Florida, aka the ‘sunshine state’, is famous for its pristine beaches and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
However, there are certain things people living there have to deal with- humidity, heat, and cockroaches!
Yes, you read that right; there are 3500 species of cockroaches in the world and 70 of them are found in Florida itself!
Amongst all, Florida cockroaches are the most common ones. They are also known as Palmetto bugs or Water bugs, which are huge in size and a big nuisance.
Now, if you live in Florida then this is a must-read for you.
Types of Roaches in Florida
Many species of cockroaches can be generally found in Florida; however, these are the major ones that you will come across at least once during your stay in the state.
The American Cockroach
An American cockroach aka as a palmetto bug is generally mahogany or reddish-brown in color two yellowish-brown circles just behind the head and black markings.
They have long straight antennae and while maturing into an adult, they tend to grow a little bit longer than 3 inches.
They have 2 wings that cover their back and are a little longer than their body and they have 6 legs, which are, on closer observation, lined with spines.
Both female and male cockroaches can fly.
Usually, these giant roaches choose to live outside in damp areas which are warm like underneath mulch or a flowerbed, etc.
Although they do prefer to live outside, they will enter your homes in search of water and food.
Once inside the house, you will usually find them in kitchens, basements, laundry rooms and other places that tend to warm and have moisture.
These cockroaches emit an odor that is caused by a chemical named ‘aggregate pheromone’.
This chemical makes these creatures stick together in a group.
This odor is often recounted as ‘musty’ smelling and is more noticeable when there is a larger cockroach population around.
The German Cockroach
Another common cockroach found in Florida is the German cockroaches.
These roaches are quite easy to identify since they have two horizontal stripes behind their head on the pronotum.
They are light brown to tan in color and can grow up to a length of 16mm.
These cockroaches also have straight long antennae and six legs lined with spines.
Although they have wings, they don’t often fly.
Although German cockroaches can live outdoors in Florida tropical environments, they are still commonly found indoors.
Just like their American cousins, they also prefer to live in homes that provide a warm and moist area for their dwelling.
Once inside the house, they freely and easily move between rooms or apartments through plumbing and pipes.
These roaches usually enter the house in cardboard boxes or used containers and appliances, in shopping bags, etc.
The Smokybrown Cockroach
The Smokybrown cockroach, as the name suggests, is a smoky-brown in color cockroach found in large numbers in Florida
They usually appear shiny black with 6 legs lined with spines and a slightly curved antenna which is generally sticking out.
These cockroaches are also good flyers with wings that go beyond their bodies.
They can grow to be as long as 38mm in length.
Since these roaches are prone to dehydration, they usually prefer very warm and moist places.
They can be found under mulch, in tree holes and around soffits and eaves.
These roaches will eat anything available from animal feces to dead trees.
These cockroaches have also been known to nibble on non-food items such as nylon stockings, presumably attracted to remnants of skin flakes and body oils.
Asian Cockroaches look quite similar to German cockroaches which is what they are mistaken to be most of the time.
However, there are certain differences between them and one of the major differences is that Asian cockroaches are stronger flyers and have longer wings than German cockroaches.
Another major distinction is that they are unusually attracted to light, anything from the glow of the TVs, light bulbs and computers.
These cockroaches were found in Florida in the late 1980s, however now they can be found throughout the southeast.
They are usually found under mulch, tree trunks, in shaded areas, leaf litter, etc.
They enter the houses through open windows and poorly fitted drains and seals.
Even open trash cans and dirty dishes can draw them indoors.
The Oriental Cockroach
The Oriental Cockroach is another very common cockroach found in Florida.
They are also referred to as ‘black beetle’ or a ‘water bug’ because of its shiny black head and glossy appearance.
They are 1.5 inches long and generally prefer outdoors; however, during droughts and shortage of food and water, they may venture inside houses.
Once inside, they usually dwell in high moisture places like drains and sewers that are out of harm and sight from humans.
They like to feed on decaying matter, thus attracting them more to garbage bins and piles.
They are seldom spotted on walls or in cabinets and furniture.
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Florida
Once inside your house, these cockroaches can be a big nuisance; here are some of the tried-and-tested solutions to get rid of cockroaches:
Thoroughly Clean Your House
This may seem like a very basic thing to do, but cockroaches are attracted to filth and dirt, that is why you commonly see them in garbage bins.
Another thing they look out for is moisture; hence the drains and sinks are such a common choice for the cockroaches.
You need to keep your house clean and dry all the time to make your place as inhospitable for them as possible.
Use Boric Acid & Diatomaceous Earth
Boric Acid and food-grade Diatomaceous Earth powder are extremely lethal for cockroaches and kills them instantly.
You can spread them all-around your house or mix them in flour and sugar, make small balls and keep it in common hiding areas of these cockroaches like under your refrigerator, in drawers, etc.
Using Store Bought Baits
Another common way of getting rid of cockroaches is using the store-bought baits.
Insecticides often disguised as chemical baits are used as a source of food to get rid of cockroaches.
The cockroaches eat them, return to their dwelling and die.
They also help in spreading the poison to the rest of the dwelling, thus killing other cockroaches as well.
Seal All Cracks and Holes
By now you must know that cockroaches like warm and dark places, hidden away from the sight of humans.
And what is better than a hole or crevice in your foundation wall or a leaky pipe in your bathroom?
These spots are like jackpots for these cockroaches, where they live and breed, causing an infestation.
One of the most important steps that are sealing all the gaps, cracks and crevices, replacing broken pipes and closing all drains and other openings in your house where these hell-raisers can hide.
Hire A Professional
In case all the above-mentioned remedies do not work and you still spot a couple of cockroaches crawling in your home, then you might be facing an infestation.
Cockroaches are persistent creatures and despite taking all the correct measures you still might get them in your house especially if you live in Florida.
During such times, it is always better to hire a professional and call an exterminator.
They are trained and well equipped in handling such situations.
They will make sure to get rid of the infestation without causing any harm to you or your property.
FAQ about Florida Cockroaches
Are cockroaches common in Florida?
Yes, cockroaches are quite common in Florida.
Florida is home to hundreds of insect species, including around 70 different types of cockroaches.
The most common cockroach in Florida is the American Cockroach, it is also known as the ‘State bird of Florida’ or Florida roaches.
Are there flying cockroaches in Florida?
There are many different species of cockroaches in Florida and those include flying cockroaches as well.
The most common flying cockroaches that you can spot in Florida are the American Cockroach, The Smokybrown Cockroach, and the Asian Cockroach.
How do I keep Palmetto bugs out of my house in Florida?
Some of the most common and efficient ways to keep the Palmetto bugs out of your house are:
- Spread boric acid or food-grade diatomaceous earth around your house.
- Seal all the cracks and holes in your walls, repair leaking pipes, and open drains.
- Keep your house clean and organized – dirty dishes washed, garbage taken out regularly, empty boxes put away, etc.
What do cockroaches look like in Florida?
An average cockroach in Florida is usually blackish-brown in color with 6 legs lined with spines and long antennas which are generally sticking out.
Depending upon the species of the cockroach, they can grow as big as in 1.5 inches in length and might also have a pair of wings on their back.
How big do roaches get in Florida?
Among all the roaches that you can find in Florida, the biggest one is the American Cockroach which is also known as the ‘Palmetto Bug’.
They are also called ‘roaches on steroids’ because of how big they can get as an adult. The American roaches’ length usually ranges between 1.5- 2 inches or sometimes even bigger.
Why are there so many bugs in Florida?
The state of Florida provides a great arthropod and insect diversity, the reason being the climate.
Florida is warm and humid throughout the year which makes it a very favorable place for many exotic species of insects and animals to live and thrive.
There is no denying that roaches are a big problem in Florida, and the truth is that most of the homeowners will have to deal with an infestation at some point in their lives while they live there.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get rid of them or keep them from getting into your house.
There are many solutions now available that you can undertake yourself to keep these bugs are bay.
And in case of severe situations, you should hire an exterminator who will get rid of this problem for you by taking the correct steps.