How To Get Rid of Palmetto Bugs

Are you wondering how to get rid of palmetto bugs? These insects are a common pest throughout the United States. Palmetto bugs may go by many names, but regardless of what you call a palmetto bug, the reality is the same – these insects are unsanitary, problematic, and sometimes even dangerous to human health.

But what are palmetto bugs, where do they come from, and how do you get rid of palmetto bugs once and for all? That is what we are here to find out. Join us today as we learn more about palmetto bugs and go over some tried and tested methods, products, and preventive remedies you can use to manage a palmetto bug infestation.

Let’s begin.

What Are Palmetto Bugs?

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Palmetto bugs are a common term used to describe several roach species.

If you’re dealing with palmetto bugs in or around your home, then you’re dealing with cockroaches.

Yup. Sorry to break it to you, but palmetto bugs are a name many people throughout the United States use to refer to a few different species of roaches or water bugs. Most palmetto bugs are generally the same size, have the same habits, characteristics, and problematic consequences as general roaches, which does make knowing how to get rid of these pests a bit easier.

But before we talk about how to get rid of palmetto bugs, let’s learn a bit about them.

Most palmetto bugs are common cockroaches that are about 1.5 inches long with shiny brown bodies and glossy wings. They have six legs and long antennae, and are most often found in dark, damp areas in and around the home.

American Cockroaches are considered Palmetto bugs, as are the smokey brown roach and a few other species. The term Palmetto bug is a term most commonly used in the Southeast United States and was generally coined after the smoky brown cockroach, who frequents Palmetto trees.

Palmetto bugs can cause large infestations that can be harmful to people’s health. In fact, palmetto bugs are carriers of serious diseases and food borne illnesses like salmonella and E.coli, which they pick up and transmit to food during an infestation.

But what has attracted these nasty pests to your home? Keep reading.

What Has Attracted Palmetto Bugs Your Home Or Yard?

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Palmetto bugs are attracted to a combination of things including food sources and moisture. 

Palmetto bugs are common both inside and outside of homes in the United States, preferring areas rich in moisture and food sources. Like most pests, palmetto bugs enter homes in search of food, shelter, and a safe place to breed or lay eggs.

The most common cause of a palmetto bug infestation inside your home is due to a number of circumstances, including:

  • Leaky pipes or water damage
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Clutter
  • Accidently bringing in boxes or furniture already infested
  • Left out food
  • Pet food
  • Decaying organic matter

Palmetto bugs are most commonly found in attics, basements, behind dishwashers, refrigerators, beneath sinks, in bathrooms, and in crawl spaces.

You may also find them outdoors in garden mulch, palmetto trees, septic tanks, yard debris, leaf litter, and outdoor trash cans.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs – Identifying A Palmetto Bug Problem

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Palmetto bugs leave behind feces that look like pepper.

Identifying a palmetto bug problem is the first of several very important steps that will help you figure out how to get rid of palmetto bugs for good.

But how do you know if you are dealing with the beginning stages of a palmetto bug infestation?

Experts agree that there are a few common signs you can look for inside your home to determine if you are dealing with the beginnings of a possible palmetto bug problem.

These signs include:

Palmetto Bug Droppings

Palmetto bug feces is one of the first signs of an infestation in your home and usually your first cue that you need to work on a treatment method for how to get rid of palmetto bugs. You can identify palmetto bug droppings because they look similar to ground coffee or pepper flakes.

Egg Casings 

Palmetto egg cases, also known as oothecae, are oval in shape and often a rusty brown or reddish color. Each casing can hold between 16 to 50 eggs. These casings are often found in areas where palmetto bugs frequently hide like behind or beneath furniture, appliances, in cracks and crevices, and more.

An Unpleasant Odor 

One of the most common and unpleasant signs of a large palmetto infestation is a strong, musky odor. Palmetto bugs secrete this smell in order to communicate with other palmetto bugs or roaches, and it is often a sign that you are dealing with a large number of these insects somewhere in your home.

Seeing Palmetto Bugs In Your Home

Last, if you physically see a palmetto bug in your home it is time to create a treatment plan for how to get rid of palmetto bugs. These insects can multiply quickly and where there is one there are usually many more.

The below video discusses other ways you can control and prevent palmetto bugs from becoming a problem in your home. 

But how do you get rid of palmetto bugs once you have identified a problem in your home? Luckily, there are several methods you can use to get rid of palmetto bugs. Keep reading to find out more.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs – Most Popular Methods

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You can get rid of palmetto bugs using several different methods. 

When it comes to how to get rid of palmetto bugs both inside and outside your home, you have options. For many people, dealing with palmetto bugs can be problematic and stressful because they feel they must use insecticides, harsh chemicals, or professionals.

The truth is, there are several effective treatments you can use to help eradicate a palmetto bug infestation including natural repellents, traps, sprays, insecticides, and more.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common methods you can use for how to get rid of palmetto bugs in your home and yard.

Natural Products

If you are wondering how to get rid of palmetto bugs using natural ingredients that are safe for people, pets and the environment then you’re in luck.

There are plenty of effective products that many people use to help control and eliminate these pests without the use of harsh chemicals or toxins. Some natural products include sprays, traps, and ultrasonic pest repellers.


Although insecticides aren’t always the first choice for everyone looking for how to get rid of palmetto bugs, unfortunately a more intensive treatment can be needed if an infestation is large.

Luckily, there are some insecticides that use natural ingredients derived from botanicals or other organic minerals that can effectively get rid of palmetto bugs.

Home Remedies

We are always big fans of saving money and love do it yourself pest control options like using home remedies. Many pests, including palmetto bugs, are repelled by ingredients you likely already have in your pantry like vinegar, essential oils, dish soap and more. If you want to know how to get rid of palmetto bugs using common home remedies and DIY recipes, scroll down.


If you find that you are dealing with a recurring palmetto bug problem in your home, you may need to contact professionals for help. A very large infestation is not only unsanitary and potentially hazardous to your health, but it can also be the sign of a larger problem within your home that needs to be taken care of.

But before you give up and dial the pros, let’s take a look at some of the best products you can use for how to get rid of palmetto bugs on your one, starting with natural products.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs Using Natural Products

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Many people prefer to use natural products that are safe to use around people and pets.

As we mentioned above, natural products for how to get rid of palmetto bugs come in all types of forms. You can use natural sprays that include essential oils to repel and kill these pests or install ultrasonic pest repellers throughout your home to make your space less hospitable for them.

Other experts recommend using traps like sticky traps. Whichever method you choose to use for how to get rid of palmetto bugs naturally, make sure they are designed to kill and repel hard-to-get-rid-of pests like roaches.

If you’re not sure where to begin, we have listed some of our favorite natural products for how to get rid of palmetto bugs below.

Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer

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Diatomaceous Earth is perhaps the most commonly recommended insect killer for those looking for natural forms of pest control. This product is a dust insect killer that is made from fossilized algae and works by dehydrating insects after penetrating their exoskeleton upon contact.

You can use this dust anywhere inside and outside of your home to kill and repel a number of pests like spiders, beetles, crickets, ants, roaches and palmetto bugs.

It is also safe to use in areas where people and pets frequent and is safe for the environment. That said, Diatomaceous Earth dust works best when dry so if it gets wet it will need to be reapplied.

Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

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While the success of ultrasonic pest repeller products is debatable, many experts and consumers stand by them. We have personally used ultrasonic pest repeller products like the Neatmaster product listed above and found it to be effective, especially when used alongside other methods of pest control.

What we like about the Neatmaster ultrasonic repeller is that it penetrates walls and works to protect your home against a number of pests like mice, rats, bats, spiders, roaches, palmetto bugs, crickets, and even ants.

Best of all, it is perfectly safe to use in homes with children and pets as it doesn’t require the use of chemicals or toxins and the sounds it produces will not irritate dogs, cats, or people.

MDXConcepts Organic Home Pest Spray

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One of our favorite organic pest control sprays for how to get rid of palmetto bugs is by MDXConcepts. This spray uses natural ingredients like peppermint oil to kill and repel pests like palmetto bugs, spiders, ants, roaches, crickets, centipedes, and even fleas.

This product is safe to use around people and pets and it will not harm the environment. You can even use it in areas around your home where food is stored and prepared, which makes it ideal for prevention of insects like palmetto bugs, who are often attracted to food pantries.

Harris Sticky Pest Traps

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Last on our list of how to get rid of palmetto bugs using natural products are these sticky traps by Harris. The traps are specifically designed to capture and kill palmetto bugs and other roaches using a non-toxic glue that is safe to use in homes with people and pets.

The design makes for easy application and hiding in areas where palmetto bugs and other pests like spiders, ants and crickets like to hide. That said, watch pets around this trap. If they get curious and try and sniff it, it may get stuck in their fur.

Harris Boric Acid Roach Tablets

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Many people consider Boric Acid to be a natural form of pest control for how to get rid of palmetto bugs because it is derived from ingredients that come from organic minerals like rocks, water, and soil. Once ingested by pests, boric acid expands in the stomach, killing them.

For the most part, boric acid tablets like the ones above are a safe and effective form of pest control for how to get rid of palmetto bugs. However, they can still cause irritation to people and pets and should be used with caution.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs With Insecticides

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Insecticides can help control a large infestation of palmetto bugs

As we discussed briefly above, some severe palmetto bug infestations may require the use of insecticides for how to get rid of palmetto bugs. That said, keep in mind that not all insecticides include harsh chemical ingredients and toxins.

Of course, many do, so we recommend following directions and using any sprays or insecticides for how to get rid of palmetto bugs only as directed. We also suggest looking for insecticides that are specifically designed to get rid of roaches, like the ones listed below.

Hot Shot Roach Killer

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Hot Shot is a popular pest control brand known for being effective against a number of home invading pests, including palmetto bugs. This aerosol spray above is specifically designed to kill and control pests like palmetto bugs, ants, roaches and spiders.

It does not leave behind a foul odor and should be mess-free. That said, this product does use a strong insecticide that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment and should be used only as directed.

Raid Roach Bait

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We recommend using Raid Roach Bait for how to get rid of palmetto bugs in the case of a very large infestation because it includes an insect growth regulator or IGR, which prevents eggs from hatching.

This spray also works to kill roaches and prevent them from returning for up to three months. However, this product does contain harsh chemical ingredients that can be toxic to people and pets, so it should be used with caution and kept in a safe place out of reach of children.

Advion Pest Control Plungers

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Advion cockroach pest control plungers use the active ingredient indoxacarb, which is a powerful insecticide that helps kill and control palmetto bugs and roach infestations in general. It is commonly used by professional pest control experts to stop insect infestations in schools, hotels, and other commercial buildings.

It is safe to use in homes with family and pets for how to get rid of palmetto bugs and is very effective, but it should be used only as directed and with caution.

Harris Insect Killer Spray

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This is an insecticide spray that includes a trigger nozzle, which hopefully makes it easier for you to target small spaces where insects like palmetto bugs like to hide. To use this for how to get rid of palmetto bugs, we suggest spraying it in areas they like to hide including attics, basements and crawl spaces.

This spray also gets rid of asian lady beetles, ants, spiders, palmetto bugs, German cockroaches, spiders, and other home invading pests.

That said, it does use an insecticide that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment and is designed for indoor use only. Use it only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.

Best Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs

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White vinegar is a safe and effective way to repel pests like palmetto bugs. 

We love using home remedies for how to get rid of palmetto bugs because they often use natural ingredients that are safe to use around people and pets. Furthermore, using home remedies for how to get rid of palmetto bugs can even save you money.

That said, a very severe infestation may require the use of several methods like home remedies, repellents and insecticides. Still, you can use the below home remedies all year round to protect your home from palmetto bugs and other pests.

  • Boiled Catnip Palmetto Bug Repellent

All you need for this recipe is catnip, one liter of water, a pan and a spray bottle and you have yourself your very own palmetto bug repellent spray.

Boil the catnip in the water for about ten minutes or so, let it cool, and then pour it into a spray bottle. You can spray this solution around your home, in cracks and crevices and anywhere you suspect or have seen palmetto bug activity. This concoction will not necessarily kill palmetto bugs, but it will deter them and make your home less hospitable for them and other pests.

  • DIY Baking Soda And Sugar Recipe For Palmetto Bugs

Because palmetto bugs have such a ravenous appetite, you can lure them to their demise using a concoction of sugar and baking soda. Simply mix equal parts sugar and baking soda together and leave it on a flat, open dish or surface for the palmetto bug to eat.

However, you must also leave water nearby for the palmetto bug to drink in order for this trick to work. Once the palmetto bug drinks, the baking soda will expand inside its stomach, killing it.

  • Essential Oil Palmetto Bug Recipes 

Palmetto bugs are repelled by essential oils like lavender, tea tree oil, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil. You can make your own essential oil pest spray by using one of the oils of your choice above and mixing it with water to deter pests like palmetto bugs, spiders, ants, and even fleas.

To make a palmetto bug spray, just mix 15 drops of whichever oil you choose with 10 ounces of water and pour the concoction into a spray bottle. Spray around your home wherever you suspect palmetto bugs.

You can also use cotton balls soaked in one of the above essential oils as a remedy for how to get rid of palmetto bugs. Just soak the cotton balls in your oil of choice and leave them around your home, at entry and exit points, in basements, attics, beneath sinks, or anywhere else you have seen palmetto bugs. Replace dry cotton balls with freshly soaked ones every two days.

  • White Vinegar And Water

White vinegar is a great pest deterrent to use inside homes for how to get rid of palmetto bugs because it helps repel insects without staining furniture or surfaces. It is also a wonderful natural cleaner for your kitchen countertops.

In order to make your own white vinegar and water spray for how to get rid of palmetto bugs, mix one cup of vinegar with two cups of water. You can also add a few drops of peppermint oil to give it an extra boost of power.

  • Mothballs

Many people find mothballs to be an effective form of pest control since pests like palmetto bugs cannot stand the overwhelming scent these products create. Best of all, mothballs are easy to use as you simply place them around your home where you want to repel pests like palmetto bugs.

While mothballs are effective, we should note that they also contain chemicals that can be toxic to people and pets if ingested, so use this method with caution if you have curious children or animals in the home.

  • Instant Potatoes

Last on our list of best home remedies for how to get rid of palmetto bugs is the use of instant potatoes. Instant potatoes work similarly to the baking soda and sugar trick, as once ingested they will expand in the palmetto bug’s stomach and kill it. This is also a safe alternative to using poison roach tablets.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs – When To Call A Professional

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Large palmetto bug infestations may require the help from a professional. 

While there are plenty of options and products you can consider before calling a professional, there are times when a professional pest control expert is required to help you manage and stop a palmetto bug infestation.

Remember, palmetto bugs are roaches and roaches can carry and transmit serious illnesses. They can also increase allergies in those with sensitivities, which can decrease the overall health of those suffering from asthma or other chronic conditions.

If you are concerned about a very large infestation of palmetto bugs in your home, we suggest contacting the pros. Most pest control experts charge between $100 to $300 depending on your region and the severity of your palmetto bug infestation.

Furthermore, professionals will be able to help you determine if you have other pest problems in your home, as a large roach or palmetto bug problem could be an indicator of something more serious going on.

Once you have figured out how to get rid of palmetto bugs, we suggest turning your focus next to prevention.

How To Prevent A Future Palmetto Bug Problem In Your Home

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Store foods in airtight containers and clean often to prevent palmetto bugs. 

The truth is, it’s easier to prevent palmetto bugs from becoming a problem than to work on getting rid of them. Luckily, there are a few methods you can implement into your everyday routine to help reduce your chances of having to deal with a future palmetto bug problem.

  • Clean And Vacuum Your Home Often


One of the best ways to prevent palmetto bugs and other insect infestations from happening is to make sure you clean and sanitize your home often. Sweep, vacuum, and do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight and do not leave fruit out in fruit bowls to decay or become too overripe.

  • Store Foods Properly

Experts suggest refrigerating perishable foods when you are not using them and storing pantry foods like cereals, chips, crackers, candy and popcorn in airtight containers that are either made of hard plastic or glass. Doing this will not only prevent palmetto bugs but also mice, ants, roaches and other pests on the hunt for an easy meal.

  • Declutter Your Home

Palmetto bugs like to hide in dark, moist spaces and come out to feed at night. You can help make your home less hospitable to them by removing clutter and reducing hiding places for these pests around your home.

  • Practice Routine Home Maintenance 

Along with reducing clutter and cleaning, we also suggest practicing routine home maintenance. Caulk and seal any entry and exit points around the home to ensure palmetto bugs can’t find their way in. Repair ripped screens and make sure doors and windows shut securely.

  • Reduce Moisture Buildup 

Like many roaches, palmetto bugs are attracted by moisture buildup which encourages decay and provides food sources, breeding grounds and water for these insects. To prevent future palmetto bug infestations, repair water leaks as soon as possible. Clean up and dry spilled liquid, keep gutters clean, and keep drains clog-free.

  • Use Straw Instead Of Mulch In Garden Beds

Garden mulch provides a dense, moisture-rich playground for many pests like palmetto bugs, crickets, and earwigs. You can help reduce your chances of having a palmetto bug infestation in your home by using straw in place of mulch, especially alongside the perimeter of your home.

  • Remove Debris In Your Yard 

Last but not least, you can help keep palmetto bugs and other pests at bay by removing clutter and debris from your yard. Keep grass cut short and rake up dead leaves from the lawn. It is also a good idea to keep gardens tidy and use a year-round pest control method to help keep palmetto bugs and other pests from becoming a serious problem.

So, do you have other tips and tricks for how to get rid of palmetto bugs? We would love to hear from you. Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

How To Get Rid Of Palmetto Bugs