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Palmetto Bugs

Posted by jane__ny z5-6 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 27, 11 at 1:19

We are planning a move to the Sarasota area. We are both avid gardeners and have heard that these horrible bugs live in bushes and trees. I also heard they are attracted to compost. Is this true?

I have been lurking and haven't seen any mention of them. I am totally phobic about them and am not sure I could deal with working in the garden if they are all over. Frankly, I'm not sure if I could live in Florida because of them.

Please tell me this isn't true!

Thanks,
Jane


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Sorry, but it's true. You could get a lawn service to come out and spray your yard but Fla. is full of different bugs. You just have to learn to live with them.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 27, 11 at 6:06

Yeah, "palmetto bugs" are definitely a fact of life in Florida. When I was a kid, wooden houses were more common than the cinder block ones. There is simply NO way to keep palmetto bugs out of a wooden house. They also invade cinder block houses, but not nearly as often.
These bugs generally terrorize newcomers from the north. Plus, most people don't realize these things can fly until they see it with their own eyes.
I've seen women scream and utterly panic when confronted with these varmints. To tell you the truth, they still kinda give me the creeps, even after all these decades.
If all it took to keep Yankees out of Floria was fear of palmetto bugs, we'd still be a sleepy little backwater.
C'mon down. You'll get used to them.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Don't let them scare you off. Yes, we have them but they are not awful.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

If you are afraid of a little bug
then just wait until you see the snakes and alligators!
The real Florida ain't for the faint of heart!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I've lived here all my life and still can't stand the sight of them, and yes, they love to live in mulch and compost - great big monster ones. Even if you are able to keep them out of the house you still have to deal with them outside. And it's true they can fly, but only down, not up. And if one is on the wall or ceiling, it will invariably fly right for your face. If you don't think you can deal with that, don't come here. Once many years ago, I was getting ready to blow-dry my hair. I turned on the dryer, thank God I didn't have it pointed toward me yet. It started making this sizzling sound and then a small vapor of smoke started coming out of it, I was standing there wondering what was going on and then all these roach parts came flying out the front end of it. A roach had crawled inside and must have been right on the heating element, it super-heated and exploded it like popcorn. I completely freaked. I have many more roach stories, I could go on for hours.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Oh it's true alright - & they're very attracted to water as well - they even come in our houses, garages & sheds here - they're EVERYWHERE.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I'm with gatormom, i.e. the palmetto bugs are the least of the creepy things we have. I've never had a big infestation and I've lived in Miami, West Palm and now Ft. Myers. But, they are certainly a part of life. But that's why I love the anoles and geckos!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I live just south of Sarasota for two years now. I work in the yard almost daily, and have a compost pile. I have seen a grand total of three palmettos since I've been here. The fire ants and mosquitoes, now that's another story.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

"Plus, most people don't realize these things can fly until they see it with their own eyes."

Maybe I am confused here.....but I thought the palmetto bugs were the really big, glossy dark brown bugs that give off that awful smell when you crush them? That was what I was told and I assure you they don't fly. Now the brown banded roaches do fly and are much more common and do get in the house. A perimeter spray from pest control companies helps as does borax around the foundation. My favorite of the roaches (if there can be such a thing) is the bright chartreuse green roach.

The roaches still make me jump, I admit it freely. I still remember the day I reached in to take the newspaper out of the box and a palmetto bug ran up my arm........I am just thankful that no neighbors witnessed the dance I did.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

They most certainly are "horrible." I've never really seen them in trees or bushes, but they are all over the ground. A couple of months ago I woke up and one was on my arm! But far worse than the palmetto bugs are the fire ants, brown reclusive spiders, and mosquitoes. Palmetto bugs are repulsive, but they won't hurt you.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Sorry, bamboo rabbit, but the big palmetto bugs sure do fly. I don't notice any particular smell when you crush them, though, so maybe you're thinking of something else. I'm not sure the Madagascar roach (the really, really, really big and aggressive one that hisses at you) can fly, though.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

LOL @ brute!

If it makes you feel any better, these giant cockroaches are primarily nocturnal. For some reason, there's a manhole cover in my back yard and when it gets dark, they start crawling out of there. The worst experience I've had is stepping on one while walking through the house in the dark. And 2 fell out of a tree and landed next to me while camping on Cape San Blas last month. The thumping sound they made when they hit the cardboard box we were using for an end table made me jump. If it is very quiet, you can hear it if one is scuttling around.

I keep a little vacuum plugged in with the hose attached in case I see one, I'm ready to remove it. They are too big to smush. As a former yankee, I share your fear and revulsion but, as said above, you get used to them.

They eat decomposing organic matter, so if one gets in your house, it is just lost, not trying to move in. Since they can fly, I don't see how a perimeter treatment would do anything in regard to keeping them out of your house. My house is almost 100 years old, the screens don't fit the windows well, and the screen doors have gaps big enough for these things to crawl in but I rarely see them inside although I leave the windows & doors open from about 10 PM until about noon.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

My palmetto bugs only show up when we have guests visiting. I swear to pete we can go months without seeing one but invariably when have company one will go belly up on the guest bedroom carpet, hang out on the ceiling or start swimming in the toilet. Stupid bugs. :)


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Palmetto bug has become a common name for just about any big dark colored cockroach.
They help with composting and are quite useful in the ecology.
There are NO brown recluse spiders that are native to Florida.
From the Florida Department of Agriculture:
" Three species of widow spiders are native to Florida, and a fourth species has been introduced. No species of recluse spiders are native to Florida."
I did find a brown widow spider in my garage.
The brown and black widows are quite happy here in Florida.
This link has beautiful color photographs to help you identify spiders.
It also explains what the symptoms of spider bites are.

Here is a link that might be useful: Venomous Spiders in Florida


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I find the love bugs are more of a nuisance than the palmetto bugs especially if you yawn and they fly inside your mouth-- YUM!(or up your nose, or in your ears) The palmetto bugs are nocturnal and will scamper about at night and if you happen to step one one bare foot on your midnight trip to the bathroom with all that fresh palmetto bug nougat squishing up between your toes, you'll finish the trip hopping on one foot trying to get to the shower and rinse it off while trying to hold your balance because you are also doing the midnight Pee Pee dance.
Then they wonder why old people fall down more than young people.(it's because we have to get up and Pee in the middle of the night) Growing old in Florida is a test of your failing motor skills.

I still prefer all the Fla negatives to shoveling snow!
Lou


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

FWIW, there are numerous types of cockroaches here - the 1s I know as palmetto bugs proper are the fat crawling 1s that smell like almonds when you crush them - I think they are actually known as the Florida woods cockroach.

& I agree that the term 'palmetto' is often applied to the other big roaches as well; scientific names are more accurate...

Here is a link that might be useful: Cockroaches in FL


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About the brown recluse, I have never actually seen one but a friend of mine was diagnosed with a brown recluse bite so they do occur and are deadly. Those brown widows I hope aren't too poisonous because they are all over my yard.

Poor Jane, it really isn't as bad as it seems from this post. I'm sure there are a lot of nasty bugs where you are from too. You just get used to it.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Well the bugs are a problem, but when an anole drops out of the tree onto me, you would think the worst! I wear a broad brimmed hat to keep that from happening. Armadillos and snakes? We have them too. This spring I found a coral snake on my sidewalk, but usually various black snakes are more common.

Oh, well, it's better than finding a scorpion in my shoe when I lived in Marietta, GA. I still dump my garden shoes (stored in the garage) before putting them on down here. Last week found a little anole in one, dumped him out and went about my business. Just another day in paradise!


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I like the anoles. We are on good terms.


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I thought the palmetto bugs were the long legged light brown ones. And those little buggers definitely fly, and always right at a person. They are hard to hit with Raid in mid air too, though I once swatted on across the room with a flyswatter by swinging it like a bat.

I hate all of the roach varieties with the burning fury of a thousand suns. We spray in the house quarterly, and I stay stocked up on Raid. The chickens seem to be taking care of the ones outside.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Too funny - lou and leahreneel - just love the sense of humor found on posts here!
I agree - you can count on bugs showing up when guests arrive - hey, maybe they bring them?
Hester


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I had asian cockroaches in my pine bark mulch...by the milllions. When I applied fertilizer they went crazy crawling all over my legs and flying around. The good news is that the Asian roaches don't like it inside...but the Germain ones do!! They look the same but different habitats.
I was trying to figure out which roach is the one that smells...I mean u can smell them before u see them! We had those at Girl Scout camp and they would scare the u know what out of u in the middle of the night. Maybe those are the "palmetto bugs". I did a google search on palmetto bug but that is not for the faint of heart...it was pretty gross for me and i'm a native.
Yep I had the house roaches under control but one came calling (crawling on the counter) for Thanksgiving dinner with the family!!!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Hester, all you have to do is go to the store and bring home potatoes or anything like coke in the cartons.
Bamboo, I agree, the palmetoes are almost black and stink like a stink bug. The brown ones I call cock roach which fly. Then you have a german roach which are slim and light but I haven't seen much of them unless your dirty and don't clean your kitchen.
I don't think we got into the spiders.
Don't worry, there has been many people come from all over and they haven't died yet from fright!
Come on down and get a pest control. No problem. Enjoy our paridise.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs!

You do know we're pulling you leg don't you?
Check this friend out~~~~~~~

Here is a link that might be useful: Wallisadie's friend


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I remember one day when we were kids we found a big nest of palmetto bugs in the sod. We sprayed them with a hose and the air was just thick with them. Then for whatever reason we decided it would be fun to smash them with scraps of plywood and whatnot which we did. The lawn was solid with crushed palmettos by the end and a sodden mess.

Mom was pleased at the thought of fewer palmetto bugs.

Cats love to eat them, anybody seen that?


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I have lived in Florida for 40 years and ya'll have me all worked up over the bugs! :-)


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

My cats LOVE to play with them! I am from the north (Michigan to be exact) and up there you don't see roaches of any kind unless you're DIRTY! We lived in North Carolina for 3 years until we came here and my first experience with palmetto bugs was there. I was 9 months pregnant with my first daughter and the cat was sitting on the counter looking up about the cabinets in the kitchen. I told my husband there was something up there and he said there wasn't. I made him go look and sure enough it was a HUGE palmetto bug. I screamed bloody murder. The he tried to get rid of it and it flew in my face. I swore that night I was going to go in to labor! But I didn't lol


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RE: forgot

Forgot to mention I spent the whole following day scrubbing the kitchen with bleach until my father-in-law had to explain to me palmetto bugs and why you find them in the house LOL


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I hate to do it.....

This is what I know as a palmetto bug. I guess it is officially a woods roach. I assure you they don't fly, they do have tiny vestigial wings but are 100% flightless. Is this a palmetto bug or was I misinformed by the neighbors lol?

Photobucket

This is a brown banded roach, they do fly though clumsily.

Photobucket


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Hi, bamboo rabbit. To me, the top one is just a roach, not a palmetto bug, so I guess it depends on where you are.

BTW, they must be reading this thread. I almost never see them during the day unless I'm out disturbing something, but the past two days I've twice seen one walking over my fence. :)

Incidentally, for those who spray in the house, the baits work pretty well and are less toxic to you.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Ok, someone needs to put a warning on this thread that pics are included. I almost lost my lunch. I did mention how much I despise those creatures, right?

Neither of those is what I have always heard called a palmetto bug. I tried to find a pic of the ones I'm talking about but couldn't. Next time one wanders into the house I'll take a pic before I kill it.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Well, I'm a native (not that means much) but Bamboo has it right! Or at least in my book!
What happened to our poster? Come on down, the water's warm and bugs won't hurt you!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 28, 11 at 17:31

The bottom photo is the creature I've always known as a "palmetto bug".
All us oldtime Floridians have our "palmetto bug stories". I've got at least a million of them.
One that comes to mind took place about 1962 when I was about 11 years old. I was dozing on the living room couch early one Saturday morning (I think I spent the night there), when I was jolted awake by an ear-splitting shriek.
There was my sister, buck-naked, kicking away her last vestige of clothing across the living room floor. After she retreated in tears to the bedroom, I got up and began poking through the discarded clothing.
Sure enough, there was a live palmetto bug.
Since we never got around to discussing this incident, I have no idea how a palmetto bug got inside clothes she was already wearing.
My biggest scare brought on by a small creature took place on a turkey hunt in the Green Swamp about 1985.
I was stalking along through a deep, dark hardwood bottom called Devil's Creek Swamp. I was creeping along, my thumb on the safety catch of my shotgun, all senses on high alert because I knew some turkeys to be in the vicinity and I wanted to be ready if a gobbler should offer a quick shot.
I had been doing this for several minutes, eyes scanning, ears straining, every nerve on edge, when suddenly something cold and slimy thwacked me on the side of my neck and stuck there.
I jumped about three feet in the air and swiped it off with a quick sweep of my hand.
It was only a little green tree frog.
My heart was racing and I had to sit down for a while on a convenient log. I'm lucky my shotgun didn't accidentally discharge (along with several other of my bodily orifices).


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

PLEASE......don't move here!!!!! one more pesticide spraying homeowner.......:) illinois is perfect, same summers, different winters...enjoy!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I always assumed that people used the term "palmetto bug" because they didn't want anyone to know they had cockroaches. The bottom one is the one that I've always known to come in the house and terrify me. The top one is the one that likes to live out in the mulch and compost, under logs and plant pots, and has that horrible stink when disturbed. Some of those things are huge. We moved about 45 miles from Tampa, where cockroaches were a huge problem. We have the classic "palmetto bug" that we had there, but I've never seen them as big as they were there. We also have the Asian ones that live outside but will sometimes fly in the house, especially if it's dark and there is a light on and a door open. At first I thought we had German roaches, they look a lot like them and I had a fit, because I thought we had gotten them from storing some of our stuff in a storage unit. And it's very true, even if you haven't seen one in months, all you need is for some company to come and one will invariably come out.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

To get rid of palmetto bugs, feed them okra...that will kill anything. Seriously, stock your yard with some anoles and a black racer or two. The palmetto bugs will disappear.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

It's Florida.
We're buggy.
Everything grows and thrives here.
We ain't Kansas
or New York, or Michigan or any other state.
Florida is different for a reason.
Set aside your own phobias and misconceptions.
Embrace Florida for all she is: unique and beautiful.
That includes ALL the elements of the natural environment.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Please come to Florida, we need help feeding these dang skeeters.
There isn't enough of us people down here yet to feed all the mosquitoes we have.
Roaches are the least of our worries, it's the gators & sharks that will leave a mark.
You haven't lived until you've seen a flock of 100 plus Florida vultures in your yard during mating season.
Talk about writhing UGLINESS! yuck!

Lou


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And don't forget about the frogs that hid in your toilet and bumps you on the buttocks!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

You guys are crackin' me up.

Bamboo rabbit.....that dance your neighbors might've seen you do is called La cucaracha.


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RE: music to stomp by

had to do it

Here is a link that might be useful: La Cucaracha


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

lol


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Cane toads in south florida are fun. Did you know they can climb right up a wall if they are freaked out?


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

As some other posters have said, there is no one thing called a "palmetto bug." People will call anything a palmetto bug, particularly when they are trying to downplay the reason for the infestation.

To be sure, you will get roaches on the outside of the house. It is unavoidable since you have mulch, trash, etc. out there. But on the inside of the house you do have the ability to live nearly bug-free. I treat the entranceways of the house every few months with lamda-cyhalothrin. It lasts for a long time and on the rare occassion I find a roach in the house, it is dying from crossing the threshold of poison. Total cost is maybe $10 a year.

On the other hand, you can go into some houses and find infestations of American Cockroaches that are truly frightening. Don't worry, "they're just palmetto bugs!" is what they will say to pretend that their house does have ROACHES!

My advise to you would be to avoid older construction, and look under the sink and around the kitchen drawers. If you see lots of little black specks that is roach feces. I would not personally buy a home where I saw that.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 30, 11 at 15:12

This thread is several days old and have you noticed we haven't heard from "Jane" again?
We probably scared the poor girl so much that she and her hubby probably flew north and retired in Greenland!
See how y'all are?


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Bye Jane!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by garf 10B (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 30, 11 at 21:33

I grew up in a house in Miami, Fla. The windows were wooden casement type. The house was built in the 20's. One summer night, we saw a roach, then another roach, then another, THEN a massive swarm. They has nested in the window framework. We used up all the spray in the house. Dead roaches everywhere.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

"I hate all of the roach varieties with the burning fury of a thousand suns."
Truscifi, this is how I feel about roaches too. And we are very insect-friendly in my house, especially with children who love bugs. We often catch-and-release spiders, etc if we find one in the house. We raise caterpillars/butterflies, and sometimes other critters. But ROACHES! YUCK! Still would not trade Florida for anything. Great thread.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I recommend that Jane build a new house with Tubes-in-the-Walls pest control. It works astoundingly well. In six years I've seen maybe 3 staggering roaches. What the heck are those half-body roaches in the garden? Are they young roaches or what? I see more of them than the big ones. When my dogs were younger and I was moving mulch and logs in the yard, they'd come running, stick their noses in the musty, roachy dirt and then want to kiss me. They love the roach smell. Disgusting! In fact, in our last house that didn't have the tubes in the walls our Brittany would hunt them. She'd go on point, looking up at the ceiling and bark, and if you missed it and it fell to the floor, she'd chase it down and squish it once in her front teeth. I think she heard mommy scream once at one, and she was in hunting mode ever since. She doesn't have as much fun in this house. No roaches. But if you garden, they do come out of the dirt when you're digging. Just enough to give you the willies, nothing worse. Haven't seen any flying ones in Ocala, but Orlando and Sarasota have them.

Sherry

Here is a link that might be useful: Hilarious video


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Thanks for all the 'comforting' information. I guess they are a fact of life.

I think I'll confine my gardening skills to patio pots and forget about composting and planting in the ground. Maybe gravel (I've seen houses like that) to replace the bushes. I don't think I could find a way to be comfortable around those horrible bugs.

Sherry, I had to turn the video off after a few seconds. I can't look at them. I can see this is going to be a big problem.

Jane


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RE: Palmetto Bugs!!!

I forgot to tell this story someone told me. They shoot hair spray at them, then hit them with shaving cream so they can pick them up and throw them out of the house. Said the hair spray stops them from running or flying, the shaving foam keeps her from feeling the bug.

How gross!

Jane


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Jane, truly, roaches are about 0.1% of life in Florida. They're not a biggie. The very rare sightings of them serve to prove that your heart can jump into high gear in an instant and give DH a chance to be the hero. Although in my house, I am so intent on making the buggers dead that I don't wait for DH. You'll be fine - even outside in the garden. Believe me, I'm out in the garden ALL the time and hardly ever see them.

Sherry

Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

OMG I hate them too. In fact I was afraid to click on this thread cause I figured someone would post a picture and of course someone did : ( but I scrolled right past it quickly : 0 I can't stand them things. But don't let them scare you off. Just get on a spray regiment and you will be fine. You can do that yourself very inexpensively. I have not encountered any in my yard thankfully. You DO NOT have to live with them. Just spray the house and the yard and you will be ok.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 1, 11 at 15:46

Jane, if on the off chance that you actually move down here, it would be a good idea to remove all palm trees (especially Sabal Palms) from your property.
Those things are always FULL of palmetto bugs and carpenter ants!


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I think we have successfully scared her away from Florida. if I didn't already live here I would be scared! :-0


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  • Posted by saldut 9-10 st pete, fl (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 1, 11 at 17:03

Well, I grew up in Miami, during the War.. before houses were 'tight'... and roaches were just a fact of life, and you paid them no mind.... if you kept food cleaned-up and nothing left out or open you seldom saw them, you could sprinkle Boric Acid powder in the back of cupboards and it would keep them away... the worst case of roaches I have ever seen was when we visited in northern Vermont and sitting at the kitchen table and all these brown roaches were running around the floor and under the fridge... apparently the frigid cold outside hadn't bothered them !! So roaches are not native to just Fla.... if you keep a clean house you shouldn't be bothered with them.....sally


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or buy a gecko and let it live behind your fridge


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by saldut 9-10 st pete, fl (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 2, 11 at 16:27

Or keep cats ! cats love roaches.... sally


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Jane, You'll do fine here. I haven't heard of anyone dying of a heart attack from the roaches here. There are a lot of creatures here that will scare the h--- out of you but it will just jump start the old ticker back up!
Let us know when you'll be down and how you like it. One nice thing (so I've heard)is you don't have to shovel snow.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I moved to S. Florida in 1988. A coworker (from the midwest) and I were out snorkeling off Deerfield Beach. We spotted some horrible scary water creature with a HUGE mouth heading straight for us. We practically ran on top the water to rush back to shore. A lifeguard was standing at shore line waiting for us. And laughed his dang head off when we described our monster - Manta Ray.

This morning I was sitting out enjoying my coffee and noticed that our new pitcher plant had caught itself a roach. Then watched a bird almost catch one. If the pitcher plant will continue to munch on roaches, and maybe add deer fly to its diet I can perhaps get over my guilty feelings of patronizing the flea market vendor who wouldn't let me in his booth. In the mean time, I really need to get the leaf debris away from the house.

Come on down to Florida, lo these many years and I'm still here. The dang deer flies bother me way more than the roaches. I hardly ever see [live] roaches.

~dianne


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We are coming the end of the month again. Will stay at a friends house while we look at houses. My husband is trying to figure out a 'battle plan' to kill them. I can't even imagine I will ever get used to them. I am wondering if living in a condo (12th fl) will be safer? Do they crawl that far up?

The thought of going to bed and turning off the lights is terrifying. What if they crawl on the bed!

My husbands battle plan is because we couldn't kill them when we saw them last time we were down. They were so huge, we tried hitting one with a broom and couldn't kill it. Next day we opened the kitchen drawer to get a spoon and there was one in the drawer. Huge, Huge!! That was it...we left and went back to NY.

The house we stayed in is vacant for long periods. The owners only come during school vacations. It is on a salt-water canal. It was clean and had no food which would attract them. They had not sprayed since a year before.

We found one in the bathroom, in my suitcase, the kitchen drawer. If we went out at night to sit at the patio, there were huge ones flying. So we never went out at night.

The whole experience was a disaster because of these bugs. Now we are going to give it another try. Thinking, snow isn't looking so bad...Wish us luck.

Jane


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 5, 11 at 5:20

In 1969, my mom, sister, and me took a trip to West Palm Beach and stayed in a cheap motel room. My sister found a coconut and opened it. She ate some of it and left half of it on the nightstand between our beds.
Later that night I awoke in the pitch-dark and reached out to the nightstand to feel for the lamp. My hand plunked down onto the coconut and at least a dozen palmetto bugs blasted out from under my hand and raced in all directions.
I spent the rest of the night out in the car.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Living in a condo won't do it! You can still have them and if one of the neighbors isn't clean they will come from their place to yours.
Best corse of action is to have an exterminator once a month come in and spray first then make sure they do the outside also. Too bad your friends place is closed up for so long and not sprayed except when they are here.
Hope you have a better time when you come down at the end of the month.


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"MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING" I hate roaches, but fire ants are the real problem. The most roaches I have ever seen were in a house where we rented a temporary apt in Philadelphia. We learned to turn on the light at night if we needed a bathroom trip, we left shoes by the bed so we didnt have to walk on one on the way as the floor was carpeted by them. We found a new home quickly. I think if Jane is so squemish her best bet is an igloo in Alaska


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Jane,

I doubt you will see as many as you described in normal day to day life. I've never sprayed my Florida houses and only see them occassionally. The worst was an old wood house in Coconut Grove. I would say I'd see a few a month there. I put out the little roach motels and that usually helped.

I haven't seen any in this house in Ft. Myers, but we haven't had company yet. ;) I have seen a few in my compost pile, but it's not like I expect that to be clean and bug free. ....I'd take them over NY any day of the week, but to each their own. :)


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Yes, I know they're in the walls here (fourplex), but I hardly ever see them, mostly only when one of the seasonal residents first comes back and disturbs them, and then only one or two. Just putting out bait works as well as spraying, really, and it's healthier for you.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Jane,
You probably will find the most roaches in places you stay that are occupied only occasionally. With your own home you would take the precaution of removing any dead rotting vegetation from close to the house. The best advice is to find a home that is constructed with cement blocks. A CB home is a very good barrier to them and you can easily spray or bait the entry points or have a bug service do it for you. I would also recommend a single family home rather than a condo type home as you could end up next to a family that harbors roaches due to uncleanliness. I would be very cautious about buying a home in a HOA (home owners association) as many times you have no control over your own property, especially if you enjoy gardening. Some HOA's have very restrictive rules for you to follow and will even insist on what plants you can or cannot plant. Buy a house with the largest lot you can afford thereby having your gardens a short distance away from the house rather than right up next to it. With proper planning and due diligence I'm sure you could find a home that will suit your family needs.

Lou


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

black racer jane, not sure how it happened, but this little snake made it's way into our bedroom. my wife woke up screaming in the middle of the night, snake trying to hide under our pillows, eventually a huge brown spider dropped from the ceiling fan and fought the snake off.....we were lucky!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Oh, Great!

Jane


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I've got to get my waders on, it's getting deep in here!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

FWIW, I have recently begun using a synthetic pyrethrin spray:
http://www.demonwp.com/

You mix it in a sprayer and then spray it at all door openings and around areas of your house where you might have intrusions. It lasts 3 weeks. I use it at a commercial building that I own too, and the results are fantastic. The barrier lasts 3 weeks, and any roach (or other bug) that walks over the barrier dies. It puts a HUGE dent in the roach problem, and pyrethrins are relatively non-toxic to mammals. I have a drive-in bay at my commercial property and I will find 10 dead roaches a week just inside/outside the bay entrance. Even if they make it inside they don't get far. The stuff is pretty cheap. I pay $11 for a package that makes 4 gallons.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Jane, I'm serious about the Tubes-in-the-Walls type of pest control. It really, really works. Your battle plan should be to tell your Realtor you only want to look at homes that have this. If he/she laughs you off, be adamant - print out this thread and give it to her. A lot of builders have been offering it as a upgrade feature. They've been doing it for at least ten years here. The pest control company comes quarterly, taps into the connection on the outside wall and refills the system. No bugs living in the walls! It is wonderful. They also spray around the perimeter of the house.

My worst, most horrifying experiences were opening the dishwasher and seeing a roach scurry around inside it. That was the grossest!!!!! THAT DOES NOT EVER HAPPEN IN THIS HOUSE!! Life is good!

Happy house hunting!!

Sherry

Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by jofus 9a/10b (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 10, 11 at 13:28

Jane - NY, Hi, I am from NY also and quickly realized I needed to adjust to the south Florida bugs when I moved to the Keys in 1992. Didn't take long, you'll be fine, trust me. Palmetto bugs are no worse than the cockroaches that infest most NYC apartment buildings.
Actually I recently found out they are actually dance instructors. Here's why : Was enjoying lunch with a friend at Sharky's on Venice Beach a few years ago when it started to rain. Most outside customers moved to the tables under the overhang, like we did. After a half hour or so the whole outside erupted in bedlam ! The wooden decks became waterlogged and the palmetto bugs came flying out, and up the bare legs of most customers who were sitting at the tables. I simply swiped off the few that were on me but the women who were attacked started screaming loudly as they stood up and started dancing wildly ! Never knew there were so many women that could do the Irish Jig ! LOL


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Ya'll are a hoot! we give our palmetto bugs chores! they are NP! many motels use them as bellhops in FL.. carry in your luggage, just strap it on their backs,.... lol
live here 30 yrs. wud live no other place..luv it!!!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I grew up with water bugs (German cockroaches) and I much prefer the wood roaches and palmetto bugs, because there aren't as many of them and they are easier to kill. If you've ever lived in a house infested with German cockroaches, you'll bless the harmless (but scary) palmetto bugs, who just seem to die all on their own with no help from us. My grandmother lived in a 150 year old house on an island in SC, and we would sleep with the covers over our heads at night to keep the palmetto bugs from flying onto us. But at least you can hear them scuttling around. German cockroaches like to get on the ceiling and drop onto the bed.

As for brown recluse spiders, I've seen a couple, but they aren't really aggressive (hence, the "recluse") and only bite if they are trapped. The wolf spiders are much more dangerous, because they dearly love to just sit on a wall and wait for you to turn the light on, so you can have heart failure!

I wrote this awhile back for my gardening blog. It talks about the widow spiders, so you may be interested.

Spiders and Roaches and Ants! Oh My!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 12, 11 at 5:23

One of the creepiest experiences I can remember involved german cockroaches.
In 1983 I dated a young woman in Pensacola. One night she invited me home and to say I received a shock would be an understatement!
EVERYTHING was literally covered with cockroaches!
Every wall, floor, ceiling, counter, and furniture item. They were everywhere! I've never seen anything like it, before or since.
She said her exterminator threw up his hands in defeat and tore up his contract. The roaches had built up an immunity to every poison in his bag of tricks. I even went to the store and returned with a bait called Ortho Pest-Be-Gone, which always worked well for me.
Well, her roaches ate this stuff like candy and suffered no ill effects.
That was a long time ago, and I've heard that these pesticide-resistant cockroaches are becoming more common these days.
What a nightmarish thought!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

It took me at least 5 years to come to grips with the bugs here after moving from NJ 14 years ago. They can scurry over a foot now and I don't freak out, I arm myself and go after them. I sit outside at night a ton and my house is surrounded by palms, which the palmettos love, and it's become a war between me and them. I have a strong fly swatter and my swing accuracy is improving. Perhaps this is why Florida churns out so many good ball players...

I love the lizards/anoles, because they eat everything, but my first experience with them was in Naples. Found one in my room, captured it in the ice bucket and brought it to the front desk in outrage. The clerk then proceeded to clip it to her ear and I nearly fainted! But it taught me they're harmless.

I'm more scared of the spiders, snakes, scorpions and ants now. I had an incident at 5am headed for work in Tampa one morning where I had put a foot in a red ant pile while readjusting stuff on the front seat. Well I had tall boots on, so they made it pretty far up the pants before I knew they were there. Luckily it was early because I was pantsless and running around like a madwoman on the front lawn shortly after. I had so many bites that I had to go to the hospital. If you get bit too much they can poison you and you will need treatment. I learned the hard way to watch where I step.

Had a friend bit by a recluse and it was gross to watch. The hospital gave meds, but until they kicked in the bite spread... The tissue around it died and went from dime sized to larger than a half dollar, yuk.

And I second the mosquito comment - please come help feed them cause I can't take it anymore... They laugh at the glade clip on thing.

I can't ride my motorcycle down here during love bug season. They cover my helmet shield to the point I can't see. Bonus about the anoles here though. When I get home I leave my leather riding jacket out back and they eat all the guts off it and clean it up good as new, lol.

If you want to get really scared, I mean informed, take a Florida biology class. Anything can thrive in the Everglades. Our biggest concern now, even more so than gators or crocs.. The Nile monitors... Ugh!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Susie, the Palmetto bugs in my yard and house have formed a union - can't afford to pay them what they want, so I just relocate over into the neighbor's field!

They move SO FAST it's hard to hit them with normal bug spray, so I got some wasp and flying insect spray - shoots up to 10' - gets 'em every time! I can't stand the ooze they leave behind when I kill one.

My Chi loves to 'stalk' them - she will yap until I come and remove it. They don't run when she comes around, but they do when I appear - word has gotten out that I aim to KILL!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Brute- that is terrible advice to cut down our native palms.
Please do not do that!
Palmetto bugs live everywhere not just in palm trees.
Please do not move to our lovely state and start poisoning everything in sight.
Stay away if you do not enjoy Florida's native flora and fauna.
You are welcome if you will embrace the natural beauty of Florida.

Please look at this link that contains lots of nice color photographs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Florida natives


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 13, 11 at 13:01

Yme405, Your tale of the desk clerk "clipping the anole to her ear" brought back a rush of sweet memories!
That gal must've been an oldtime Florida Cracker. When I was a kid, girls would catch these critters, allow them to bite their earlobes, then walk around with "lizard earings" for hours. The lizards would never let go until the girls finally pulled them off. Hah! Is it any wonder that I always fell in love with the redneck girls I dated? The more rustic and redneck they were, the better I liked 'em!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Glad I could bring back good memories for ya Brute. That has to be one of my favorite early memories here that still makes me chuckle. Saw my first armadillo that night, too. The Everglades and Florida crackers are definitely two of my favorite subjects.

My first experience with a Palmetto bug was when I was staying in a Sarasota hotel where Elizabeth Shoo and Woody Harrelson were also staying while filming, ironically.. Palmetto.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

As much as I hate bugs, this is one of the funniest forums I've ever read. Jane, I live in Sarasota, arrived in 2000. We've had snakes in the pool, toads in the toilet, crab and wolf spiders in the house(THAT was my least favorite thing!). Bugs are easy and if you spray regularly (we do outside 2x a year)are almost non-existant inside. The killer down here is the heat. We have two seasons: Hot and hotter. Get ready.

And all you guys talking about bugs - not a word about termites?!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

We have every dang type of bug found everywhere in this whole wide world.(and probably some from the nuther-worlds) It seems they also come to Florida to retire for the good life and you of course are their lunch. Termites? yeah we got 'em, heck, we even have termites that eat cement. So c'mon down and help feed the bugs, I'm getting darned tired of getting bit up and need some relief. You just haven't lived until you've driven your car during love bug season and come back home and see the front of your car is now sporting a black beard that's next to impossible to wash off without using a high pressure washer. The little bugs will pi$$ you off but it's the big critters (like the alligators, boar hogs, black bears) that will really leave a mark.

Lou


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

This is the best forum for Florida gardeners, I learn so much and laugh so much (Lou)...
I live in North Port (20 miles south of Sarasota). I've been in Florida for 35 years.

In my experience the roaches seem to LOVE cardboard boxes. Don't store anything in your garage, shed, closet in cardboard boxes or you will get a surprise when you open it.

A few roach traps placed under the sinks, dresser, closet, and you probably won't see any in the house.

My dad sprinkled Epsom salts on the floor of the sheds and the roaches haven't come back (after clearing out the infested cardboard boxes)...

The mosquitoes are the worst thing about Florida, especially if surrounded by standing water, and woods. I should buy stock in the company that makes Deep Woods Off.

I have a lot of wolf spiders this year, more than usual. They must be eating the palmetto bugs because I have seen very few of those.

I saw a wasp yesterday dragging a wolf spider through the grass and had to look it up. Yup we even have wasps that hunt the hunting spiders.

It's always interesting, and thanks to the folks in this forum (Lou, Sylvia, Tom and many others) I enjoy the wonders of gardening in Florida even more.

Larry


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

For all you newcomers to Florida, I think you'll find that bugs are a lot less prevalent from about November through March, if it's any comfort to you. :-)

Sheri


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I have a horror story about cockroaches. I moved to Tampa two years ago, to a rundown apartment building because I needed to save some money for a house. Let's just say that nights were frightful. I'd hear them, crawling around, bumping into my pans, climbing my cardboard boxes. When I'd turn on the lights, I always would see about five to ten of the devils scurry for their hiding places. I would attack them at night. I got pretty good at squashing them with my flip flop. I had reddish ones, black ones, brown ones, small ones, big ones - it was like a diversity advertisement for a corporation. Sometimes they would come to me in my bed just to give me a good night kiss...

One night at midnight while I was killing roaches in the tiny kitchen, I accidently knocked over a glass bowl which shattered on my tile into one million peices. I couldn't move because I was surrounded by shards of glass and I was barefoot. Roach guts were smeared around the floor and counter. I was exhaused and had to wake up early the next morning for work. I cut my foot and bleed on the carpet. And there were still roaches watching me, mocking me that night. I consider this night to be my worst encounter with them.

BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS! I left that slum of an appartment, bought a home constructed of cinder block, and have never seen a roach in over one year! Thank God!

- Aaron


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

I know this post is old, and I hate to necrobump, but the pictures bamboo_rabbit posted about palmetto bugs vs. brown-banded roaches are actually correct. According to entomologists, the roach more commonly known as a palmetto bug is actually the American cockroach. The scientific 'palmetto bug' is what bamboo_rabbit posted as the top picture. It can grow to be 2 inches (OMG) long and scare the heck out of you...


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

mh123, it is a good read and laugh! Those palmetto bugs stink when you smash them.
Wonder how Jane love Fl. now?


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Just to set the record straight: Eurycotis Floridana, or the Florida Woods Cockroach, is the original "Palmetto Bug" named by Florida crackers. Nowadays, however, the American Cockroach is typically called a Palmetto Bug. I would much rather encounter a Florida Woods Cockroach than an American Cockroach. The latter will chase you across a room and cause spontaneous incontinence. Hideous things. I have lived in FL since 1955 and still shudder at the sight of them, lol. This was a funny thread!!!


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

For any type of roaches you need some Key West hens. I believe my rescue key west chickens must have feasted on roaches regularly down there in Key West because if they see one they fight each other and rip them to shreds faster than you can blink an eye. I am just so thrilled to have them do this because if there is one bug I can't stand, it is a large roach. They are like chicken crack to the KW hens lol.
~SJN


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

  • Posted by brute Florida 9B (My Page) on
    Mon, May 28, 12 at 12:07

I wonder if Jane ever made it down here to stay?
Jane? uh, hello? Jane...?


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Judging by her posts, I don't think Jane was able to hang with our bugs...


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Wow! Poor Jane. I can't stand Palmetto bugs, but I can't stand snow either! I have some in my bathroom. My cat likes to catch and eat them, but he's been slacking! I had one run up my arm the other night when I was on the throne and reached for the toilet paper. I screamed loud enough to wake the dead! Then I just got settled in bed and one ran across my back! EEEKKK!!!! I'm still here! I lived in PA and NJ. I'd much rather deal with those creepy things than drive on a snow covered road! Isn't there some kind of trap for them?


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

Jane is still looking for a home in the Sarasota/Siesta Key area, but hasn't had much luck with a couple that went under contract but failed inspections for various reasons.

You can follow her saga on the Buying and Selling Homes forum.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

For you Florida newbies, I wouldn't worry about a few palmetto bugs. Just swat them. Why, just this morning I took a pic of one at my neighbor's house.

Photobucket


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

It sure has been a big laugh here! I hope Jane gets things settled and is able to move here and gut out the bugs! They love used egg cartons too! And bags, paper or plastic. Darn things. is there any way to trap them or deter them? I have a cat so I don't want to use anything that will hurt Zackey.


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

zackey,
Yup, there is a way of trapping them..... you open your front or back door, put banana peelings just inside the door all along the inside of the threshold. When they go inside to eat the peelings... shut the door... they are trapped!!

Lou


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RE: Palmetto Bugs

The ducks sure like those roaches..and that make a nice crunching sound as they turn those disgusting creatures in to eggs.


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