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What’s the Difference Between Palmetto Bugs and Roaches?

We’ve all heard the lovely little name used for those winged monsters that look like a genetically altered cockroach: palmetto bug. But why do these erratically flying, menacing creatures get a softer, sweeter name than “cockroach”? The origin of the name is unclear; however, a prominent palmetto bug in South Carolina, the smokybrown, does enjoy spending time in palmetto trees.  Here are the differences between roaches and palmetto bugs.

What is a Palmetto Bug?

Ultimately, the term palmetto bug refers to a wide range of cockroaches, dozens of which reside in South Carolina, including the following most common cockroaches.

  • Waterbug or Oriental cockroach
  • German cockroach
  • Smokybrown cockroach
  • American cockroach

The difference between a palmetto bug vs. a cockroach really isn’t a difference at all, and the terms palmetto bug and cockroach are used interchangeably to a degree. Let’s look at how they find a place to live in the first place.

Why Do Roaches Love South Carolina?

Smokybrown and American cockroaches love the moist conditions of the Southeast, especially along the coast, and rumor has it that the palmetto bugs in Charleston are the biggest and most plentiful in the region. These bugs particularly love wet decaying material, such as in a compost bin, flower beds, or pine straw mulch. They love to hide under rocks, so you want to take care of them quickly before they ruin any of your gardening efforts. This may be why roaches and palmetto bugs so densely populate South Carolina

However, the ones that love these conditions won’t likely invade your home, unlike the German cockroach, which will invade your home and multiply exponentially. That doesn’t mean that the larger, more sweetly named cockroaches won’t invade your home if they’re in a pinch.

Can Palmetto Bugs Infest My Home?

It’s common for roaches to eat dried gum and love dog food. On a very cold day, palmetto bugs may enter your home seeking warmth. Additionally, they might find that they can stay there and raise a family. They can creep and crawl under anything. They can also fly in through an open window or door, as they like to chase light like most bugs.

Palmetto bugs are terrible flyers and you never know where they might land, and that can be terrifying. They don’t go from point A to point B. It’s more likely a poorly planned glide that can land them in all sorts of predicaments (like trying to entangle themselves from a long head of hair).

The palmetto bug vs roach dilemma isn’t really a dilemma, in a linguistic sense, and no matter the fuss they cause, palmetto bugs are a part of living in the South. That doesn’t mean that you have to cohabitate with them, however.

For all your professional roach exterminator needs, contact Exclusive Pest Control in Charleston. We are happy to work with you to keep roaches and palmetto bugs in South Carolina out of your home. We’ll ensure that your premises is as free from palmetto bugs as possible.