Florida Stinkroach


The common name Florida relates to its being found primarily in Florida, that of woods because it is commonly found in wooded areas/situations, and that of stinkroach because both adult sexes are capable of emitting an oily, vile-smelling fluid. It is also known as the palmettobug because it hides under palmetto leaves on the ground. This is a native species. It is found along coastal Georgia, throughout most of Florida, and along coastal Alabama and Mississippi.


Adults about 1 1/8-1 9/16″ (30-40 mm) long and very broad, up to 1″ (24 mm) wide. Color dark reddish brown to almost black, occasionally with a few yellowish areas laterally. Front wings same in both sexes, vestigal, represented by short transverse, subrectangular pads which almost touch along midline; hind wings absent. Legs with femora of 1st and 2nd pair bearing numerous, similarly-arranged stout spines on both ventral margins; hind legs with 1st  tarsal segment shorter than segments 2-5 combined, 2nd and 3rd segments with pulvilli (pads on bottom of tarsal segments) large, about as long as their respective segments. Emit oily, vile-smelling liquid when disturbed.

Nymphal early instars usually uniformly pale brown on dorsum. Later instars become reddish brown to almost black with conspicious yellowish margins on pro-, meso-, and metathorax.

Ootheca or egg capsule dark brown to black; 1/2-5/8″ (13.5-16 mm) long, 1/4-5/16″ (6.4-7.5 mm) high; subdivisional furrows extending much less than midwidth from keel; keel with 18-24 denticles (teeth), with a depressed space between denticles; and usually with 10-12 eggs on each side

Similar Groups

(Adults only).

    1. Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) shorter, less than 1 1/4″ (32 mm) long; with front wings of female separated by a distance greater than individual wing width, males with front wings overlapping and covering about 75% of abdomen.
    2. Turkestan cockroach (Blatta lateralis) shorter, less than 1″ (25 mm) long; front wings of female separated by slightly less distance than a wing width; and male fully winged.
    3. Field cockroach (B. vaga) with a median dark line between eyes on front of head.
    4. Other cockroaches are either smaller or larger, have male and/or female fully winged, have many pale markings, and/or are not associated with structures

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Mating occurs about 18 days after adult emergence. The 1st  ootheca appears in around 55 days, and then a new one about every 8 days. The female drops her ootheca shortly after it is formed but often glues it to the substrate. Ootheca average 20-24 eggs, with an unknown number being produced per female.

Developmental time (egg to adult) usually requires about 150 days. At 86-97°F (30-36°C), nymphs emerge in approximately 50 days. Nymphs molt 6-8 times which requires around 100 days at 86-97°F (30-36°C). Adults are long-lived, but no exact figures are available. This species can reproduce parthenogenetically (without fertilization by male).


The Florida woods cockroach lives outdoors where it can be found under the bark of dead trees, under palmetto leaves, and in loose litter, stumps, woodpiles, etc. Occasionally it gets in structures where it survives for only a short time. Because it does not fly, it must crawl into structures or be brought in with firewood or other objects.

The vile-smelling oily liquid is ejected from a single gland on the underside of the abdomen and is apparently ejected only rearward. When placed in a closed container it may cause its own death due to this secretion.

Roach Control Naples

Sanitation is the principal method of control. Outside, clean up and remove yard debris, palmetto leaves, leaf litter, etc. Remove dead trees and stumps. Stack firewood off the ground. Keep mulch to a minimum around the foundation.

Potted plants and other objects which have been outside should be checked before bringing them indoors. Firewood should be brought in just before its use.

It may be necessary to apply an appropriately labeled pesticide as a perimeter treatment; microencapsulated and wettable powder formulations work best. Cockroach baits will probably be effective and should be used first.

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