A source for information on roaches
The Florida woods cockroach is also commonly referred to as the stinking cockroach.
When threatened by predators, this species releases a foul-smelling liquid akin to the stench of rotting palmetto
berries. For this reason, the Florida woods cockroach is also sometimes called the palmetto bug.
Florida woods cockroaches are larger than most other species, measuring approximately two inches in length. This
species appears wingless, but is not: short wings remain hidden behind its head. The Florida woods cockroach is
black in color and is similar in appearance to the Oriental cockroach. However, the behavior of these two species
This cockroach can be found outdoors in trees, leaf litters or woodpiles. It is most common in humid, warm areas
such as Florida, coastal Georgia, coastal Alabama and Mississippi, and the West Indies. While not commonly
considered to be a pest, the Florida woods cockroach does sometimes enter human habitats in search of warmth.
Inside homes, these insects can be found in bathrooms or basements and are particularly attracted to leaking
Florida woods cockroaches produce only one litter each year. However, while an infestation of this cockroach
species is unlikely, it is best to take steps to prevent their entry to your home. Florida woods cockroaches can be
brought inside on firewood or may enter on their own through open windows and doors. If Florida woods cockroaches
invade your home, contact your local pest control expert to discuss extermination options
The Florida Woods roach is
dark reddish-brown to black in color and has a wide glossy body with a few yellowish areas on the sides. At first
it appears to be wingless, but does have very short wings just beneath its head.
Ranges from 1 ½ to 2-inches in length, and up to 1-inch wide.
The Florida woods cockroach is so named because its primarily found if Florida in
wooded areas. The nymphs have broad yellow bands on the top of their thorax. The average egg-to-adult development
is approximately 100-150 days, and females will produce 20-24 eggs per egg capsule. Adults have a long lifespan,
and have a high reproductive capacity. This species can reproduce without fertilization by a male. They feed on
decaying organic matter.
The Florida woods roach is also known as the Florida stinkroach or ‘skunkroach’ as it known to emit an oily,
vile-smelling liquid from a single gland on the underside of its abdomen when disturbed and to protect it from
predators. It is apparently ejected only backwards, and when placed in a closed container it may cause its own
death due to this secretion.
Florida Woods roaches are commonly found outdoors under the bark of dead trees, under palmetto leaves, in leaf
litter, mulch, woodpiles, and under rotting logs. They are cold intolerant and prefer warm, damp locations with
lots of moisture. It can sometimes wander indoors on the ground floor, where it can only survive for a short time.
This species lives outdoors in tree holes, wood piles, leaf litter, and heavy ground-covering vegetation, such as
ivy. In homes, it prefers to live in poorly ventilated attics and crawl spaces where the humidity levels remain at
a high, yet constant, level.
The Florida woods roach is slower moving than other species and does not fly, and therefore must crawl into
structures or are brought in with firewood or other objects. Since they do not survive well indoors, they do not
cause serious problems.
To discourage nesting, it helps to scatter piles of mulch, leafs and other vegetation and avoid keeping leaf piles
near the home. Inspect any firewood, bricks or other outdoor materials for egg cases and roaches before bringing
The best strategies for dealing with the Florida woods cockroach are exclusion and
harborage reduction. Tips include:
- Heavy vegetation such as ivy, monkey grass, and other ground covers, should not be used in landscape beds
next to the building.
- Firewood should be stored off the ground and as far from the house as possible.
- Piles of lumber, bricks, etc. should be removed from the property.
- Cracks in exterior walls should be sealed.
- Tight-fitting screens should be in place over all attic and foundation vents.