Kris Fisher

Palmetto Bugs vs. Cockroaches – Is There A Difference?

It’s Palmetto Bug season, y’all. The popular topic of conversation this year has been the cicadas and the omnipresent noise all over town. However, Georgia/Carolina residents know that this is prime Palmetto Bug season. We’re all familiar with them. They pop up at the most inopportune times. But, I guess, what is the opportune time for hanging with a cockroach? Unless, of course, you’re Theo Huxtable. Gen Xers know what I’m talking about. The rest of y’all can Google it. Palmetto Bugs Are Locals Too Anyway, locals have a long history with Palmetto Bugs. It doesn’t matter how clean your house is. These little jerks will mosey their way into your house whenever they see fit. I have a very vivid memory of hanging out with a girl when I was a teenager, who I was very interested in, as a Palmetto Bug crawled up my wall. The sheer terror of the bug even being there in the first place was enough to make me sweat. But, add on the fear of the girl seeing it?! Oh, man! I’m surprised I didn’t have a heart attack right there! Palmetto Bugs Are Getting Used To Us I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s noticed but, it seems like the Palmetto Bugs are getting more cocky. When I was younger, it seemed like the room needed to be at least dark for them to start creeping around. Nowadays, they just chill anywhere. They no longer scurry away when you turn on the light or even step near them. Palmetto Bugs are surprisingly fast. At least, they used to be. I walked into my office earlier this week and there was one just sitting there in the middle of the room. Didn’t care that the light was on and didn’t care when I stepped right beside it. In fact, it even asked to borrow five bucks! This Palmetto bug occupied my office and wouldn't leave! A coworker also had a run-in recently. She said one was in her vehicle. When she tried to shoo it out, it just crawled back in, under the back seat. She emphatically explained that she can’t drive now. What if the bug crawled onto her while driving? A very real problem, by the way.  Her solution? It’s obvious: She’d have to set the vehicle on fire. Disclaimer: Do not set your vehicle on fire because there’s a bug in it. I explained to her that it’s just a Palmetto Bug, not a roach. This is an explanation that I’ve heard from many southerners. I’ve had extensive conversations debating the difference. As it turns out, I’ve been mostly wrong. So, What Is The Difference Between Palmetto Bugs And Cockroaches? Palmetto Bugs are, in fact, cockroaches. “Palmetto bug” is mostly used to refer to the Florida Woods cockroach, Smokey Brown cockroach, Australian cockroach, American cockroach, Brown cockroach and the Death’s Head(!) cockroach. And, yes, they’re just as gross as the ones that we all REALLY don’t want: the German cockroach. Palmetto Bugs, even though they make their way inside sometimes, prefer to live in trees, foliage and shrubbery. German cockroaches prefer your dirty kitchen or bathroom. This breed multiplies quickly and are just flat out gross, especially when you see them on the wall of a restaurant in which you just finished your lunch (this actually happened to me and EWWWW!). If you see them, it’s time you cleaned up your area…and call an exterminator. Luckily, the German cockroach, the most common of the bug, rarely use their wings. Palmetto Bugs, however, are known to use theirs. Their favorite time to use them? When you are standing nearby and they can fly toward your head.