Difference between Cockroach and Palmetto Bug?

The cockroach is another colloquial name for cockroaches and the Palmetto bug is one of them. Palmetto bugs are only one species among a highly diverse group of insects, but their distinction is important to discuss. This article discusses the important facts about cockroaches and the distinction of the Palmetto bug.

Difference between a Cockroach and Palmetto Bug?

  1. The cockroach is a general term to refer to all species of cockroaches, while the Palmetto bug is one such species.
  2. Roach has a worldwide distribution, while the palmetto insect is native to Florida and the Caribbean islands.
  3. Cockroaches come in different sizes while the Palmetto insect is a relatively large species than others.
  4. Cockroaches include some common pest species, but the palmetto insect is not a pest.
  5. The palm heart insect moves more slowly than most cockroach species.
  6. The palmetto bug can emit a strong odor, but not all cockroaches can do this.

Although most cockroaches can live in different climates, bed bugs prefer warm, humid habitats.

What is a Palmetto Insect?

Palmetto bugs are a species of cockroach.

Insects are native to southern Africa. Slave ships brought cockroaches to America during the 19th century.

There are two types of palmetto bugs that are most commonly found in warm American states. They are the smoky brown cockroach and the American cockroach.

Smoky brown cockroaches have dark bodies while the American cockroach is black. The American cockroach also has dark spots that resemble sunglasses around the insect’s eyes.


Where do palmetto bugs live? Cockroaches are commonly found in southern regions where climates are mild. Insects prefer temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and cannot survive in climates below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Palmetto bugs are attracted to warm, moist areas. Abroad, they are commonly found in:

  • Fertilizer
  • piles of wood
  • Sheets
  • cracks and crevices
  • roof tiles
  • Foundations
  • crawl spaces
  • lakes and pools
  • vines
  • sewers

If palmetto bugs get into the house, they will hide in dark, damp places. This includes basements, under sinks, and under major appliances (like a dishwasher or refrigerators).


When a female palmetto bug lifts her wings in the air, it means she is ready to mate. As it does so, its body releases pheromones to attract nearby males.

A male flaps his wings to signal that he wants to mate with a female. The males move backward on the female and deposit sperm. A female palmetto bug only needs to mate once to remain fertile for the rest of her life.

One to two days after mating, the female palmetto will lay egg capsules. She will use saliva to trap the eggs in a damp area that will not be disturbed. This includes branches, walls, and plants.

The female will continue to deposit egg capsules for the rest of her life (which could be 15 to 20 weeks). Each capsule contains about fifteen eggs.

The eggs hatch into nymphs after 50 days. The larvae take six to 12 months before reaching adulthood. They are less than a quarter of an inch long and have a grayish-brown color. Nymphs’ colors turn reddish-brown as they enter adulthood.


Palmetto bugs have steel stomachs. Your diet may include:

  • decaying wood
  • Plants
  • other insects
  • fungi and algae
  • grease
  • crumbs
  • Me at
  • Paper
  • animal food
  • Leather
  • Toiletries

The stomach of the palmetto insect has the ability to digest any type of organic matter, which allows the insects to enjoy a diversified diet.


Palmetto insects live in large groups. They can survive up to a year, with females living slightly longer than males. Insects are natural survivors and can live without food for up to three months.

How to spot palmetto bugs

Palmetto bugs are between 1.5 and 2 inches long, making them the largest type of cockroach found in the United States. Some long-lived males are over two inches long.

The insects have a dark brown back and a light brown head. Palmetto bugs are nocturnal, so you’re more likely to encounter them at night.

Males have wings that extend further than females. But while both males and females have wings, the palmetto insect is rarely found flying.

Palmetto Bugs vs. Waterbugs

Palmetto insects prefer humid regions and gravitate towards water. In doing so, they are commonly confused with bed bugs.

bed bugs are aquatic creatures. They have legs that act like oars and stay afloat. While palmetto bugs live in moist areas, they cannot swim.

Palmettos are commonly found on sticks or logs around water, while the bugs live in water.

Palmetto Bugs vs. Baratas

Palmetto bugs are one of the 4,500 species of cockroaches worldwide. Although palmetto bugs are cockroaches, not all types of cockroaches are palmetto bugs.

People in the south refer to cockroaches as palmetto bugs because they are commonly found around palm fronds and bushes.

Do Palmetto Bugs Bite?

While the bugs can be annoying to find in your home, palmetto bugs don’t pose an immediate threat to your family’s safety.

Insects will avoid people as much as possible. They rarely attack humans. If they bite, the bugs will leave a small red mark that disappears within hours.

While not physically threatening, palmetto bugs can trigger asthma and allergies. Their droppings and skin peeling stimulate allergic reactions and can cause breathing problems.

Palmetto bugs can also transmit bacteria such as salmonella and contaminate food sources.

What Attracts Palmetto Bugs to the Home?

Palmettos and other types of cockroaches will come into your home for three reasons.

First, bad weather drives insects indoors. Extreme temperatures, flooding, and severe storms can cause Palmetto insects to crawl indoors for refuge.

Second, palmetto bugs will retreat to a home if there is food. Trash, pet food, and clutter can become an easy meal for a palmetto bug. Insects hide during the day and feed at night, making it difficult to spot an infestation.

Third, palmetto bugs are attracted to moist, damp areas. Leaky pipes, stagnant water, holes, and cracks around the house create the perfect home for palm trees to lay their eggs.

Preventing Palmetto Insect Infestations

Palmetto insects are adaptable and not shy. If the weather outside turns cold or inappropriate, they will feel right at home inside your home.

But the more homeowners know about why palmetto bugs are attracted to their homes the easier it is to avoid an infestation.

Keeping a tidy house can prevent insects from finding easily accessible food sources. Clean your kitchen regularly, don’t leave food out in the open, and empty the trash regularly. Store pet food overnight.

Clean your home’s exterior. Rake dead leaves and discard rotten logs.

Decrease humidity throughout your home. Use dehumidifiers to keep the air dry. Check for water leaks around appliances, under sinks, and in bathrooms. Do not keep standing water in or around your home.

Keep your home entrances secure to prevent insects from entering your home.

Seal cracks and holes around your foundation. Repair tears in window screens. Cover gaps around doors, windows, and attic vents.

You can also stop roach infestations by planting shrubs that naturally repel roaches. Catnip, bay leaves, chrysanthemums, cucumber, and garlic are plants known to keep palmetto bugs away from your home. Adding these bushes around the perimeter of your home can prevent cockroaches from seeking shelter within your home.

How to Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs

Despite preventive measures, palmetto bugs can still find themselves inside your home. If this happens, there are a few different ways to get rid of the bugs and stop the infestation from spreading.

If you find a lone palmetto, try to kill it. They will likely be crawling around, making it easier to squash them with a shoe or heavy object.

The problem with seeing a cockroach is that there are probably more cockroaches that you don’t see. Set up traps in areas where roaches are more likely to be frequent. This includes under kitchen sinks, in laundry rooms, and around garbage cans.

Keep in mind that if you are using the heart of palm traps keep them out of reach of small children or pets.

Natural ingredients can act as a poison for pests. Vinegar and water mixtures will kill the bugs without posing a risk to small children or other animals.

Mix distilled white vinegar with warm water. Spray the mixture on areas where palmetto bugs have been seen. The smell should keep them from returning. Boric acid also works.

If you’re overwhelmed with a palmetto bug infestation, professionals can help.

professional pest control company will determine the severity of your infestation and implement the most effective elimination methods. Professionals can safely administer pest control treatments to get rid of palmetto bugs once and for all.

Let your local experts eliminate household pests

Palmetto bugs are a type of cockroach that can become a serious household pest. Insects can carry harmful bacteria and trigger allergic reactions.

While there are a number of ways to prevent an infestation, palmetto bugs are resourceful and may still find a way into your home.

Are you tired of dealing with palmetto bugs? If so, let our qualified pest control team help. Our experts know how to ensure your home is free of pesky pests and rodents.

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