When it comes to controlling pests it is important to start with a proper identification. Control protocols are often specific, and getting it wrong can have many undesirable consequences. This is often the case with palmetto bugs.
Palmetto bugs get their name because they like to hide under palmetto leaves. In South Carolina, we have several palmetto trees, which are also called palm trees. So, these bugs are an issue in our service area. But, not all bugs that hide under palmetto leaves are palmetto bugs. The specific bug that is being referred to when the term palmetto bug is used is most often the American cockroach. But it can also be applied to other cockroach species.
The American cockroach has a strong distribution in the Southeastern United States, and a lesser distribution as far up as Massachusetts, and as far west as California. It is the largest cockroach that gets into homes, but it actually prefers to be in moist areas outside of a home. When it gets inside, it can create many problems for a family.
An American cockroach, known scientifically as Periplaneta americana, is chestnut colored with a yellowish infinity symbol on the back of its head. It has six legs, two antennae, and wings. While it doesn't fly much and it is a horrible flier, it is known to take flight on hot summer days. It has thorn-like tactile spines on its legs. These are used for touch. An adult American cockroach can be as much as 50 mm long.
When American cockroaches (palmetto bugs) get into a home, they can lead to the following:
- For some people, these cockroaches can cause an immediate allergic reaction when they crawl on their skin.
- There is a direct link between American cockroaches and Asthma. It is estimated that 25 to 300 million people living in the U.S. struggle with respiratory illness, which can be exacerbated by cockroaches.
- Roaches are linked to 33 kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms, and are able to spread over seven other human pathogens.
- American cockroaches are drawn to dirty, bacteria-laden areas, such as trash cans, compost piles, sewers, toilets, and more. They travel from these dirty location to food prep surfaces, plate cabinets, food storage, silverware drawers, and other sensitive location. They are even known to perch on the bristles of a toothbrush.
- Cockroaches can chew their way into paper or cardboard food packages and taint the food inside.
- While these cockroaches don't prefer to bite, they are known to bite when food resources are limited.This is usually when populations grow out of control. Bites from cockroaches are often on eyelids or around the mouth. Bite wounds often swell because they are immediately infected with harmful bacteria from the cockroach during the bite event.
- They can jump you out of your skin.
How To Prevent Palmetto Bugs
- These are moisture pests. Anything you do to control moisture around the perimeter of your home, or inside your home, can deter these bugs. Keep leaves raked up. Address leaky spigots and obstructed gutters. And consider adding fans or a dehumidifier to your cellar.
- Keep trash in sealed containers.
- Keep things clean inside your home.
- Put dishes in soapy water, rather than next to the sink to be washed.
- Put food items in sealed containers.
- Put pet food down only during mealtimes.
- Inspect your exterior walls and seal any gaps, crack, or holes.
- Clean the sides of your oven on a routine basis--about every 6 months.
- Vacuum thoroughly to be sure that there are no food remnants for cockroaches to eat.
The best way to deal with palmetto bugs is to have ongoing pest control service for your home. At Spencer Pest Services we offer a year-round service plan that covers over 20 pests, including cockroaches. Through a process of inspection, monitoring, targeted treatments, and communication, we make sure your property has the best protection possible.
When bugs get into your home, they can be more than just a nuisance. No home should be without essential pest protection. Reach out to us today and learn about The Essential Package from Spencer Pest Services, and get your protection in place today.