How can I keep out southern palmetto bugs?

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In the south when it rains or landscaping is done, the palmettos are finding their way into my condo..I've done boric acid, vinegar esstenial oil spray, cinnamon, and coffee to no avail. They are in every room ...One fell out of the ceiling fan and onto my bed!!! Any suggestions...HELP!!


  15 answers
  • This question gets asked a lot on Hometalk. Seems like you've tried a bunch of things already, but there is a page with all the discussions and you might have luck with one of them. https://www.hometalk.com/search/all?filter=palmetto%20bugs

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jun 30, 2021

    Diatomaceous earth should do the trick.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jun 30, 2021

    Here's some info from Ortho though you may not want to use such a harsh chemical they also have some tips to help https://www.ortho.com/en-us/library/insects/how-kill-prevent-palmetto-bugs

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 30, 2021

    I am so sorry this is happening to you i am dealing with cock roaches too. Here is what I found out:

    Food grade diatomaceous earth for palmetto bug infestation

    Use food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to eliminate palmetto bugs naturally and safely. Food grade DE is an effective pesticide because it cuts into the bugs bodies and makes them dehydrate causing them to die. You should sprinkle diatomaceous earth wherever you see the palmetto bugs to solve your roach infestation.

    The Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine reported that diatomaceous earth is effective in eradicating cockroach infestations. It works by “mechanically” killing off the bugs, therefore, the roaches don’t build up resistance to the substance. The researchers said that diatomaceous earth is a substance harmless to humans that is suitable for insect control.5

    When using diatomaceous earth for getting rid of palmetto bugs, you should remember that it loses its effectiveness if it becomes damp.

    Diatomaceous earth is also good to treat flea infestation. If your pet has fleas, rub some food grade diatomaceous earth on their coats to naturally get rid of fleas from your pets.

    Boric acid

    You can make a bait to kill off palmetto bugs by using boric acid. Boric acid is poisonous to palmetto bugs when they ingest it and it also destroys their exoskeletal system, similar to how DE works. You should keep boric acid away from children and pets because it is toxic if ingested.

    A study on the insecticidal properties of boric acid found that it is lethal to cockroaches and insects. It was reported that boric acid can help control a bug infestation because the roaches carry it back to the colony where it infects the other bugs.6 Another study into using boric acid for cockroach control found that it works better than traditional pesticides and is toxic to cockroaches.


    I think I would lose it if one fell on my bed. So good luck and I hope you reclaim your house for you not the bugs.

    • Tonya Byrd Tonya Byrd on Jul 03, 2021

      I thought I was hallucinating when that pest fell from the ceiling fan on to my bed!! I did lose it!!

      I have boric acid too!! Mu DE arrived yesterday! I would lose it if I had guests and those pests decide to show up! :-( Thanks for the info.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jun 30, 2021

    I use diatomaceous earth for bug control. Keep a line of it anywhere they can come in. A door sweep helps keep them from crawling under the door. Check any openings into the house, like around pipes, caulking on windows. To distribute diatomaceous earth, you can put it into a bottle with a nozzle (like a ketchup or mustard container). Good luck!

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Jun 30, 2021

    Diatomaceous earth works very well!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jul 01, 2021

    Food grade Diatomaceous earth is the way to go, you can get it locally at diy stores.

    Also inspect you house for tiny cracks and holes, plug them up.

  • Tonya Byrd Tonya Byrd on Jul 01, 2021

    Does Food grade Diatomaceous earth work on any other creepy crawlers....spiders, gnats, fruit flies, mosquitos? I found Food grade Diatomaceous earth at a great price on Amazon....Thanks to all for sharing!! :-)

  • Betsy Betsy on Jul 01, 2021

    Hi Tonya: What I use is Ortho's Home Defense. Spray outside around the foundation, on the walls, around the windows, etc. Don't spray it where anyone or your pets walk, it's toxic. It will last for at least 6 months if it doesn't get rained on. I've used it in my basement where the walls meet the ground by the ceiling. and months later I have seen dead bugs, so it really works. And, it doesn't smell! Just follow the directions.


    Good luck

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jul 01, 2021

    You might need a exterminator to keep them at bay once it’s under control they could show you how

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Jul 02, 2021

    You have to seal up every place they might get in. They love dampness, so look under sinks where pipes are and seal the wall around the pipes with foam insulation. Do the same thing around your toilet. Pull the trim around the water source for your toilet out and fill in the space. Make sure doors and windows are sealed to keep them from getting in.

  • You can try to spray the house with a broad spectrum insecticide such as D-Fense SC. You can attain best results if you spray the exterior walls of the structure including the foundation. On the interior, spray in the cracks and crevices throughout the house.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jul 03, 2021

    Generally, palmetto bugs don’t invade homes the way German cockroaches and other types of bugs do. They vastly prefer the outdoors so one way to prevent palmetto bugs from getting into your home is to make sure you aren’t attracting them outside in your yard. Eliminate wood piles, clean up leaves and vegetation debris they could hide in and keep garbage cans tightly sealed. Seal entry points such as cracks or gaps around windows and doors and check these spots frequently and reseal as necessary to help keep bugs and other pests out.