Difference Between Palmetto Bug and Cockroach

Cockroaches belong to a genus called Periplaneta, a family called Blattidae, an order called Blattodea, and species called Periplaneta americana.

There are several, different and beautiful varieties of cockroaches that exist across the globe. One of them is the Florida woods cockroach, also known as the Palmetto bug.

Palmetto Bug vs Cockroach

The main difference between a palmetto bug and a cockroach is that a palmetto bug has large wings and a reddish-brown body while on the other hand, a cockroach has an oval-shaped body and a shiny brown or black leathery integument. A cockroach in itself includes a variety of different species while a palmetto bug is one of the species included in the cockroaches. 

Palmetto Bug vs Cockroach

A palmetto bug or a Florida woods cockroach is generally found in the Northern part of America. The name palmetto is assigned to this species of cockroach because it is usually found on palmetto trees.

With large wings and a reddish-brown body, the palmetto cockroaches grow up to a length of 30 – 40 mm. 

A cockroach is one of the most majorly existing insects to be present. They are considered to be social insects.

There are around 30 species of cockroaches present worldwide. The latter is generally considered a pest, though most of the species of cockroaches are not harmful or problematic.

Comparison Table Between Palmetto Bug and Cockroach

Parameters of ComparisonPalmetto BugCockroach
HarmfulnessThese tend to carry infectious diseases along with them. They also tend to bite which may lead to skin irritation.A cockroach may cause several health problems and skin allergies. Not all cockroaches have a biting tendency. 
CharacteristicsThese are reddish-brown, 30-40 mm long insects with large wings covering their abdomen.These are generally oval-shaped and flattened with a shiny brownish integument. They must be roughly 25-32 mm long. 
BehaviorThey are not very aggressive and don’t impose much danger on one. Though they may bite in case of threat.Cockroaches are not generally aggressive creatures, though some of the species may be a little cranky or belligerent. 
AnatomyThese bugs have a segmented body which includes a head, abdomen, and thorax.Roaches in general have a six-legged body with two pairs of wide wings.
Location Found InPalmetto bugs are usually found in The palmetto trees and hence got their name.Cockroaches are found in moist areas. They can be easily noticed in garbage cans, fallen logs, or storage leaves.

What is Palmetto Bug?

A palmetto bug or a Florida woods cockroach is a mild-aggressive and large species of cockroach which is usually found on the palmetto trees (which gave them their present name) in the Northern parts of America.  

They belong to the order – Blattodea, family – Blattidae, genus – Periplaneta, and species – Periplaneta americana.

These pests are usually detritivores and feed on decomposing plant remains and plant materials. They feed on leaf litters, log remains, compost piles, and decaying organic materials.

They are large winged, reddish-brown insects with a creamy prothorax. The prothorax has dark markings which resemble a sunglass.

Palmetto bugs are one of the largest species of cockroaches to exist in North America.

Palmetto bugs usually infest homes during cooler weather.

Their infestation causes havoc among people and households due to the deadly viruses and bacteria they carry along with them which could cause infectious diseases to adults and children.

 Behavior wise the Palmetto bugs are not very aggressive, though they might bite sometimes (in case of threat or when not able to fly).

The bites of these unique and beautiful species are not very harmful to the human species, though they could cause skin irritations in some rare cases.

What is Cockroach?

A cockroach is a reddish, flattened, and oval-bodied pest that is usually found in moist and humid areas.

These areas include sewages, canals, garbage cans, moist areas of a household, and under-leaf litters.

They belong to the order – Blattodea, family – Blattidae, genus – Periplaneta, and several other species. There are a total of 4000 species of cockroaches.

Few of the species are listed below –

  • American cockroach
  • Smoky brown cockroach 
  • Ectobius cockroach
  • Parcoblatta virginica
  • Cuban cockroach
  • Speckled cockroach
  • Tryonicidae

A cockroach’s body is a little complicated and structured quite differently. Their head is bent slightly towards the downward direction and their mouthparts point backward.

This distinguishes a cockroach from other insects as the latter has its mouthparts pointing towards the forward or downward direction.

Different species of cockroaches have different characteristics and traits. Some have large wings to fly while others are quite sharp teethed to bite into prey or a predator. 

A cockroach develops into an adult male/ female by undergoing three developmental stages. These three stages are –

  • The egg stage – A cockroach lays 10 to 55 eggs at a single time which grow in moist and shady areas.
  • The nymph stage – After hatching from their respective eggs, the babies go into a nymph stage.
  • The adult state – This is the final stage where a cockroach is fully mature and reproductively active.

Main Differences Between Palmetto Bug and Cockroach

  1. A Palmetto bug is mostly found on the Palmetto trees whereas cockroaches are found generally in moist and humid areas.
  2. Palmetto bugs are 30 to 40 mm long while on the other hand roaches are 25 to 32 mm long.
  3. Palmetto bugs are located in the Northern part of America and a variety of cockroach species exist almost all across the globe.
  4. Palmetto bugs have a creamy colored prothorax whereas cockroaches, in general, may have their prothoraxes in a variety of colors, ranging from reddish-brown to creamy.
  5. The Palmetto bugs have wings to fly while on the other hand, not all cockroaches have adapted to the feature of flying.
Difference Between Palmetto Bug and Cockroach


A Palmetto bug is one of the several species of a cockroach. The former is a large winged, reddish-brown body and one of the largest species of cockroach to exist.

It is located in the Northern part of America on the palmetto trees.

Roaches can easily be detected in warm and moist areas which includes leaf litters, garbage cans, and sewages.

Both the insects are quite similar to each other yet differ in various aspects like morphology, classification, body structure, and anatomy.

Palmetto bugs and cockroaches are insects that belong to the order – Blattodea, family – Blattidae, and genus – Periplaneta.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00705-013-1606-x
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19691000473
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