Florida Woods Cockroaches

Facts, Identification, & Control

Scientific Name

Eurycotis floridana


What Do They Look Like?

  • Size: Florida woods cockroaches measure to about an inch and a half long and up to one inch wide.
  • Color: They are reddish brown to black and do not have fully developed wings like many other species of cockroaches.
  • Characteristics: This species appears wingless, but they have short vestigial wings.

How Did I Get Florida Woods Cockroaches?

Attracted to decomposing plants and plant matter, Florida woods cockroaches rarely enter homes. Their ideal habitat can exist close to houses in leaf litter and compost. As a result, they may come indoors through cracks and gaps in the home, but more likely are brought inside along with something such as firewood.

How Serious Are Florida Woods Cockroaches?

These insects don’t cause damage to buildings or furniture. People who touch Florida woods cockroaches may feel skin or eye irritation due to a defensive chemical the pests secrete.

Signs of Infestation

Residents with an infestation will notice the pests in dark areas such as basements and attics. These pests are larger than many other cockroach species, making them easier to spot. They may also spot egg cases where the insects are actively breeding.

Outside these cockroaches may be seen under leaves and compost piles or in piles of firewood. The experience of pest control professionals may be necessary for removal.

How Do I Get Rid of Florida Woods Cockroaches?

What You Can Do
Here are some tips for homeowners who wish to prevent Florida woods cockroach infestations:

  • Limit Food Sources & Habitats: Limit food sources and habitats that can deter these pests. Dispose of leaf litter and debris around houses to remove easy meals and hiding places.
  • Seal Entryways: Install well-fitting screens and weather stripping. Caulk any visible cracks in siding or foundations.

What Orkin Does
Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage Florida woods cockroaches and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep Florida woods cockroaches in their place and out of your home or business.

Behavior, Diet, & Habits

The Florida woods cockroach is sometimes called the palmetto bug, because they may be found hiding under palmetto leaves.

They are similar in appearance to oriental cockroaches. Adult oriental cockroaches usually are less than 3 cm and have more developed wings, though still not beyond the tip of the abdomen.

This pest is also commonly referred to as the stinking cockroach. To ward off predators, Florida woods cockroaches release harmful chemicals from a gland under their abdomens. This defense is vital to their survival, as the pests are slow moving compared to other species.

What Do They Eat?
The diet of a Florida woods cockroach consists of:

  • Decaying plants
  • Mold
  • Moss

Where Do They Live?
The pests prefer to live in damp, dark places with a large food supply. Wooded areas provide a perfect habitat. They can be found outdoors or indoors in places including:

  • Bathrooms
  • Basements
  • Leaf litters
  • Leaking pipes
  • Palmetto leaves
  • Trees
  • Woodpiles

Geographical Range
They are most common in humid, warm areas such as:

  • Coastal Alabama
  • Coastal Georgia
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • West Indies

Reproduction & Life Cycle
Florida woods cockroaches can produce eggs with or without fertilization. Females lay ootheca, or egg cases, which hatch after about 50 days. They produce egg cases that contain an average of 20 to 24 eggs.

Nymphs undergo six to eight molts before becoming adults. This process usually takes several months. These cockroaches may live for over a year.