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Florida woods Cockroach: All you need to Know

The US has almost 85 types of cockroaches. Most of these cockroaches live in the wild, while some infest homes. Florida Woods cockroach is different from all other cockroaches because it is a peridomestic pest. This means that it does not or very rarely infest indoor spaces. Instead, Florida woods roach prefers to live around structures surrounding the houses, such as storage areas, greenhouses, animal farms, and water supply.

Florida Woods cockroach is also referred to as the Palmetto bug, Florida stink roach, skunk cockroach, and is scientifically named Eurycotis floridana. It is a reddish dark to blackish brown oval-shaped roach measuring 1.2–1.6 inches. The body of the Florida Woods cockroach is not smooth; instead, it appears segmented because wings do not cover it.

Florida Woods cockroaches do not have fully developed wings. Instead, they have very short vestigial leathery pads known as tegmina. Both the male and female Eurycotis floridana appear the same, except that the terminal rectal segment of the female is notched and appears V-shaped. In contrast, the male has a flat terminal segment.

The Florida cockroach is native to the southeastern US and is considered an ancient species because it lacks many modern roaches features, like fully developed wings, longer antennas, and smooth bodies.

I have extensively studied Florida woods cockroaches and found them very interesting. Stay tuned to the blog to know some interesting facts about it.

Before you read further, just a quick question. Tired of cockroaches and looking for a permanent solution?

Stop wasting your time, invest in these products and follow this guide: How to get rid of roaches? You will be roach-free in 10-20 days.

1. Max Force Glue Traps
2. Advion Gel Baits
3. Harris Powder Bait
4. Gentrol Insect Growth Regulator
5. Loctite Foam Sealent


Optional Items
1. Gel Bait Professional Gun
2. Torch
3. Powder Bait Puffer
4. Insecticide Spray to kill a reveled colony in a single shot

Appearance and Identification Points of Florida Woods Cockroach

Florida Woods cockroach has unique and distinctive features that make it very easy to identify and differentiate from other roaches.

However, to an inexperienced person, these Red Roaches of Florida might appear similar to other wood roaches, specifically to Pennsylvania Wood roaches.

Therefore, I have tried to elaborate on the appearance of the Florida Woods cockroach to make it easy for you to spot it right away.

The appearance of Roach Florida

Roach Florida or the palmetto bug is a reddish dark to blackish brown oval-shaped roach. It is lightly colored in the nymph stage. The body or abdomen of the Florida Woods cockroach is serrated and rough, and segments are clearly visible.

Florida wood cockroach has two antennas roughly equal to the size of the body, three sets of significant spiky legs, a paired, very prominent cerci, and a stylus. The female roach does not have a stylus.

The rectal segment of the body of a female Florida wood cockroach is v shape, Whereas the male roach has a flat end.

Florida Cockroach Size

The adult Florida Woods cockroach measures between 1.2 to 1.6 inches (3 to 4cm) in size. The female is slightly smaller but broader than the males.

The baby Florida woods cockroach measures different at different stages of metamorphosis. At a very early stage, it measures 0.2 inches, and at the last stage, it measures 0.7 inches before transforming into adults.

Do Florida Woods Cockroach Have Wings?

Florida Woods cockroaches have very tiny remnants of wings, also called vestigial wings. They lack the basic structure of a mature wing and have a lethargy wing pad. Moreover, they also lack hind wings.

Therefore, Florida Woods cockroaches can’t fly. Instead, they crawl in search of food.

Florida Woods Cockroach Bite and Defense Mechanism

Florida Woods cockroach do not bite humans, but allergy to the desquamated exoskeleton, body parts, and eggshells has been noted. Moreover, they do not transfer diseases like other roaches.

Interestingly, unlike other roaches, they have a unique defense mechanism to ward off predators.

Florida woods cockroach spray a potent chemical from glands located under the abdomen, close to the cerci. The chemical act serves the following functions,

  1. Act as an allomone that affects the response of other species.
  2. Act as repellant and antagonizers to keep predators away,
  3. Act as an alarm pheromone to evoke an escape response in other members of the same species.

The chemical released by Florida woods cockroaches is a skin and eye irritant and can cause allergies in humans.

Identification Points of Florida Wood cockroach

The Florida woods cockroach is more common than other wood roaches in the southeastern USA and has the least infestation capabilities because they love to live outdoors.

If you come across one, you can easily know if it is a Florida Woods cockroach or the Pennsylvania wood roach on the following points,

  1. The Florida Woods cockroach is bigger than the Pennsylvania wood cockroach by a quarter inch.
  2. Florida Woods cockroach has a more oval body.
  3. Wings do not cover the body of the Florida cockroach.
  4. The antennas of Pennsylvania cockroaches are bigger than the body, whereas roach Florida has a shorter antenna.

Photos of Florida cockroaches

Pic of a Pregnant Florida Woods Cockroach
Pic of an Adult Florida Woods Cockroach (Female)
Male vs. Female Florida Woods Cockroach
Picture of Florida Woods Cockroach Nymph and Ootheca

Distribution and Habitat of Florida Woods Cockroach

Eurycotis floridana is also known as the palmetto bug in the US. It is native to the Southeastern US and is disturbed in areas where palm trees are present in huge numbers, usually along the coastal regions of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

The Florida Woods cockroach is also present outside the US in the West Indies and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Maine, and Nova Scotia. Outside the US, roach, Florida is considered adventive species.

As mentioned earlier, Florida Woods cockroach does not infest indoor spaces commonly. Instead, they are accidentally carried indoors with wood, leaves, or palm tree bark.

Florida wood cockroach loves to live near human habitats in areas surrounding the houses, especially storage compartments, around the wells or water supply, animal farms, and greenhouses.

Florida Woods cockroach aka Palmetto Bug: Diet and Life Cycle

Like other cockroaches, Florida Woods Cockroach feeds on decaying organic matter, including dead plant leaves, stems, and bark. They are effective detritivorous organisms and contribute to the environment by decomposition and fixation of the nitrogen cycle.

During the rainy or humid season, Florida wood cockroaches feed on lichens, mosses, molds, soil microbes, and microflora inside the shady, damp environment.

Florida Woods Cockroach loves to feed on starchy and bakery items, including bread, biscuits, peanut butter, and food litter inside the house.

Life Cycle

Florida Woods cockroach, aka Palmetto bug, has an average life span of 2 years from egg to the death of adult roach. The female Palmetto bug has a longer life span than males, up to 3 months.

Once the Red Roaches Florida reaches adulthood, the male secretes pheromones to attract female roaches. In addition, the Male has a copulatory organ under the abdomen and uses it to fertilize the female.

Stage 1: Egg

The female roach lays a single capsule called ootheca 20 to 30 days after mating. Each ootheca contains 15 to 20 individual eggs that hatch after 45 days.

The ootheca turns reddish-brown to black as the cuticle hardens and has a size of 0.51 —0.63 inches. The dorsal edge of the ootheca is rough and has about 20—24 saw-like teeth.

Interestingly, once the female Florida Woods roach reaches adulthood, the cockroach can also lay eggs without mating if it fails to find a partner for copulation. This process is called parthenogenesis and starts after 55 days of reaching adulthood.

However, the eggs laid via parthenogenesis are less viable and often fail to hatch in 60 % of the cases. Moreover, the nymphs born via this process also fail to reach adulthood.

It is important to know that the humidity and temperature significantly affect the egg hatching. In high humidity, the eggs will hatch immaturely, and eggs will fail to hatch and dry out in dehydrated states.

Stage 2: Nymph

The newly hatched eggs give rise to Florida Woods nymphs that undergo approximately 6 to 8 stages of molting to transform into adults. Molting usually takes 3 to 4 months.

At every stage of molting, the nymph increases in size and sheds its exoskeleton to accompany the increasing size of the body.

Florida Woods nymphs are reddish-brown to black with yellow thoracic margins in the late nymphal stages. They range in size from 0.2 inches early to 0.7 inches in the late nymphal stage.

Stage 3: Adult

Once the Florida stink roach, aka skunk cockroach or Eurycotis floridana, reaches adulthood, it transforms into a dark brown to black color. The Adult roach increases in size during the next few months to reach its full length.

Is Roach Florida Harmful?

Thankfully, Unlike other roaches such as the German or the American cockroach, the Roach Florida never visits sewers. Therefore, it does not transfer dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, shigella, vibrio cholera, etc.

However, like other roaches, the Florida Woods cockroach sheds an exoskeleton, secretes poop, and triggers allergies and asthma episodes.

In addition, When felt threatened, they can spray an oily chemical that is irritant to human skin and eyes. This chemical is very potent and can be dangerous for atopic people.

Preventing and Getting Rid of Florida Woods cockroach Infestation

Florida Woods cockroach is an accidental intruder and rarely infests a home. However, they can move indoors and establish their colony under certain circumstances. Inside the house, they love to move to hidden areas such as the attic, basement, gaps in the walls, and around the patio.

Once they have successfully established their nest, they can be difficult to exterminate without professional help.

However, I have a few methods to help you exterminate an established infestation with Florida Woods cockroaches.

Method 1: Using Cockroach Baits

Using cockroach bait to kill Florida Woods cockroach works very well. This is because they love to share the bait with their colony, hence killing them.

The market is flooded with baits to kill roaches. However, I recommend using Advion Cockroach Gel Bait because of its superiority over other baits. All you need to do is,

  1. Place the Advion gel bait at multiple locations around the house, including the attic, basement corners, inside the false ceiling, and cardboard walls.
  2. Wait for the next few days to see the results.

Method 2: Using Cockroach Traps

The cockroach trap will kill Florida Woods cockroaches by trapping them physically or poisoning them to death with a chemical insecticide.

I recommend Hot Shot Liquid Cockroach Trapper and Killer because it is very effective and safe to use around pets and kids.

All you need to do is,

  1. Place the traps at recommended locations around the house, especially near the Florida Woods cockroach hiding places.
  2. Remove the traps after a week.

Repeat the method if you have a heavy infestation.

Method 3: Using Insecticide Spray or Fogger

Insecticide spray is a quick and easy method to get rid of Florida Woods cockroaches. However, it fails to destroy cockroach eggs, and you may see infestation again after some time.

To use this method, all you need to do is turn off the lights and close the doors.

Next, Spray the insecticide generously indoors and wait for 25 minutes before ventilating the room.

I recommend Bengal Roach Killer because it contains Nyler, a chemical that prevents reinfestation for up to 6 months.

You can also select several other roach killers among the Best insecticides & traps based on your needs. Boric acid is also very effective at killing Florida Woods cockroaches but Is a bit messy and slow method.

Some people might experience infestation even after successfully eliminating them. To know Why do I see roaches after the bombing? Read this article.

To prevent Florida Woods Cockroaches from Iinfesting indoor spaces, you must,

  1. Not disturb the colony of Florida Woods cockroach near your house. You might trigger them into entering your home.
  2. Cover the greenhouse properly to avoid Palmetto bugs from getting into it. a
  3. Cover garbage bins and properly dispose of decaying matter, especially decomposing leaves.
  4. Keep your house clean and well ventilated.
  5. Fix leaking pipes and faucets.
  6. The firewood, Palm tree leaves and trunks should be inspected before bringing them to the house.
  7. Use natural cockroach repellents inside the house, especially the kitchen.
  8. You can also use IGR spray to keep baby Florida Woods Roache from maturing into adult bugs.

Do you know cockroach also produces noise? Click the link if you want to hear roaches’ noise.

Signs of a Palmetto bug Infestation

As discussed early, Florida Woods cockroach very rarely infests indoors. However, if you notice any of the following signs, it points toward an infestation.

  1. Florida Woods cockroach poop in the basement, attics, damp and shady areas ( have blunt edges and streaks on the sides)
  2. Desqumated exoskeleton (Reddish to dark brown)
  3. Florida Woods Cockroach nest (contains live and dead roaches, nymphs, and eggshells)
  4. Ootheca attached to substrate measuring 8 mm
  5. A musty urine-like smell

Additional Read!