What is Palmetto Bug (American Cockroach) ?

Palmetto Bugs picture

Palmetto Bugs picture

The Palmetto Bug is also called American Cockroach – Periplaneta Americana, or water bug, lives and multiply in the sewers of every major city of the United States, it is very nasty pest that needs to be controlled. They can leave the sewers and move into buildings, carrying all sorts of waste materials on its body, transferring over 33 kinds of bacteria causing diseases, 6 kinds of parasitic worms and 7 kinds of human pathogens, found on that waste. They feed on decaying organic matter aside from other food as well as fermenting food.

These cockroaches was introduced in the United States from Africa and with the extensive global shipping that cockroaches crawl along with, they have been transported throughout the world such as Spain, Greece, Cape Town, Taiwan, Durban and South Africa.

What Do They Look Like

The Palmetto Bug is large in size that can grow up to 2 inches long when mature. They also have wings when adults that help them get to one place and to another, yet are also one of the fastest running insects.  They are reddish brown with a yellowish margin on their body area behind the head. They too have eyes that are large and compound each featuring over 2000 individual lenses allowing them to be active at night rather when there is light. Being tropical, they also prefer to live in damp and warm areas such as steam and boiler rooms. They cannot always be found in houses as the drain traps are full of water in many houses, thus preventing them to enter.

Where Can They Be Found

Palmetto Bug are normally found in apartment buildings, most especially in basements, cracks, porches, foundations, walkways, laundry and furnace rooms, but not always on the upper floors. They are usually found by pest control professionals in prisons, restaurants, hospitals, offices and groceries.

What to do about Them

It is essential to monitor any possible entry of Palmetto Bug especially through crawl space to avoid infestations. Waste collection goods found in these crawl spaces are food to these pests as well and this can cause a major infestation throughout the establishment as more food will be sought by these pests.

These Palmetto Bugs can crawl out of the sewers and they crawl out from a dry drain. With the many drains that can be found in large buildings, but not all of them can be monitored. It is essential that water has to be poured through that drain every day consistently to avoid the cockroaches from climbing out. Having a full drain trap will prevent the Palmetto Bugs from climbing out as they cannot swim.

Living in an apartment building that is infested with the Palmetto Bug is health threatening because of the diseases they carry. Even children have allergic reactions to cockroach allergens.  But even working in a commercial building can also risk this infestation and spread of diseases. This mainly why, people should be able to distinguish these Palmetto Bugs and have the knowledge of what insecticides can be used to control them.


Widely known as the common insect pests that infest homes, food establishments and other commercial buildings and shops, cockroaches are from the family of Blattaria. The work cockroach itself is derived from the Spanish word cucaracha, chafer, beetle where cuca means kinds of caterpillar. Overall, there are over 4500 species of cockroach but only 30 species have been known to infest human residences and over 5 species are recognized as pests.

We all consider cockroaches to be disgusting and dirty, even by just thinking about them and they are all the more disgusting when they are found in our homes. However, the fact is these cockroaches live in a wide range of environments all over the world, but would mostly prefer warm conditions in buildings, homes and structures. As they are disgusting, cockroaches tend to leave a chemical trace in their waste aside from letting out airborne pheromones for swarming and the purpose of mating. This alone is the reason as to why they are able to mechanically spread disease organisms such as bacteria and the like that leads to food poisoning and a lot of other sicknesses.

Here are the 5 popular species of cockroaches that invade our homes:

The Many Types of Cockroaches

American roaches (Palmetto Bug)

Palmetto Bug

Palmetto Bug


As cockroaches have similar characteristics, the American Cockroach is different in size and is known to be the largest of its kind of the cockroach family. The adult American Cockroach is around 40mm long and reddish brown in color with a yellow band border around the head section that makes it stand out. This species can fly, allowing it to move from one place to another, in warm weather, without difficulty. The American Cockroach can easily be found in dark, warm and moist areas such as rubbish dumps, sub floors, roof areas, unoccupied dwellings and the like that are found away from human activities.

They feed on decaying organic waste, fermenting food and water; sometimes it can survive for months going without feeding. They are known to produce thousands of eggs all through the years while the female American Cockroach can produce over 50 egg cases of the size of 8mm to 5mm having 10 to 16 eggs in them. These egg cases are glued to certain items that are usually transported, such as cardboard boxes and wooden crates. The nymphs can mature in just between 6 to 12 months and after 10 moults in a year, they reach maturity and lives on for another year.

German Cockroaches

German Cockroach

German Cockroach (scourse Sarah Camp)

This is a common cockroach species that are light brown in color, small and somewhat flat in size and has 2 dark stripes at the front of its head. These German Cockroaches tend to eat anything as well as accumulated and built up cooking grease on stoves and kitchen walls and corners. The adult German Cockroach can grow up to 10 to 15 mm long and have wings, but they do not fly to get from one place to another. They can be found in warm areas that have plentiful of food and moisture such as in pantries, cupboards, and kitchens, near water heaters and under sinks, anywhere near human activity.

If you ever find a stray German Cockroach during the day, this could only mean that there is a large colony infesting your home already. The American Cockroach and German Cockroach have many similarities however, The German Cockroaches are the most prolific breeders of all pest cockroaches that lay egg cases having over 40 eggs inside. These cases are about 8mm long, 3mm high and 2mm wide. These egg cases can be laid for over 4 times in a year after the female reaches maturity of adulthood in 40 to 60 days after 6 moults and the egg capsules are only ejected from their bodies once the babies are ready to be hatched. As these cockroaches are the most persistent in the United States, they can multiply quickly.

Australian cockroaches

Australian cockroaches

Australian cockroaches

Another popular type is Australian cockroaches which share a lot of similarities with their American cousins, American roaches, such as the reddish brown color and the ability to fly however not everything is the same between these two different species. The differences include obvious differences in size, these are nearly 10 mm smaller than their American cousins, on average, and the wings have a tint of yellow which was absent from the wings of American roaches.
Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches


The Oriental Cockroach or water bugs can grow up to 25mm in length making them a big type of cockroach that move slowly that how they are supposed to move. They are dark brown and black in color having a shiny exterior. These Oriental Cockroaches tend to live in dark and damp high moisture areas such as cellars and damp mulch or basements. They can hatch about 15 eggs and can live for over 2 years.
Smokybrown cockroaches

Smokybrown cockroaches

Smokybrown cockroaches


These types of cockroaches tend to wander indoors only if they find a food source. As these Smoky Broan Cockroaches prefer plants as its nourishment they can often be found in gardens and greenhouses and anywhere else that humans would not dwell in.  They have find plenty of nourishment in rotting fruits and vegetables, so it is best to make sure that you do not have such decaying organic matter in your doorways or windowsills or edges of buildings for that matter.

All walls and foundations should be inspected and sealed to avoid these pests from entering your home. Organic desiccant like diatomaceous earth can be used to line the perimeter of the house with. The Smoky Brown Cockroach is related to the American Cockroach but they are smaller in size, an inch long and have identical mahogany colors.
Florida Wood Roaches
Florida Wood Roaches

Florida Wood Roaches are the stinkiest one of the lot. These are famous, and can be easily recognized, by the foul smell they produce whenever they sense some danger in their surroundings. The name of this species has a lot of significance as these are usually found in the bushy areas of Florida and these are very common there. There is a lot of variety in the size of these bugs, these seem to have been particularly affected by the course of evolution. The length can range anywhere between 35 and 50 mm. The color can range anywhere between reddish brown and black and their body is wide, similar to oriental cockroaches in some ways including sharing their glossiness. These have very small wings located near their head but they’re hardly visible and they can’t fly. The wings seem to be a relic from some past time however they’ve evolved to adapt their lifestyle according to their new habitat in thick trees where they don’t need to fly as much.

Know the Cockroach Facts

Well known as pests and very dirty disgusting creatures, cockroaches have the ability to survive and adapt in different areas they can find and make their home. Surprisingly, cockroaches have also been found in deserts and many parts of the Arctic.

  • Cockroaches have white blood cells than red blood cells
  • Female cockroaches need only to mate once then remain pregnant and lay eggs throughout their lives causing an instant infestation of their kind
  • Cockroaches can survive a week without water and month without food, similar to humans
  • Cockroaches can survive for over a week without their heads till they die due to dehydration
  • Pheromone is left behind by cockroaches such as a trail that can attract other cockroaches
  • Cockroaches have the ability to hold their breaths for over 40 minutes
  • Cockroaches’ feelers can be used as a nose
  • Cockroaches’ turns white with black eyes after it sheds its skin and then continues to grow back its black skin.
  • American cockroaches have the ability to breath underwater over 40 minutes
  • Cockroaches can cause allergies, skin rashes and respiratory problems.
  • American cockroaches can run up to 3 miles an hour
  • The longest size a cockroach can grow into is 6 inches and weigh 50 grams
  • German cockroaches can lay egg sacs each month that protects over 40 eggs
  • Like any omnivorous scavengers, cockroaches can and will feed on meat and pant materials
  • Over 5000 cockroach species can be found and identified all through out the world
  • Cockroaches ejects a very unpleasant scent or odor
  • These cockroaches are carriers of bacteria causing diseases such as salmonella, dysentery, gastro enteritis and typhoid.
  • Cockroach infestations can normally begin in your cabinets

Cockroaches are not a nice situation to deal with especially with the fact that they are carriers of such diseases that can prove to be very fatal. Being able to distinguish and identify the types of cockroaches there are can make your mission of terminating them easier. This knowledge can help in identifying the effective cockroach killers that are most effective and best suitable for your homes.

All cockroach infestations have to be dealt with immediately after finding out about it. Engaging the assistance of a professional cockroach terminator is quite expensive, but very efficient as they are the experts with the skills and knowledge about cockroaches and their habitats. You can also opt to eradicate or exterminate these cockroaches by using the same professional products these exterminators use that can be bought online for a very fair price. A variety of products can be opted to match your preferences and household. Use these products wisely and by following the instructions to the dot. After successfully killing these cockroaches, you can clean up the areas with bleach properly making sure that no chemicals have been left in the open and that the cockroaches have not left their trails of waste behind them.

Quick Reminders about Cockroaches

Cockroaches can survive for about 2 weeks or so without water and can live for a month without food. They can also survive for a week without their heads attached. Cockroaches can also run for up to 3 miles an hour and have known to been in existence since the time of dinosaurs. Several species of female cockroaches can mate once and then remain pregnant throughout their lives.

Diseases that Cockroaches Spread

Cockroaches are carriers of virus and bacteria. they can cause diseases such as dysentery, enteric fever, typhoid, poliomyelitis, leprosy, bubonic plague, diarrhea and gastroenteritis. Cockroach dust on the other hand can trigger asthma. These are the main reasons why it is best to eliminate these pests from our homes immediately.


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