Dead insects on window sills are one of the top window problems facing many of our customers, and those living in northern Georgia usually have to deal with a bug that's bigger and grosser than flies: the infamous Florida palmetto bug! These big roaches in Georgia slip into homes despite a homeowner's best efforts, so we've created a list of tips for handling them.

What is the Florida palmetto bug?

The palmetto bug is … yes, unfortunately, despite some locals believing otherwise … one of several types of cockroaches. There are several specific species referred to as the "palmetto bug," "waterbug," or "Croton bug." One type is the Florida woods cockroach, or Eurycotis floridana. Another species commonly referred to as a "palmetto bug" is the American cockroach, or Periplaneta americana. They tend to be large, winged and prefer moist areas. The "smoky brown cockroach," or Periplaneta fuliginosa, is also sometimes referred to as a "palmetto bug." Florida is also home to the oriental cockroach and the German cockroach.

All three of these types of bugs, but mostly the smokey brown cockroach, love to hang out in northern Georgia and Atlanta. One journalist jokingly called the Atlanta region "Smoky Brown Cockroach Valhalla," since so many of them find the nice interiors of Atlanta homes to be their own private haven.

How do waterbugs get into the house?

Waterbugs (or palmetto bugs) love warm air and moisture. They want those things often more than food. Easy access to standing water is exactly what they're hunting for. As gross as it may sound, these pests can crawl up drains, slip in cracks in concrete and slip between your window and door seams to invade your home. They're fond of building nests in baseboards. (Luckily, though, they don't actually come up the toilet! That's a myth.)

What should a homeowner do about palmetto bugs in Georgia?

Besides the use of pesticides, here's how to get rid of palmetto bugs in the house:

1. Get a dehumidifier. Waterbugs are on the hunt for warm, moist air. Dehumidifying and making sure your home is as dry as possible is one way to make your home unwelcome.

2. Fix plumbing issues. Get rid of drips and leaks quickly.

3. Don't leave dirty dishes in the sink. This warm, sticky and wet atmosphere is fun for these bugs.

4. Keep piles of leaves away from your home. Moist and sheltered areas like piles of mulch, rocks and leaves are great spots for a happy palmetto bug. Rake leaves away from your house and dispose of them.

5. Make sure there are screens on your windows and doors. Many species of palmetto bug are attracted to the light, so don't leave your doors and windows open without screens at night.

6. Don't leave standing water outside. This is bad for many types of pests.

7. Toss out cardboard. Those old Amazon boxes are delicious cockroach food. Dispose of piles of cardboard or old recycling far away from your house.

8. Keep your food in glass, plastic or steel storage containers with tight lids. The palmetto bug might not necessarily want to eat your food, but it wants that cardboard. And it also may end up in your food!

9. Try to keep your house very clean. Remove your trash often, for instance.

10. Seal up your windows and doors. Caulk, repair, seal or even consider replacing windows and doors with poor seams, as the tiny holes are wide-open doors for these types of bugs.

If there are dead palmetto bugs along a home's windows, is it a problem?

This may simply be the seam where your exterminator has sprayed pesticides, but if these bugs are managing to get inside, you may want to make sure your window is properly sealed.

Infinity from Marvin replacement windows create a very tight seal, are easy to clean and are one really good strategy for keeping out these pesky pests.

To some extent, having waterbugs in a house in Georgia is to be expected every once in a while, especially after heavy rains.

If it's a continuous problem in your home, however, use our strategies and consider making sure your windows and doors are entirely sealed. Upgrading your windows and doors can help! Contact us today to learn more about window replacement as a means to protect against palmetto bug infestation.