Monday, August 1, 2011

Palmetto Bugs

By Bobbi

In one of my previous blog stories, I told you about the small lizards that populate our state. There are creatures living here even more plentiful than lizards. They are called Palmetto Bugs because, so I’ve been told, they live in palmetto plants.

Palmetto plants look like palm fronds (located at the top of palm trees). The major difference between palm trees and palmettos is their height. Palmettos are short, only about 4 to 5 feet tall. They grow wild and you normally find them in the countryside. Drive along Highway A1A in the beach area or back roads that border pine tree farms and you will see them as part of the thick undergrowth.

I think those bugs must live in other places besides palmettos, though, because they’re everywhere. They get into people’s home, so pest control efforts are a necessity. Doesn’t matter if you are a good or bad housekeeper because it has nothing to do with the fact they will find a way in, sooner or later. You rarely see the bugs in hotels or businesses, so the grounds outside the buildings probably get sprayed, also.

Adult bugs are huge, some measuring between 1 ½ to 2” or more in length. They’re dark brown, look like cockroaches, and they can actually fly. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen one winging its way toward you!

The next best thing to having one fly at you is having one crawl on you. That’s right, it’s happened to me. I know, eeeewwww, right?! Ha! Ha! Their legs feel creepy crawly on your skin. My brother-in-law had one land on his arm in the middle of the night. Of course, he was sound asleep so instinct took over. He quickly flung it off, right into the fan next to his bed. He laughed as he described the sound it made as it hit those whirling blades.

Finding a palmetto bug in my house is an opportunity to take out my aggressions on something with positive results. Once in the house, they’re normally moving a bit slower than usual because it means they’ve already traipsed through poison the pest control man left behind on his routine monthly visit. I use the edge of a spray can or other object to cut off the bug’s head. This is a quick and painless way to get rid of the pest.

Sometimes, if the bug is moving too quickly or I’m especially irritated about something that day, I just hit it with a shoe or step on it. If done just right, you will hear a loud “pop”. This method is a bit messy because you will have to clean up the brown, squishy mess it leaves behind but it’s effective.

If killing the bugs sounds cruel to you, just consider the fact that if allowed to roam freely about the building they’re in, they will build nests and breed more bugs. They get into the food supply, even if it’s stored in plastic bags or containers. Plus, they leave behind brown streaks wherever they roam.

Since these bugs don’t seem to have any redeeming qualities and don’t seem to serve a purpose, I’ve decided these bugs are pesky, not the lizards.

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