Palmetto bugs (or American cockroaches) may be the number one insect pest encountered by homeowners and businesses in South Carolina. They can contaminate food, damage material goods, and structures, and carry many germs that spread diseases.
Identify Palmetto Bugs
Palmetto bug nymphs are small roaches that resemble termite soldiers or young cockroaches. Once palmetto bugs grow into adults, they look like American cockroaches, only more significant, around 1 ½ inches long as adults. Adult male roaches have wings, whereas female ones don’t. When at rest, the wings lay flat over their backs and cover part of their abdomen, much like ladybugs’ wings which inevitably hide their legs.
Get rid of palmetto bugs: 10 best methods
Even though these ugly insects are known as palmetto bugs, they may not necessarily be found near palm trees. They can harbor in any dark and moist shrubbery, so inspect the surrounding vegetation around the building to see where they are hiding. Look for accumulations of sticks or leaves, crevices in exterior walls, roof overhangs, and other moist areas where roaches might hide during the day.
If you spot some on your property, you can take preventive measures by keeping all shrubs cut back away from the ground and water down any standing water that could attract them to your home. Experts recommend using baits instead of insecticide sprays because of their persistence and large numbers, but you can also kill them with bug sprays or employ a pest exterminator to take care of the problem.
1. Get rid of Palmetto Bugs by Baiting
Palmetto bugs are scavengers, so they find food anywhere. You can eliminate these insects by baiting out any dark corner on your property where palmetto bugs hide during the day. Bait stations are available in hardware stores, home improvement centers, and online marketplaces for around $8-$12 per station.
2. Remove Palmetto Bugs with Insecticides
If you have an infestation of palmetto bugs, insecticide sprays may be the answer. Before using these products, you must identify where the roaches are hiding to ensure that you direct the spray to the roach’s hiding place. Some over-the-counter sprays effective against palmetto bugs include Raid Max Bug Barrier Aerosol Spray, Ortho Home Defense MAX Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter, and Tempo SC Ultra. All cost around $5-$8 per can.
3. Use a Fogger to Kill palmetto bugs
When dealing with a large infestation of palmetto bugs, a fogger may be the best way to eliminate them. Foggers can be purchased at most hardware stores for around $20 and will cover an area of up to 1,000 square feet. It’s essential to read the directions carefully and follow all the safety precautions before using a fogger. It’s also recommended that someone help you with the fogging process as it can be dangerous if not done correctly.
4. Employ a Pest Exterminator
If you have a severe infestation, it may be necessary to hire a pest exterminator. Exterminators have the expertise and equipment to eliminate palmetto bugs quickly and other pests such as ants, spiders, and rodents.
A good exterminator will come out to your home and do a walk-through to identify the source of the infestation and the best way to get rid of the bugs. Prices for exterminating services vary depending on the size of your home, the severity of the infestation, and the methods used. Expect to pay anywhere from $75-$200 for a one-time treatment.
5. Use a Vacuum Cleaner to Remove Palmetto Bugs
If you only have a few palmetto bugs, you can remove them with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure you dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately after use or clean out the canister thoroughly, or else the roaches will escape and come back.
6. Block Entry Points for Palmetto Bugs
One of the best ways to keep palmetto bugs from entering your home is to block their entry points. This can be done by caulking around windows and doors, installing door sweeps, or using screens on doors and windows that fit tightly.
7. Use a Clothesline to Trap Palmetto Bugs
If you have an infestation of palmetto bugs outside, you can trap them by hanging a sheet or towel on a clothesline. The roaches will climb up the fabric to get to the light and not get down.
8. Use Diatom Earth to Kill Palmetto Bugs
Diatom earth is a powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, one-celled organisms living in prehistoric times.
This powder can be sprinkled around your house to repel palmetto bugs. It is not toxic to humans or pets, but it does act as an irritant that will cause the roaches to leave. You can find diatom earth at most hardware stores for around $10 per pound.
9. Make Your Own Palmetto Bug Trap out of Household Items
Using household items like glass jars and plastic wrap, you can make your simple trap. Fill the pot with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar or beer (palmetto bugs are attracted to both). Cover the pot with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the top. The roaches will climb up the side of the pool to get to the food but will not get down and will eventually drown.
10. Use a Bay Leaf as a Natural Repellent for Palmetto Bugs
Bay leaves are a natural deterrent for palmetto bugs. You can place them in areas where you see the roaches or put them in bags and hang them from doorways and windows. The leaves will release a scent that will make the roaches stay away.
There are many ways to get rid of palmetto bugs, but the best way depends on the severity of the infestation and the available methods. If you have a severe infestation, it’s best to call a pest exterminator who will get rid of the bugs using safe and effective ways. If you only have a few roaches, you can remove them using a vacuum cleaner or by blocking their entry points into your home. Whatever method you choose, make sure to follow all the safety precautions and be patient, it may take some time to get rid of all the palmetto bugs.
- What are palmetto bugs?
Palmetto bugs are a type of cockroach that is native to the southern United States.
- How do I get rid of palmetto bugs?
There are a few methods that can be used to get rid of palmetto bugs, including:
- Use an insecticide, either inside or outside your home.
- Use diatomaceous earth (DE) around the perimeter of your home.
- Freeze palmetto bugs with a freezer if they are caught inside your home.
- Are palmetto bugs harmful?
Palmetto bugs can cause several health problems, including:
- Skin irritation
- Eye irritation
- Digestive problems