Palmetto Bug vs. Cockroach

More than 4,500 different species of cockroaches have been discovered. The term “palmetto bug” is one of many nicknames used to refer to this common household pest. Of course, not all cockroaches are referred to as palmetto bugs. What are the differences between a palmetto bug vs. a cockroach? There are a couple of reasons why not all cockroaches are called palmetto bugs.

What is a palmetto bug?

A palmetto bug is the same thing as a cockroach. The term “palmetto bug” is used most frequently in the Southeastern United States, particularly in Florida. It can refer to a variety of large cockroaches, although according to the Mallis Handbook of Pest Control by Arnold Mallis, it is most commonly associated with Eurycotis floridana (Florida woods cockroach), Periplaneta fuliginosa (smoky brown cockroach), P. australasiae (Australian cockroach), P. americana (American cockroach), P. brunnea (brown cockroach) and Blaberus craniifer (death's head cockroach).

Why are some cockroaches called palmetto bugs?

A palmetto is a type of tropical plant with fan-shaped leaves. Cockroaches common to the Southeast United States are sometimes called palmetto bugs vs. cockroaches because they are commonly associated with the palm leaves or shrubs in that region. In fact, some cockroaches – including many of the ones listed above – take harborage in trees. There just happens to be more palm trees in the Southeast than in other areas of the United States.

If I have cockroaches, or palmetto bugs, in my trees, will they enter my home?

When cockroaches take harborage near palm trees, they primarily live at the base. However, trees placed too close to homes can pose a problem. The cockroaches may track into your home through outside openings, or by climbing the trees to access the top floors of your house.

How can I keep cockroaches out?

Managing a cockroach infestation can be a challenge. It is important to keep them out of your home. To do this, you should start by conducting an inspection on the exterior of your home. Search for any possible openings or cracks and have them sealed to prevent cockroach entry from the outside. Roaches are attracted to homes because they provide a source of food and water. Be careful about sanitizing your home. Keep the kitchen clean, throw the garbage out regularly and make sure there are no leaking faucets or other sources of standing water – this includes pet bowls. You should also keep trees trimmed, which helps prevent branches from becoming access points to your house. Another helpful trick is to change outdoor lighting to the yellow "bug" lights, which will reduce their draw for insects.

What is the difference between palmetto bugs vs. cockroaches of other kinds?

The term “palmetto bug” typically refers to cockroaches that are prone to living both indoors or outdoors, but some roaches are far more likely to live inside. These types of roaches don’t usually hide in trees or shrubbery. The most common of these types of roaches is the German cockroach. This roach prefers to live in kitchens, bathrooms, and food prep or storage areas. It has a preference for living among its own kind and can form large populations in a short period of time. In fact, it is one of the quickest reproducers among roaches. A female German cockroach and her offspring can create a colony of more than 30,000 roaches in just one year.

Keeping cockroaches out of your home will help keep you and your family safe. Roaches can carry bacteria, contaminate food, leave stains and cause foul odors. Practicing prevention methods can help keep roaches under control. A pest management professional can also help ensure that a more severe problem is not lurking somewhere in or around your home.