How to Tell Cockroaches and Palmetto Bugs Apart

What Is a Palmetto Bug?

The term "palmetto bug" is a general name commonly used to refer to several species of cockroaches in the southern U.S. and even some beetles. Other cockroach names are "waterbug" or "Croton bug." Unfortunately, these names can lead to confusion and misidentification, since any moderate- to large-sized cockroaches and even beetles are often called these by the public. Since habits and control measures often are species-specific, it is best to consult a pest control professional who can properly identify the species and then select control measures.

American Cockroach Illustration

Palmetto Bug vs. Cockroach

A cockroach species commonly called a "palmetto bug" is the American cockroach (Periplanetaamericana). Adult American cockroaches are large and winged. Their coloration is dark brown with a cream-colored prothorax that has dark markings that resemble sunglasses. American cockroaches prefer damp conditions and often are found in sewers, woodpiles and mulch. They will fly to lights. This particular behavior is disconcerting for homeowners who encounter a large roach that flies near their face when entering doors with lights nearby in the evening.

Smokybrown Cockroach

Another large species that may be called a "palmetto bug" is the smokybrown cockroach. The adults are a dark mahogany color and winged as well. They lack the sunglasses markings on the prothorax and are slightly smaller.

What Does a Cockroach Look Like?

Difference Between a Waterbug and a Cockroach

Resources

Protect Your Home from Cockroaches

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

American Cockroaches

Cuban Cockroaches

Florida Woods Cockroaches

Pacific Beetle Cockroaches

Green Cockroaches

Pale-bordered Field Cockroaches

Smokybrown Cockroaches

Brown Banded Cockroaches

Sand Cockroaches

Connect with Us

Our customer care team is available for you 24 hours a day.

877-819-5061

Find a Branch

Our local technicians are the pest experts in your area.

Get a Personalized Quote

We will help you find the right treatment plan for your home.

Home is where the bugs aren't™

SERVICES

Pest ControlTermite ControlPrevent and Protect

PEST LIBRARY

Browse All Pests

© 2021 Orkin LLC

Terms of UsePrivacyAccessibility StatementCareers