Untamed Lowcountry

From Palmetto bugs to sand gnats: Here’s how to get rid of SC’s most annoying pests

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South Carolina: Home to beautiful beaches, delicious food and — flying cockroaches?!

OK, “flying” cockroach might be a bit overdramatic, but Palmetto bugs are still the worst.

While South Carolina doesn’t usually have to worry about harsh winters, there is one huge downside to our milder climate.

Bugs and creepy crawlies don’t take a vacation. They attack the Palmetto State on a year-around basis.

Fleas & Ticks

These parasites are always on the prowl for you and your pet.

Once they find a hot spot, they latch on and make themselves at home, much to our dismay.

The scarier parasite of the two has to be the tick. These disgusting creatures can carry diseases — the most common one being Lyme Disease — so when you notice one of these biters on you or your pet get rid of it ASAP.

How to prevent: For everyday folk, make sure to wear a hat and long-sleeved shirts, socks and long pants when going for a hike in the woods. Ticks tend to hide on leaves and if you’re not watching, they’ll go for your head, latching onto your hair and skin.

How to lose ‘em: Your poor pooch might have to endure a flea bath. Spot-on treatments can also do the trick when it comes to fleas. For ticks, however, the best thing for you and your pooch is careful removal. Make sure you get down to the tick’s pinchers and slowly pull. Accidentally tearing the tick could spread disease.

No-see-ums, A.K.A. Sand Gnats, Mosquitoes



The most annoying of the bunch: The critters you can’t see, but can definitely feel.

These bloodsuckers like to take and take, and the one present they leave behind can be deadly.

Pay attention to medical alerts because you never know when a bout of West Nile Virus can flare up

How to prevent: Off, off, off! Seriously, use all the bug spray repellent you can and consider wearing long sleeves or pants when you’re out at night.

How to lose ‘em: A quick smack usually does the trick.

Fire ants

These invaders are literally everywhere.

Sadly a late 1930s accident caused this hostile ant army to appear on our sidewalks, yards and even on water.

Be careful not to step on an ant mound or you’ll be in for one of the fieriest experience of your life.

How to prevent: Honestly it’s hard to stop a colony from making your yard home, but there is a way to make sure you don’t have bigger problems.

How to lose ‘em: You can go to the extreme — as shown in this Youtube video and literally pour molten aluminum down a fire ant mound. Or you can pour something more natural — mix baking soda and vinegar — and be fire ant-free.

Palmetto Bugs

Basically the fancier name for South Carolina’s infamous cockroach, the Palmetto bug is big, scary and it flies! Well, sort of.

If you find yourself facing a Palmetto bug — really any gross cockroach — infestation, you might want to look at your home’s current state.

How to prevent: Bugs love food, but cockroaches like the Palmetto bug live for it. Make sure not to leave any food out on counters or in sinks. Also, double-check there aren’t any holes or cracks in your foundation, walls or ceiling. That’s where these critters like to sneak into your home during the colder months.

How to lose ‘em: A good splat or spray of insecticide will kill most of these pests. The important part is to make sure you don’t have too many hiding spots in your cabinet for them to make a home in.

Wasps, Bees & Hornets, Oh my!

When you hear that familiar buzzing, your heart freezes.

You don’t know if it’s a friendly bumblebee or a angry wasp. But either way, you’re terrified, as you should be.

Bee and wasp stings are no joke. When you see a nest forming outside your door, it’s time to take action.

How to prevent: Stinging pests don’t like neighbors, so if they see a pre-existing nest, they’ll move elsewhere. You can easily trick them with a fake nest to make sure they don’t invade your home.

How to lose ‘em: Unless you have a heart filled with courage, just hire an exterminator to handle that terrifying nest. Sure, you can use a wasp-killing spray to attack, but do you really want a horde of stingers aiming at your face?

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