News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2007


A reason to move to Alabama

Lynn encountered her first Palmetto Bug more than a decade ago when she rented an apartment in a 150-year-old building on one of the squares in Savannah, Ga.

She called home in a panic to tell us that a monster bug was in her apartment and she couldn’t kill it. It was flying around in the living room and was the biggest bug she had ever seen.

I thought she was exaggerating and suggested she call her landlord.

“It’s just a Palmetto Bug,” he said, and advised her to live with them.

Savannah residents do that. When one of the bugs gets indoors, they either ignore it or go into full battle mode. The trick is to keep Palmetto Bugs, which can grow to 3 inches long, from multiplying by spraying insecticide or stepping on them. Swatting rarely works because of their armor-like shell.

Most people say Palmetto Bugs are harmless, and are only scary and intimidating. Normally an outdoor insect, this variety from more than 3,000 species of cockroaches gets its name from a fondness for Palmetto trees.

Long-time residents of the steamy sub-tropics of coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina rarely are embarrassed if a Palmetto Bug shows up at a social event.

Our 3-year-old granddaughter Ruby Gray, however, hasn’t learned to co-exist with them.

Lynn found out from Ruby Gray’s play-school teacher that the family was packing up and moving.

“What else did she say?” Lynn asked.

“She said that the house was trashed and full of bugs and that you all are moving to Alabama,” the teacher replied.

“Well, she is partially right,” Lynn admitted.

“Ruby trashed the house herself and I found a dead Palmetto Bug on the floor on my way to work this morning,”

When Lynn told me about the incident, I wished the part about moving to Alabama was true, also.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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