I understand your disgust and dislike of these bugs. One was in a house I looked at today. Naturally I screamed, shuddered, then squished it. (alliteration!) They are seasonal and the season is just beginning. If I remember correctly, they last 4-6 weeks. Everyone in my family hates bugs so we have Sawyer Pest Control treat our house quarterly. In general, we do not have such bugs inside the house, though they are outside. Trade off between bugs and sprays, I'll choose sprays. You might check for companies that use ingredients that are harmless to humans. Could also check with NC State dept of Agriculture and/or horticulture.
The palmetto bugs are not like cockroaches in that they are seasonal, do not reflect on your cleanliness. If you want to commiserate, call me because complaining about bugs is high on my list of fun things to do. Seriously.
Anyway, my point is this. If you notice a place seems dark or damp, and maybe if there are lots of trees nearby, those could be warning signs. I'm not certain that's it, but having lived in 4 places nearby with no issues, that's my best guess.
Palmetto bugs, also known as American cockroaches, are frequent house pests in the southern United States. They grow to about 2 inches in length, can walk across ceilings and fly. Unless you are willing to have your house sprayed with pesticide, you have to keep them out, sweep them out, or starve them out. Here are several remedies:
1. Keep Palmetto bugs out by sealing off possible entry points. Use fine mesh screening and duct tape to seal off holes around your home. Nail weatherstripping along the bottom of your doors. Stuff screening into cracks along the foundation or next to windows. If palm trees grow close to your home, seal off cracks in the roof as well. Keep all drains plugged when not in use.
2. Keep Palmetto bugs away. Remove all natural Palmetto bug habitats within 10 feet of your home, including tall grass, foliage, piles of straw, wooden crates and patio rugs. If palm fronds overhang your roof, have them trimmed back.
3. Sweep Palmetto bugs out. Stepping on a Palmetto bug can make a big mess; it's better to stun them with a broom and sweep them out the door or suck them up with a vacuum cleaners. Be sure to remove and seal the disposable vacuum cleaner bag as soon as possible. Vacuuming up a little boric acid (Roach Pruf powder or 20 Mule Team Borax) will help kill the bug.
4. Starve Palmetto bugs out. Keep your food areas scrupulously clean, especially at night. Wash, dry and put away supper dishes, wring out sponges and dry the sink with a towel. Seal toasters and fruit bowls in large, zip-closed bags before you go to bed. Don't leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Seal off and remove garbage. Clean kitchen surfaces and floor with disinfectant. Palmetto bugs will try to find water in houseplants (especially those planted in pots with a water reservoir underneath) and fish tanks; the more food and water sources you can remove, the faster they will leave.
5. Poison the stragglers. Purchase roach hotel-type baited traps, but be sure they have openings large enough for a Palmetto bug to enter. Liquid bait appeals to their need for both food and water. Leave the traps next to the wall near sinks and stoves, especially on kitchen counters. Monitor the traps to see if the liquid poison is being consumed and relocate if necessary. Keep the kitchen food-free so the Palmetto bugs will go for the bait instead.
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I have lived all over the southeast including Charleston, SC. So I do know about palmetto bugs. Vivian is correct to a degree in that outside they are seasonal but once they get into a structure they are definitely hard to get rid of and keep under control.
I will admit though living here in Greensboro I have never seen any at my home and have only a couple in all the years I have lived here.
The palmetto bug likes moist heat so look for a low humidity climate.
Hope this helps,