How to Kill Palmetto Bugs in the House


A palmetto bug is another name for a cockroach. There are dozens of cockroach species, and they all can carry diseases and bacteria. They can multiply quickly and contaminate your food supply. If you have a cockroach infestation, you have several options for getting rid of it. You may use harsh chemicals or nontoxic solutions. Prevent future infestations by making your home inhospitable to the pests. Cockroaches need a water supply, so eliminate all sources of standing water (such as water in sinks and the bathtub). Empty your garbage frequently and eliminate all crumbs and similar debris.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticides
  • Boric acid
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Water
  • Detergent
  • Detect areas where the roaches may be hiding. Cockroaches tend to scatter and hide when a light is suddenly turned on. Allow portions of your home to remain dark for awhile, then flip on the light and observe where the roaches hide.

  • Focus your insecticides on the roaches' hiding places. There are many possible insecticides for these bugs. Dusts and chemical sprays can both be effective. Ensure that the product you select is labeled for cockroaches. Read the instructions carefully for safety precautions and apply the insecticide to the area of infestation. Insecticides are typically not intended to treat vast areas, such as an entire floor. Do not use them in food areas or where your children or pets could be exposed.

  • Sprinkle boric acid along the tops of your cabinets, if there is a gap between them and the ceiling. Palmetto bugs like to scurry along high places. They will carry the boric acid back to the nests and this will kill the rest of the roaches. Never apply boric acid in a place where children or pets may be exposed; it is toxic.

  • Use nontoxic solutions if you cannot ensure that your children or pets will not be exposed to insecticides and other toxins. Scatter diatomaceous earth in areas frequented by palmetto bugs. This will kill the roaches within a couple of days; however it may take a couple of weeks to wipe out the entire infestation. The website EarthEasy warns that you may see more cockroaches right after the application, as they will search more aggressively for water.

  • Fill a spray bottle nearly all the way full with water, then add dish detergent. Screw the top on the bottle and shake it up. Spray this solution directly on any palmetto bugs you come across in the house. It will kill them.

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  • Photo Credit Huge Cockroach image by fotodewan from
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