Imagine how terrifying it can be seeing a giant palmetto bug running across the kitchen floor as you prepare a meal or coming out of the cupboard just as you are picking something.
Would you even want to give it a second glance or scream and run out of the room? But what do you do about it? Many people will grab something and hit it to death. However, what you might not know is that the giant bug might be a sign of a much bigger problem. A palmetto bug infestation.
So what are palmetto bugs? And how do you get rid of them?
First things first a palmetto bug is the general name that will in most instances refer to the American cockroach. But in many cases and different geographical locations, it is also thought to represent other cockroach types such as the Australian roaches, oriental roaches, and Florida woods roaches.
The correct definition of the palmetto bug is a subject for another day, and so let’s jump straight into how to get rid of palmetto bugs and the dangers they pose.
But first, the infestation signs.
Signs of infestation
How do you know that you have a palmetto bug problem?
It is vital to know this because you cannot deal with a problem if you are not sure that it is there. But, with these bugs, you only need to watch out for the following signs.
Sighting is the surest way to determine that there is a palmetto bug infestation. And you do not even need to see several of them because just one large one is enough indication. When there is a severe bug infestation, it is common to see these bugs even during the daytime.
- Unpleasant smell
Palmetto bugs will produce a sharp, oily odor. When there are many of these bugs in your home, the scent becomes very pungent, and it is hard to miss. And so if you notice any unusual and unpleasant smell emanating from behind cupboards and other dark places it can be a sign of a palmetto bug infestation.
- Shell casing and shed skin
Shell casings are a sure sign that you have a bug infestation. Their shells are small, and they come in an oval shape and are mostly dark brown. In many cases, you will see them behind kitchen cabinets and refrigerators and under stoves, sinks, and drains.
Also, watch out for shed skin because the immature palmetto bugs will shed their skin often. When you have an infestation, you can see their old hides in different places and sometimes they will include a whole or parts of the casing.
- Fecal matter
Like most other bugs the palmetto will deposit their fecal waste along the paths that they use. And the more the palmetto bugs in the house, the more the excrements that you are likely to see. The fecal matter looks like some black sand grains, and you should also watch out for some dark colored specks which are their regurgitated food, and they resemble grains of ground black pepper.
How to get rid of bugs
Well, now you know what the palmetto bugs are and the signs of infestation. But, how do you get rid of these nasty bugs? And how easy/hard is it to get rid of the infestation?
Very easy, in fact in most instances you will not need to spend any cash, and your home can be bug-free in just a few weeks. Here is how to get rid of palmetto bugs in 4 easy, inexpensive and efficient ways.
Clean your house
Do you know why the palmetto bugs are in your house?
Simple, because they have the three mains things that they need to survive which are water, food, and harborage. And so just getting rid of one of the three can be enough to eliminate them, or at least reduces the population. When you realize that you have these bugs in the house, you should always start by giving the house some thorough cleaning.
- Vacuum your carpets and rugs daily if possible.
- De-clutter your kitchen and all the cabinets and cupboards in the house to make sure that they do not have a hiding place.
- Sweep your floors immediately when you drop some food and wash them daily.
- If you have any opened or leftover food, always store them in an airtight container.
- Keep the covers in your trash cans and pet food containers tight at all times.
- Clean your dishes immediately after every meal and store them.
Caulk the crevices and cracks
Although palmetto bugs prefer to live outdoors in their natural habitat, they do not mind the indoors as is more comfortable and with lots of food sources.
They use tiny cracks to gain entry into your home and so sealing them can be a useful way of keeping them out.
As you try to exterminate the bugs, you should spare some time to caulk the tiny cracks and crevices near your windows and doors as they are palmetto bugs’ favorite point of entry into the house.
Roach baits and traps
Baits and traps are another useful way of dealing with these pests. You can use either of the two or combine them for quick results. When using baits, you should spread some boric acid at places where you see the bugs.
You can also make a homemade palmetto bug bait by mixing the boric acid with some sugar and flour in equal parts before adding some water to form little balls. When the bugs eat these toxic balls, they will die out.
When it comes to traps, the best idea is to buy the commercial ones like the Roach Motel from Black Flag as they are more efficient. All you need is to place the trap in an area that the bugs frequent and wait to collect their bodies.
The best organic pesticides for dealing with palmetto bugs are those that contain citrus. For a few dollars, you can get a good pesticide that you can use to exterminate these roaches. But, as you buy one the golden rule should always be to make sure that it does not contain any chemicals that may be harmful to your pets or plants.
You would not want to get your precious cat or dog sick just to get rid of some pesky bugs, would you?
Also, you can make a pesticide at home if you are not willing to spend some cash to buy one. For a potent palmetto bug spray, mix a tablespoon of black pepper with some tobacco (3.5 grams) and liquid dishwashing detergent (about one teaspoon).
Does a palmetto bug bite?
The size of these roaches is terrifying for anyone seeing them for the first time. It is due to their size and appearance that most people end up seeing them as a threat not only because they can spread disease but also harm them physically through bites.
But do palmetto bugs bite? Yes, they can. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
But, you should not be scared because although they can bite, they will rarely do it since they see human beings as a threat. And so they will always flee at first sight of a person and will only bite for self-defense or as a last resort.
How to treat palmetto bug bites
So what do you do in the unlikely event that one of these bugs bites you?
Since they do not have any venom, the bites will not require any medical attention. They will only leave a red mark behind with some mild pain. All you need is to keep it clean while also watching out for signs of infection.
In some rare instances, the palmetto bugs will carry some disease, and so it is always good to clean the bite immediately with some commercial antiseptic or diluted hydrogen peroxide to kill off any bacteria or germs.
How to prevent a palmetto bug infestation
Of course, it will always be easier for you to deal with the nasty palmetto bugs if you can prevent them from infesting your home.
Here are a few infestation prevention tips.
- Keep your home clean at all times. Wash dishes immediately, keep food in an airtight container and take the garbage out often.
- Seal up cracks, crevices and all possible spaces that the bugs can use to get into your home.
- Put some mesh over the floor drains and vents since the roaches can also use them to enter your house.
- Use natural pesticides and repellents to repel them and keep them far away from your house.
- Fix your leaking faucets and pipes to eliminate their water sources.
The simple truth is that palmetto bugs can be terrifying and many people will even get nightmares just from seeing them. But, now you know how to get rid of palmetto bugs, and so you will never have to experience the terrifying ordeal of finding them in your kitchen.
Can you handle these pesky bugs now? Sure, you can! And so it is now up to you.