To outsiders, Floridians may sound like they use the “palmetto bugs” and “cockroaches” interchangeably. The reality is, they are similar and different from a standard cockroach. If you have ever wondered what a palmetto bug is, then keep reading.

What Is A Palmetto Bug?

A palmetto bug is a type of cockroach that resides in palmetto trees and palmetto shrubs. These distinct trees reside primarily from South Carolina to Southern Florida. They can also be found in Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Turks & Caicos Islands. Other names for these pesky pests are the water bug and Croton bug.

Types Of Palmetto Bugs

Palmettos bugs are types of cockroaches that are found wherever you find a palmetto tree or shrub. However, there are three cockroaches that are identified as palmetto bugs. A pest professional in South Florida must know these three species so they can correctly treat for them

American Cockroach

The American cockroach is the most common palmetto bug in the U.S. It is the largest cockroach that has a “shield” that protects its head. It is reddish-brown and features a design that looks like sunglasses on its shield. This cockroach is also winged and loves to fly into bright lights.

Smoky Brown Cockroach

The Smoky Brown cockroach is a darker brown color and does not have the sunglasses pattern on its shield. They are also winged and are a bit smaller than the American cockroach. It loves humidity, making Southern Florida an ideal place to reside and wreak havoc on homeowners.

Florida Woods Cockroach

Are Florida Woods cockroaches called palmetto bugs? Yes and this species is a bit different than the other two. To begin with, they range from reddish-brown to black in color. It is larger than the Smoky Brown cockroach but smaller than the American cockroach. They have wings but they are small and not useful for flying. The worst part about these palmetto bugs is the stench. They are known as the Florida Stinkroach because they put off a foul smell that plagues many homeowners in Florida.

Identifying Palmetto Bugs

Identifying a palmetto bug infestation is easier than most realize. Before you call a pest management professional, here are the clues to look for.

Musty Smell

You can clean your home top-to-bottom and the musty smell won’t go away. It could be more noticeable around garbage cans, the kitchen, mulch piles, palm trees, and woodpiles.

Chew Marks

This cockroach species love food and will often leave chew marks around their dinner. Not only that, they like to chew their way into your home despite your efforts to keep them out. If you have some new holes around entrances and windows, look for chew marks.

Wings And Droppings

American cockroaches are notorious for leaving behind their wings when they traipse through your home. Many of these roaches will also molt in your home, leaving exoskeletons all over the home. You won’t see them without their shell, they will hide after they shed. And they stay hidden until their new exoskeleton forms.

Other droppings include eggs, fecal matter, and smear marks.

Are They Dangerous?

Yes and no. Palmetto bugs typically do not bite very often. If they do, the marks are small and disappear quickly. However, the biggest issue is that they can spread disease. They do this through any type of dropping that you come into contact with and through bites.

Get Help Fast

The best thing you can do is set up routine pest control for your home. Our team provides excellent support for your home and can educate you on palmetto bugs and cockroaches. You will also learn about prevention methods to keep your home safe from palmetto bugs. Call us today!