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Is a Palmetto Bug Really Just a Cockroach?

December 14, 2018 - Posted in Palmetto Scene by Kaitlyn Park
Story idea submitted to The Scoop by Margaret Bates

If you are from the South or ever visited, chances are you have come into contact with the unofficial state mascot, the "Palmetto Bug".

SCETV and SC Public Radio fan Margaret Bates asked: "Is Palmetto bug just the more polite name for cockroaches, or different? They look like roaches to me."

They look like cockroaches, but are often very large and sometimes fly, so are they the same? SCETV's The Scoop spoke with Sean Foley, a Herpetologist from Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens to find out.

The truth is they are just cockroaches. The American Cockroach and Smokey Brown Cockroach are very common in the southeast, and these are the critters often called Palmetto Bugs. They get this colloquial name because cockroaches love to nest in palmetto trees and under fallen palmetto leaves. While cockroaches are beneficial to the southern habitat, there are many reasons you are justified in not wanting these bugs in your home. Sean also shows us some Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, which are quite different than the "Palmetto Bug".

This story is brought to you by The SCoop. It's a place where you can share what questions you have about South Carolina’s places, food, history or people, and SCETV will turn them into stories. Submit your story ideas here and be sure to vote for your favorite stories with The SCoop!

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