Outdoor PestsBugs

What Smell Do Palmetto Bugs Hate?

What Smell Do Palmetto Bugs Hate?

At first glance, you may mistake palmetto bugs for roaches. Technically, they are almost the same, though they are 1.5 inches longer.

Palmetto bugs are a species of roaches found in the Southern United States. You can also find them in various regions seeking a better life. These critters love dirty, dark places and don’t mind sharing your store or bathroom with you.

You want to get rid of them forever? Then you are in the right place. This guide will discuss some scents they dislike and other alternative methods of warding them off.


Palmetto bugs are such a nuisance to have in your home. Like most pests, several smells deter them. Some of these include:

  • Essential oils (lavender, clove, neem, tea tree oil, etc.)
  • Herbs and plants (garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, etc.)

We discussed ways to apply these natural scents to deter palmetto bugs in the guide.

The following sections will identify some common smells that palmetto bugs hate and how to apply them.

We will also answer some common queries about handling the infestation of this stubborn cockroach species.

Smells Palmetto Bugs Hate

Smells Palmetto Bugs Hate

Several smells repel palmetto bugs. Below, we will consider some of them under two broad categories – essential oils and herbs and plants:

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Essential oils do not have the same effect on you as on palmetto bugs. These bugs detest the smell of essential oils and stay as far away as possible from them.

With the following essential oils, you can kiss palmetto bugs goodbye:

1. Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil

Lavender oils are long-lasting and effective against palmetto bugs and critters alike. You will get it at a low price compared to other oils. So, it is affordable.

You also need to be careful when using lavender oils. If there is a spill or mistake and it touches the skin, it could cause irritations. So, how do you apply lavender oils for the best results?

Mix 10-15 drops of the oil with water and pour into a spray can. With the mixture ready, spray it on the affected areas and edges. You can also spread it on a cloth and place it around entry points.

2. Clove Oil

Clove Oil

Clove oil has a powerful scent and is more effective than lavender oil. You can call it palmetto’s nemesis because they detest the smell of clove oil.

An upside to clove oil is that it is affordable and easy to use. Instead of mixing it with water and spraying it around the house, you can keep it in a corner and leave it open.

The smell from the open bottle is strong enough to repel any palmetto bug.

3. Neem Oil

Neem Oil

Neem oils have a sulfuric smell, and they not only repel palmetto bugs; they kill them too. Neem oils come from neem trees and have been around for some time.

They don’t cost a fortune and are not hard to find. When you get one, mix about 5-10 drops with water and spray around the house.

It would be best to exercise due care when spraying the mixture around the house because it could soil your walls. You can target edges with dark colors or apply them on the floors.

4. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil works even after a long time. Palmetto bugs detest tea tree oil and will stay away from it forever.

Do not try to swallow tea tree oil. Keep it away from the kids, and use a glove to apply it if possible.

Add a little vinegar when mixing the oil with water for fast results, and spray around the infested areas.

Palmetto bugs also hate the smell of vinegar, so the mixture is a power-packed combo.

Other essential oils are cedarwood oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, catnip oil, and so much more. The oils are effective, relatively affordable, and easy to use.

Herbs and Plants

Herbs And Plants

Aside from essential oils, palmetto bugs also hate the scent of certain herbs and plants.

Below, we will look at some of them:

1. Garlic


Garlic is a common spice that lurks around every kitchen. It has a strong smell and is repulsive to palmetto bugs. The only downside to using garlic is that, as we said, it has a strong odor.

Getting the smell off may become a challenge, that is, if you aren’t comfortable with it. Most homeowners do not have a problem with garlic.

If you don’t mind its smell, you can place garlic lobes around the house. You can also sprinkle garlic powder if available.

2. Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

Palmetto bugs hate the smell of bay leaves so much.

You can place the leaves around the house to ward them off.

The challenge, though, may be finding fresh bay leaves. You can get them in a vegetable store or plant them in your garden.

3. Cinnamon


Cinnamon leaves and powder are easy to get and effective for repelling palmetto bugs.

Don’t stay too close, or you may cough when using it. You can use it in small quantities to avoid any irritations whatsoever.

Other plants and herbs that repel palmetto bugs are:

  • Mint leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers

You may have tried to keep palmetto bugs away by using the smell they hate to no avail. If that is the case, there are other strategies you can try out. In the next heading, we will look at other alternative ways you can deter these bugs.

Alternative Ways To Deter Palmetto Bugs

Alternative Ways To Deter Palmetto Bugs

Palmetto bugs are stubborn critters that stop at nothing until they secure food and shelter.

While repelling scents to deter them is excellent, there are other ways to handle them. These include:

1. Insecticides


Most insecticides are powerful and are built to show these bugs no mercy. They come in various forms depending on your budget.

Insecticide sprays are common. You can get one from the grocery store. Besides the sprays, insecticide powders are also available. To apply against palmetto bugs, you can sprinkle them around corners.

Only remember to keep pets and the kids away for the smell of the insecticide to dissipate, as it can be toxic. Insecticide glues are also available to trap bugs and kill them.

Where insecticide is unavailable, you can use other effective powders like boric acid and Diatomaceous earth.

2. Seal off Cracks and Other Possible Entry Points

Seal Off Cracks And Other Possible Entry Points

Sometimes you discover that these bugs keep coming back after using different repellants. Perhaps, they have a spot where they enter to get into the house.

With this in mind, check around for cracks around the house where they might be entering through. Once you find any, seal with caulk or any available sealant immediately.

3. Call an Exterminator

Call An Exterminator

Where the palmetto bug infestation is beyond your control, you can reach out to an exterminator near you for help.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, the exterminator may suggest fumigation.

When done appropriately, fumigating your surroundings can help keep palmetto bugs and other critters away.


Above are some smells and alternative strategies you can engage to keep palmetto bugs away.

But besides the methods we mentioned above, it is vital to keep your home neat always. A tidy home is already a repellant by default.

Do regular clean-ups, fix whatever needs repair, and take out the trash more frequently. Doing so would make your home less attractive to palmetto bugs and insects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Attracts Palmetto Bugs to My House?

Palmetto bugs love moist and dirty places. They also love dark areas, so they can breed quietly and lay eggs. They will feel welcomed and explore everything if they see an open space.

Can Palmetto Bugs Bite?

Yes, they can. Palmetto bugs have mandibles that bite dirt and fabrics and can bite you too. Aside from biting, their touch can cause bacterial infections and irritations.

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