mavabch(z8 va)June 24, 2005

Any suggestions on dealing with those big giant outside bugs (sometimes euphemistically called water bugs or palmetto bugs) without spraying my entire yard?? This year I've planted lots of bird & bee & butterfly-attracting plants & so I don't want to use insecticides. We're willing to use bug spray on ourselves so the mosquitos don't get us, but that's not really an option for these bugs. BUT I'd really like some suggestions on good-bug-friendly ways to keep those great big things off my screened porch & out of my house?????

Tell me I'm not the only one with this problem!! Almost makes me want to move back to Chicago, but not quite.

Thanks for your help,


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WannaBGardener(8b & 4a)

Palmetto Bugs are to the south like Lake Mi Wind is to Chicago. You learn to adjust to the problem. We have our sun porch and under the house sprayed, which usually keeps them out of the living area. Can't say as I have seen them in the garden. They like dark damp places, thus the name Water Bug. Now ask yourself, which is worse---5 months of wind snow and ice, or a Palmetto Bug now and again???????

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Look up American Cockroach. Determine if that is your pest. If so I would suggest that you not leave outdoor lights on any more than needed after dark. Also, to make sure they don't come inside, twice a year(spring when they wake up and fall when they look for a warm place to winter) spread a granular insecticide around your houses' foundation. I had these when I lived in town, but out in the woods I have not seen them. I assume natural predators keep the numbers down.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 7:14PM
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I use Bengal Roach Spray, they also make Bengal Gold which has an igrediant that prevents Them from birthing. It was developed by a man in LA who was a Pro. Exterminator. LA is home to every known & Unknown bug pest, animal in the US.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bengal Products

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 2:57PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Good news for me. I have them in my house all the time. I keep fly swatters in each room. but they run away so quickly. I don't want to use chemicals inside because my cat carries them around in his mouth and then lets them go play with them. So gross!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Do you have beds around the edges of the house? They like to live in mulch/decaying leaves, which usually go along with garden beds. We used to see much fewer of these until I made beds all around the house, just goes with the territory. BUT, they are just lost. They aren't interested in getting in your food, just want to get back outside, and not a sign you're a bad housekeeper, like some other kinds that do go after food and can be avoided by being more sanitary. Birds and anoles love to eat them, so if you see one, fling it into the middle of the yard.

It's taken me a few years, but I've stopped freaking out about them. They are too hard to kill with a fly swatter that I gave up trying, and smashing with a shoe makes a gross mess, on the floor and shoe. We got one of these things that looks like a tennis racket and has a button to electrify it. That's the best thing for killing them. They cling to it while you're pushing the button, so you can get it outside, then let go of the button. If it's still alive, it will be stunned, and probably eaten right away.

They are harmless, but I still don't like finding one in the shower! How long have you been in the south?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:31AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I've been in the south since 1989. This the worst place I ever lived, bug wise. No gardens near the house. We live in middle of a pine tree forest. I freaked out a few nights ago when I went into the kitchen and stepped on a palmetto bug. I will definitely try the outdoor method to control them. I don't dare use chemicals in the house because of bug loving cat!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 4:23AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If these large insects are found in your home fairly frequently, then it's time to figure out how they're gaining entry. New weather stripping or seals around doors and windows can be a huge help!

I'll use myself as an example....we were pestered by ladybugs, house centipedes, and spiders inside, all year round. Once we installed a tight storm door on the front of the house and added new weather stripping on the door from the garage, all of the unwelcome visitors disappeared for good.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 6:34AM
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I live in Gainesville, Florida...in the northern part of the state, and right smack dab in the middle. Roaches or Palmetto bugs are a way of life here. I have an exterminator spray around the exterior of the house once a month and this seems to help a bit. As another poster said, these insects don't come in for "food", per se. And they really have nothing to do with your housekeeping skills. The exterminator told me that you will see them lots more during droughts. They will be attracted to any water they can find, so they may come up through the pipes. They love paper and are attracted to that. I uncover them in the yard all the time, hiding out in empty plant pots I have stacked.

In the deep south our motto might well be "Bugs Be Us". To a great extent, you just have to learn to live with it.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:46AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I've been living with them for years. Just grossed out by them. Watched one crawl over my toothbrush the other night when just the night light was on. Stepped on one with my bare feet another night. I can't used chemicals because my cat likes to carry them around in his mouth. I'm keeping a fly swatter in every room now and I've gotten a few. Saw two mating a few nights ago. How many babies can one of those things have?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:49PM
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