Africa. The palmetto bug is believed to have originated in Africa, but by the time its name was established, the bug was already everywhere around the United States.

A palmetto bug is big, although its development is slow. Infestation is not very common inside the house, although it still happens since the bugs get inside the house when it is cold outside. Palmetto bugs love it better when the temperature is warm, and they seek warmth inside your house when it is raining or during the winter. They can enter your house through openings in the foundations of your house, air ducts, around plumbing, under doors and sewer connections.

Palmetto bug population may be controlled through the use of insecticides, removing the food supply, or by physically excluding them from unwanted areas.

Getting Rid of Palmetto Bugs

  • Diatomaceous Earth – You will notice that the use of diatomaceous earth is very common when it comes to controlling pests. Diatomaceous earth is made of silica, which contain crystals. The crystals scratch the feet of the palmetto bugs, causing dehydration and death. You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth all over the areas where palmetto bugs thrive, and then wait until they die. You can always catch them and place them in a plastic bag. You can shake them together with diatomaceous earth, but this technique is only appropriate for the insects that you can easily gather in a plastic bag.
  • Borax Borax, also known as disodium tetraborate, sodium tetraborate or sodium borate, is a salt of boric acid with a variety of uses. It can be used as a fire retardant, a buffer solution, an anti-fungal compound, and an ingredient in products like enamel glazes, cosmetics and detergents. Since Borax has a lot of uses, it’s no wonder that it can also be used to control the population of palmetto bugs and other pests. Borax is always safe to use as long as you keep it out of reach of small children and pets. Sprinkle some all over baseboards and cracks. Use it in dark areas, too, since palmetto bugs stay in there.
  • Keeping the Bugs Away – Seal off all the possible points of entry. If there are holes around your home where palmetto bugs can enter, seal them off with a duct tape and a fine mesh screening. The bottom of your doors must be sealed through nail weatherstripping. Stuff screening is also suggested. Do this next to the windows of your home or to the cracks along your home’s foundation. It is important to seal cracks if there are palm trees around your house. The cracks on the roof of your house must be very well sealed, too. If the drains are not in use, then plug them.
  • Removing Habitats – It doesn’t take a genius to know how important it is to remove all the natural habitats of palmetto bugs, especially those that are 10 feet away from your precious home. To get rid of palmetto bugs, you need to get rid of patio rugs, wooden crates, piles of straw, foliage and tall grass. Some houses have palm fronds on their roofs. If yours are overhanging, you need to have them trimmed.
  • Sweeping – Sweeping is a very basic activity that helps you get rid of just about any pest inside your home. You can always step on them, but that will be messy. You will have to clean the place all over again. It is them better to just stun them, and not step on them, before you sweep them out of your house. You can also suck them up using your vacuum cleaner. It is best to vacuum up the bugs and the places to be cleaned, with the help of a little boric acid. This will surely help you kill palmetto bugs. (Learn how to vacuum)
  • Starve Them – Why not starve the pests out until they die? To do this, keep food away from them. Make sure that before you go to bed, your kitchen and dining are scrupulously clean. There should be no food residuals scattered anywhere in your food areas. When you wash your dishes, make sure that they are dried first before you place them in a rack. Use a towel or a sponge for drying. The sink should also be kept dry, because palmetto bugs are attracted to moisture. In fact, they will try to look for water in the plants inside your house, especially those that are placed in pots. You can also spray disinfectants all over the floor and kitchen surfaces. If you remove all water and food sources inside your house, then you are also driving away the pesky palmetto bugs.
  • Poisoning – You can use baits to get rid of palmetto bugs. Just make sure that the baited traps have openings big enough as a point of entry for the palmetto bug. Liquid baits are good for getting rid of palmetto bugs because they satisfy the needs of the pest for water and food. All you have to do is to leave the traps next to a post or a wall, especially near kitchen counters, stoves and sinks. Always check on the baited traps and make sure that they are being consumed. If not, then you better transfer the traps to another location. If you are planning to place your baited traps in the kitchen, make sure that there are not other food items in the kitchen because the palmetto bugs might go for the food and not the bait instead.

Controlling the population of palmetto bugs is not difficult, because with the methods described above, you do not even need to hire professionals to deal with the problem for you. You can do this all by yourself. Just be responsible enough and recognize your role as a housekeeper, to make sure that you and the other people in the house live a pest-free life.

Click here for more information about how to get rid of palmetto bugs

8 People reacted on this

  1. No tip here. Just want to know for sure about the difference between a cockroacha and the palemetto bug. When one of these insect dies, do they lie on their back?

  2. Beer works! I used to buy cheap and stinky beer to put in containers in the garden to kill all the slugs….seems like the roaches like to party too. Each container would drown as many roaches as slugs. Then just flip the container over in the garden and a feast will be held that night by happy raccoons.

  3. Tonight a roach came out of my closet whe n I got a towel. later a 2in. roach caught my eye on the wall. I chased it off and it went under my bed . I started to spray and 2 more come out of my bed . i killed one and the other gets under my dresser. 3more arrived 0o and I gave up

  4. Question- Do Palmetto bugs bite? We live in New York, took a trip down South &
    seem to have brought back a few stow-a-way Palmetto bugs. Nasty! One of my
    kids has a site on his back, Doctor says, “spider bite.” doesn’t look like much
    but is very painful. It blistered & broke. could it be from a Palmetto bug? We
    do have spiders too. Also have cats & dogs & need to be careful what we use to

  5. My family and I moved into a downtown apartment. My husband noticed one of those bugs in the bathroom. It grossed me out and I had a coniption. I bought this eco-friendly bug spray from AG Organics and sprayed it everywhere in the bathroom. A couple of days later my husband noticed one that seemed to be dying. The stuff works but needlessly to say we’re still planning our move.

  6. Last night, I was watching TV, and I saw a palmetto bug crawling, then I got out of bed to kill it with a shoe, it ran so fast, it probaly was going 10 mph! And I’m 9 and typing this on the web on my DSi! if need tips ask me

  7. Do Palmetto bugs come in through

    Toronto plumbing? I have heard of different bugs and snakes being able to do that.

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