How to Kill Palmetto Bugs

Written by cynthia measom
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The palmetto bug, also known as the American cockroach, is a prominent pest in the southern United States. To effectively rid your home of these insects, you will need to eliminate the resources that they rely upon, and then choose a method to kill them. Taking a systematic approach to this problem is the only way that you will be able to rid your home of an infestation.

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Things you need

  • Caulk
  • Fibreglass netting
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Sealed containers
  • Insect spray
  • Bait stations, gels, pastes or dusts
  • Silica gel
  • Boric acid
  • Sticky traps

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    How to Kill Palmetto Bugs

  1. 1

    Prevent further palmetto bug entry into your home. When living in multi-unit housing, be aware that these pests can gain entry from another person's home through electrical and plumbing connections. Ensure that these are sealed off properly. Caulk or seal off any cracks or gaps that may be present in any of your doors or windows. Cover the vent pipes on your roof with fibreglass netting in order to block pest access.

  2. 2

    Eliminate food, water and harbourage resources. Palmetto bugs need food, water and shelter in order to survive. If you take away the availability of the resources, you will cease to be such a gracious host for the pests.

    Ensure that you do not leave any type of food residue anywhere in your home. Immediately clean up grease, beverage and other food spills, including crumbs as they occur. Empty trash baskets frequently. Wash, dry and store dishes after meals. Habitually clean countertops, floors and food storage areas. Keep all food, including pet food, in tightly sealed containers, and avoid leaving your pet's food and water out at night as this is the time when palmetto bugs will come out to forage.

    Eliminate all other sources of water such as leaky faucets, and dry out sinks or bathtubs after use. Remember that any sources of moisture can attract these pests and provide them with a water source that they must have to survive.

    Keep clutter to a minimum in your home as these types of insects like to hide in bags, boxes, clothing and papers.

  3. 3

    Decide on a treatment method. There are many different forms of treatment that are available. Some are less toxic than others. Possible kill methods include sprays, baits, dessicating dusts and traps.

  4. 4

    Implement the treatment methods that you choose. Kill palmetto bugs that you happen to see with a specially formulated spray. Put out baits which consist of a food source and a toxin. Baits are available in stations, gels, pastes and dusts. Bait stations are the safest option. They are easy to use and they don't pose a threat to children or pets. Insects become contaminated with the toxin and leave traces of it for other pests to encounter. Dessicating dusts can also be used effectively for indoor pest elimination. Apply Boric acid or silica gel in the areas where palmetto bugs travel, such as under sinks and stoves, behind refrigerators, in cabinets and electrical sockets. Silica gel consists of finely ground sand or glass that will adhere to the insect and ultimately cause dehydration. Boric acid clings to the insect, and the insect will later ingest the poison when grooming.

  5. 5

    Monitor pest activity by using sticky traps at night. After taking all of the above steps, place these traps near the garbage can, under sinks, in the cabinets and in the bathroom to see if you still have activity. This type of trap contains a glue like substance that literally stops the palmetto bugs in their tracks when they happen to crawl onto it.

Tips and warnings

  • Carefully read the directions and warnings on any type of product that you choose to use to kill these pests. You don't want to jeopardise your family's safety.
  • Be aware that while sprays can be effective in killing palmetto bugs on contact, this is not a reliable method to kill those insects that are in hiding.

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