Pesky Palmettos

pesky palmettos

In Florida there are lots of palm trees. Being from Ireland, I never knew about the existence of palmetto bugs. Palmetto bugs love palm trees, wood, damp washing/laundry and other things. Cockroaches but not cockroaches (they ARE cockroaches), palmetto bugs are an absolute abomination of everything that makes sense or is natural or good. 

They are basically a LARGE, WINGED cockroach. Or brown exo-skeletal demons, to be precise. Now isn’t that lovely (no). Worse still, being an alien, not knowing the reality of American life…wait, let me just digress for a second. Europeans, the Irish, the English: we all think we know a lot about America. Let me tell you, you don’t have a clue what it’s like until you get here. I smack my forehead every time I see an Irish person post about America, particularly when they haven’t even been here for a holiday. It makes me cringe so much, trying to appear an expert about somewhere you’ve never been. But I, like others, thought I knew a little before I emigrated…the Bible Belt, guns, general craziness. 

Well, I was a big fat dodo. I had a patronising view about Americans. So does pretty much everyone I know who isn’t American. Now that I live here, I see how different reality is to the blurry, wishy-washy perspectives people receive from newspapers etc. It’s like a different vibe, a different culture; you find yourself adapting, modifying, understanding…not judging or condemning like outsiders are prone to do (I myself have been guilty of many a judgement passed on America; particularly during my Save-the-World-Feed-all-the-Hungry phase).

Anyway…what was I saying? Oh yes, I didn’t know about the reality of life in America. One of the many things I thought was that cockroaches were attracted to dirt…actually this may be true I have no idea. However, their second cousin the palmetto bug doesn’t have the same habits. 

Having palmetto bugs has got nothing to do with being dirty…at all. Much to my dismay. I like insects that feck off once you spring clean. But these bad boys: oh no. If there is any wood on your property, they’re going to love coming to your house. Lo and behold, we have lots of trees in our garden…palm, pine, even a banana tree. 

So unless we cut them all down and pour concrete everywhere, which will never happen, we are going to inevitably have the dubious honour of the occasional palmetto visitor. I lie awake at night listening for the tiny flap of their wings…shudder.