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It’s Just a Palmetto Bug Right? American vs. German Cockroaches


If you’ve ever noticed that our local palmetto bug looks a lot like a really large cockroach, you’ve got a good eye. The American cockroach, more well-known in this area as the palmetto bug, is the largest cockroach species in the U.S. However, this bug is very different from the common German cockroach most people think of. Let’s check out what’s different about them:

The American Cockroach (Palmetto Bug)
The American cockroach is a common bug in the southeastern U.S. The humid climate and warmer temperatures are ideal for this insect that much prefers life outdoors. American cockroaches make their homes in warm, moist environments outside such as under piles of lawn debris, under pine straw or mulch, near drains or in any wet area with lots of places to hide. These cockroaches can fly, however, in our region they don’t fly as much as they do in some other regions in the south. Should you find one in your home, it likely wandered in looking for food or warmth (during the winter months). One American cockroach can produce around 800 offspring in one year. While that sounds like a high number, other types of cockroaches produce far more offspring.

The German Cockroach
When you think of roach infestations, such as those you find in densely-populated urban areas like big cities, the image that comes to your mind is likely the German cockroach. The German cockroach is often lighter in color and much smaller than the American cockroach. German cockroaches are drawn to filth and commonly squeeze into a home or apartment through tiny cracks and crevices. From there they like to hang out anywhere food is present, including food prep areas, trash cans and in your pantry. One German cockroach and her offspring can produce 30,000 cockroaches in just one year. With their attraction to all things filthy, they are known to contaminate surfaces they walk on with numerous bacteria and illness-causing germs from their feet and legs. A few examples include salmonella, shigella, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, staph, strep and coliform bacteria (fecal bacteria like e. coli). They have wings but rarely fly and leave behind droppings that resemble ground black pepper.

If you have concerns about cockroaches, The Pest Force is here to answer all of your questions. The American cockroach might be the most common and less likely to create an infestation but they can still spread bacteria. The German cockroach is found in nearly all states and all countries. They are most likely to cause you or your family serious illness. Whether American or German, just one call and we take care of them all!