How to Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs

Palmetto bugs, also known as American cockroaches, are frequent house pests in the southern United States. They grow to about 2 inches in length and can walk across ceilings and fly. Unless you are willing to have your house sprayed with pesticide, you have to keep them out, sweep them out or starve them out.

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A palmetto bug

Step 1

Keep palmetto bugs out by sealing off possible entry points. Use fine-mesh screening and duct tape to seal off holes around your home. Nail weatherstripping along the bottom of your doors. Stuff screening into cracks along the foundation or next to windows. If palm trees grow close to your home, seal off cracks in the roof as well. Keep all drains plugged when not in use.

Step 2

Keep palmetto bugs away. Remove all natural palmetto bug habitats within 10 feet of your home, including tall grass, foliage, piles of straw, wooden crates and patio rugs. If palm fronds overhang your roof, have them trimmed back.

Step 3

Sweep palmetto bugs out. Stepping on a palmetto bug can make a big mess; it's better to stun them with a broom and sweep them out the door or suck them up with a vacuum cleaners. Be sure to remove and seal the disposable vacuum cleaner bag as soon as possible. Vacuuming up a little boric acid will kill the bugs inside the bag.

Step 4

Starve Palmetto bugs out. Keep your food areas scrupulously clean, especially at night. Wash, dry and put away supper dishes, wring out sponges and dry the sink with a towel. Seal toasters and fruit bowls in large, zip-closed bags before you go to bed. Don't leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Seal off and remove garbage. Clean kitchen surfaces and floor with disinfectant. Palmetto bugs will try to find water in houseplants (especially those planted in pots with a water reservoir underneath) and fish tanks; the more food and water sources you can remove, the faster they will leave.

Step 5

Poison the stragglers. Purchase "roach hotel" baited traps, but be sure they have openings large enough for a palmetto bug to enter. Liquid bait appeals to their need for both food and water. Leave the traps next to the wall near sinks and stoves, especially on kitchen counters. Monitor the traps to see if the liquid poison is being consumed and relocate if necessary. Keep the kitchen food-free so the palmetto bugs will go for the bait instead.