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How to Repel Palmetto Bugs

How to repel palmetto bugs
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    Palmetto bugs, also known as American cockroaches, are a pain for any renter or homeowner. They are attracted to moisture and warmth, so if you have a home that has both of those things available, you’ll probably have to deal with palmetto bugs at some point. The good news is that there are some things you can do to repel these little pests if they show up on your property.

    What are Palmetto Bugs?

    Palmetto bugs are a type of cockroach, but they are not your average roach. These large insects can be up to an inch long with a reddish-brown spot on their backs. They’re also known as American cockroaches, which is why you may also hear them referred to by that name if you live in the southeast region of the United States. 

    As their name suggests, palmetto bugs thrive in warm climates—the southern states make for ideal habitats for these creatures because they like to make their homes under palm trees and other large plants where it’s dark and humid.

    To get rid of these unwelcome guests from your home or yard, here’s what you need to know about how to repel palmetto bugs.


    What Attracts Palmetto Bugs?

    Palmetto bugs feed on various organic materials, such as decaying wood and other plant matter. They can also be attracted to:

    Garbage Cans

    A garbage can should be covered tightly with a lid or secured with bungee cords if you have a garbage can outside. Garbage cans left open will attract these bugs because they think they might find food in them.


    Grass Clippings

    Grass clippings left on the ground can attract palmetto bugs because they like to hide in dark places where many plants are growing around them. 

    If you cut your grass regularly and pick up the clippings, this won’t be an issue for you, but if you don’t cut it often enough, this could be an issue for you!


    Dirt Piles

    If there is a dirt pile near your house or garden, then this could be another reason why these insects are coming into your yard. The dirt pile may contain organic matter, which is something that they can use as a food source.


    Dead Trees

    Dead trees often attract palmetto bugs because they provide an ideal place to lay eggs and for the larvae stages of development (young bugs). Remove dead trees near your home, if possible.

    Cleaning up your yard can help repel palmetto bugs. If you do not have time to clean up the mess, consider hiring someone else to do it for you!


    How to Keep Palmetto Bugs Out of Your House

    keep a clean house to repel palmetto bugs

    Remove Clutter

    If you have clutter, it’s time to get rid of it.

    Palmetto bugs love Clutter. Clutter provides the perfect habitat for these pests: food, shelter, and a place to breed and hide from predators and the elements. 

    Stacks of old newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, and junk mail can quickly become a shelter for them. Palmetto bugs will eat glue from the seams of cardboard and envelopes when other food sources are unavailable. Clearing away some of your excess belongings could be a big help in solving the problem.


    Keep It Clean

    Keep your garbage can tightly covered. Take out the trash frequently, preferably once a day. Keep an eye on any cracks or holes in the walls or floors of your home; these are potential entrances for palmetto bugs.

    Keep the kitchen clean. Keep food items in airtight containers, such as glass jars with lids or plastic containers. Place food in the refrigerator and throw away any spoiled foods immediately.

    Cleaning a messy space will make finding and killing any remaining bugs easier. The longer they’re there, the more likely they will spread throughout your home.

    Clean the bathroom regularly. Keep it clean by removing toothpaste from the sink and hair from the shower or bathtub. Remember, they will eat anything.


    Repair Leaky Pipes and Faucets

    Leaky pipes and dripping faucets are a water source for palmetto bugs. High humidity and leaks can encourage mold growth. Leaking pipes can lead to extensive damage when left untreated. If you have leaking pipes or faucets that constantly drip, call a plumber right away to fix the problem before it gets worse.


    Using Natural Solutions

    You can also use natural pesticides to repel palmetto bugs. Since they can go months without food, restricting access to food and water is not enough. 

    Baking Soda and Sugar Mixture

    One study showed that mixing baking soda with sugar is just as effective as boric acid. The roaches will ingest the sugar with baking soda, causing their digestive system to malfunction, killing them.  Learn more about the study

    Diatomaceous Earth

    When you see palmetto bugs in a particular area, dust it lightly with this powder using a scoop or duster. They collect the powder as they walk through it, and it dries out their exoskeleton, dehydrating them.


    Repellent Recipes

    You can also try using other natural repellents to keep them away.

    • Put a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then spray it on the areas where palmetto bugs are active. Please do this at night when they’re more active, but be careful not to get it on your plants because it could damage them.
    • Neem Oil kills young palmetto bugs and prevents adults from reproducing by interfering with their hormones and reproduction cycles.
    • Borax can also be very effective at repelling roaches. Check out these easy recipes.


    What Smell do Palmetto Bugs Hate?

    Essential oils such as Lemon, Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Cypress, and Peppermint repel them. Herbs and spices such as cinnamon, catnip, mint, and bay leaves repel them but do not kill them.


    Hire a Professional

    Hiring a professional might be your best bet if you’re looking for a more efficient way to deal with the infestation. A professional exterminator can help you identify the source of the infestation and then apply treatment methods that are most effective in eliminating them.

    They can also assist you in ensuring that your home is completely rid of any remaining eggs so they won’t come back as quickly.

    Fortunately, learning more about these bugs and taking preventative steps can help keep these pests out of your home. By understanding the conditions that attract them, you can make the needed changes to repel them—doing so can save your home from unwanted visitors in the future.

    Connect with local pest control pros


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