Palmetto bugs are cockroaches that dwell within the southern United States, and they are particularly abundant within southern Louisiana’s wet landscape. Although most experts consider palmetto bugs and smokybrown cockroaches to be two common nicknames for one species, the term “palmetto bug” is sometimes used as a catch-all term for cockroach pests of several species, particularly the Florida woods cockroach and the American cockroach. Palmetto bugs and American cockroaches can be hard for laymen to differentiate, as both of these species are relatively large in size at around 1.5 to 2 inches in body length, and both inhabit high-moisture environments where decay and filth may be abundant. Palmetto bugs are often found within the moist soil in flower beds, beneath decaying plant matter, and underneath rocks. Considering the palmetto bug’s preference for dark, damp environments where filth and decaying matter are easy to come by, it should not be surprising to learn that millions of these roaches inhabit sewers, which is another habitat that the roaches share with American cockroaches. In fact, both palmetto bugs and American cockroaches have been known to traverse through sewer pipes before eventually emerging from indoor drains. These roaches have been found emerging from sinks, bathtubs and floor drains, as well as toilets.
Palmetto bugs are typically around half an inch shorter in body length than American cockroaches, and palmetto bugs possess a black exterior, while American cockroaches have a reddish-brown appearance. Both of these species also possess the ability to fly, but luckily, they are poor flyers and they rarely go airborne. Since many palmetto bugs maintain a presence within sewers and septic tanks they can spread bacteria to humans and food sources easily, possibly leading to serious diseases, including salmonella. If that is not enough, palmetto bugs have also been known to inflict bites on humans, which can cause skin irritation. While palmetto bugs are occasionally associated with filth, the roaches will establish a presence within any area of a home where high moisture and darkness are available, so these roaches can become a problem in even the most immaculate of living conditions.
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