American Roach (palmetto bug) – Plant City Pest Control

Despite their useful recycle role in the wild, you need Plant City Pest Control if you find American cockroaches in your house.

Maybe you have heard “palmetto bug” and wonder what that is? It is simply a regional name of American cockroach used in the southeastern United States, particularly Florida. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to the USA. Evidence suggests that they traveled to the USA via African slave ships in the 1600s and spread in the continent. These are second to German cockroach when considering abundance and make the services of Plant City Pest Control essential.


Cockroaches are older than humans and have been around since the ages of dinosaurs. American cockroaches have is the largest among the common cockroach species. Adults are generally one and a half inches long and sometimes go a little over two inches. They can be of reddish-brown or mahogany color and there is a yellow band behind their head. Both males and females have fully developed wings. Nymphs look like adults but they do not have wings. They also have six legs and two antennas.


American cockroaches prefer to live in moist areas with high temperature and cannot tolerate colder places. They can also survive in dry areas if access to water is available. The adults and nymphs may be found in a wide range of places like swear, near garbage, steam tunnels, bathtubs, floor drains, etc. You can also find them outside in moist and shaded areas like yards, woodpiles, hollow trees, mulch, etc. They wander inside in extreme weather conditions. You may also find them under roof shingles and in the crawl spaces of the basement. American roaches generally bunch up in open spaces rather than cracks and crevices.

Behavior and diet

American cockroaches live in groups. Their body produces a chemical called aggregation pheromone. The odor of this pheromone attracts other roaches and they congregate together. As they grow in population, it yields a musty smell that is uncomfortable to humans. They always explore the surroundings searching for foods and once found, they send signals for others to join. The American cockroaches eat everything. Other than eating human foods, these critters can eat any type of organic matter including cloth, dead insects, fecal waste, glues, hairs, soaps, woods, etc. They are also fond of sweets, starchy foods, and meats. As such, they hardly run out of food. These cold-blooded pests can also survive for several months without foods and it worsens the situation. But, they cannot live for more than two weeks without water and will die of thirst unless the Plant City Pest Control pros get them earlier.

Life cycle

American cockroaches are abundant in Florida houses and commercial buildings. Their life cycle is divided into three phases: eggs, nymphs, and adults.

  • Eggs: Female American cockroaches lay eggs in a purse-shaped container known as ootheca. This happens about one week after mating. In its peak reproductive period, a female may produce two oothecae in a week. Generally, the females produce one ootheca every month for ten months laying 15-16 eggs in a case. Females carry it on the tip of their abdomen and drop the ootheca near a source of food. They glue it to the surface with saliva from their mouth. The case looks brown first and turns black in a day or two.
  • Nymphs: The eggs start hatching and immature roaches, called nymphs, emerge within 24 to 38 days. The nymphs molt from 6 to 14 times as they grow. They first appear while and then turn reddish-brown. Wings are not grown at this stage. However, the wing pads become noticeable after the 3rd or 4th After every molting the nymphs look more like adults and they actively forage for food and water during this stage.
  • Adults: The adult American cockroach looks reddish brown with a yellow band around the age of the pronotum. While wings of the female American cockroach cover the abdomen, the wings of the males extend a few millimeters beyond the tip of the abdomen. Both males and females have a pair of cerci. The males also have a pair of styli between the cerci. The females do not have those. American cockroaches need 6 to 12 months to grow fully adult and can live another year.

Can they fly?

The adult American cockroaches can use their wings and fly a short distance. These can glide some distance when they start from a high place. But these are not regular fliers. They run very fast and scatter on foot when frightened.

Risks associated

American cockroaches are filthy pests and can cause serious risks to humans. Their presence can alter the flavor of foods. They pick up germs as they crawl through decaying organic matters and can contaminate foods. These can cause s food poisoning and other digestive issues. American cockroaches are responsible for many diseases and can also cause allergic reactions and asthma. This is why it is vital to identify them with the help of Plant City Pest Control services.

How to control?

American cockroaches are extremely resilient. As such, they are extremely difficult to control or eliminate. The best approach for this is to have a good defense program. To do this, one must give importance to sanitation and exclusion. This means the food sources must be eliminated, all water leakages must be stopped, old & unused boxes must be removed. One must also have a tight lid on the trash can and the garbage should be removed regularly.

Caulk as many holes and cracks you may find. Also, seal all holes in doors, windows, and water pipes.  Fix mesh screen over windows, floor drains, and vents and remove rotten leaves from gutters. Call Plant City Pest Control services if your efforts fail.


Despite being extremely prevalent and ruthless, householders can try to eliminate the American cockroaches. However, it needs dedication and continuous efforts to keep them off your houses. In case your efforts fail, it is better to call Plant City Pest Control professionals.