A palmetto bug is another name for the American cockroach or water bug. Averaging around four centimeters long, this species is the largest of the domestic cockroaches. After German roaches, American roaches are the second most common. You don’t have to look far in Florida to see palmetto bugs.
The first siting of the American cockroach in the US was in 1625 and they came from Africa. Cockroaches love to go wherever food is stored and prepared especially after it rains.
Palmetto means any of various palms having fan-shaped leaves, as of the genera Sabal, Serenoa, and Thrinax that are in the southern US to Northern South America. The Palmetto bug likes to hide out in the Palmetto Palms.
American cockroaches range between 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inches as adults and have a dark body, yellowish thorax region and dark brown to black spots or markings on the yellow and they can fly.
They typically make their homes outdoors, but may appear inside if they migrate or are accidentally carried in. In the garden and yard, they hang out in dark, moist and humid areas. They make their homes under mulch, in piles of leaves, in dead trees and holes, and under other types of vegetation. Excessive mulch can draw palmetto bugs to your home, as can food and water left outside for pets.
Places you are likely to find Palmetto bugs around your home are:
Yes, Palmetto bugs can pose health risks since they serve as hosts to a number of harmful pathogens, including salmonella, which can contaminate food, leading to illness. If a Palmetto bug comes out of a sewer drain, and then walks up and crawls over your plate or your food, that is how they spread germs. Palmetto bugs have also been known to bite, which can cause skin irritation. They leave debris behind, including feces and sheddings contain proteins that can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
This bug has a three-stage life cycle: egg, nymph and adult. Nymphs are much smaller, lack wings and have slightly different markings. Adult females deposit their eggs in a case known as an ootheca that they carry around until the eggs hatch. Larger outdoor roaches of the types called palmetto bugs may take up to a full year to develop into adults.
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