Flying cockroach! Can All Cockroaches Fly?

No one likes cockroaches crawling about in their homes or businesses. Roaches may transmit filth and disease, and they receive high scores on the repulsive meter. In fact, the only thing that could make a crawling cockroach worse would be if it could also fly — landing on you or your stuff. So are flying cockroaches real?

There are more than 3,500 recognized species of cockroaches, with many more species still to be found. Most roaches are tropical in the range – inhabiting various habitats in rainforests and other moist, warm places.

A total of roughly 70 species inhabit the United States. Of them, nearly two-thirds are not native to this nation. While it may seem like a lot, only a few species are considered domestic pests.

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Flying cockroach (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Can All Cockroaches Fly?

All cockroaches have wings as adults; however, not all are excellent fliers or don’t fly at all. In reality, most cockroaches do not fly at all. And cockroaches that can fly will typically only do it if the heat or cold circumstances favor them.

Cockroaches, like other insects, are cold-blooded or ectothermic. As ectotherms, cockroaches’ body temperatures depend upon the surrounding environment. Unlike mammals, their body temperatures are not internally controlled.

Generally, cockroaches like an optimal temperature range between 75 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures approach 85 degrees, that’s when we often witness flying cockroaches, with some species actually gliding rather than flying. In intense heat, cockroaches usually seek out more excellent locations since higher temperatures lead them to burn up more energy.

Some species can fly short distances, and several American cockroaches — use their wings to glide from high heights to lower surfaces.

Other cockroaches have wings, and some do not. Although there are different species of cockroaches distributed all over the globe, they do have some of the same characteristics. Below are some common cockroach characteristics shared across species:

  •     Antenna
  •     Head
  •     Forelegs
  •     Hind legs
  •     Thorax
  •     Abdomen
  •     Wings – two pairs

A cockroach’s wings fold back over the abdomen, across the back. The first pair operates as a shield, covering the body and the hind wings.

What Kind of Cockroaches Fly?

Wood cockroaches and smokey brown cockroaches are also powerful fliers. Australian, Asian and Cuban cockroaches are also capable of flight; however, none of them could adequately be dubbed “flying cockroaches.” One of the most prevalent indoor species, the German cockroach, do not fly at all.

One of the reasons why you don’t see many flying cockroaches is because of their size. For insects, cockroaches are pretty huge animals. Their massive body bulk and flying wings are not favorable to speed or maneuverability. A vast, slow-flying bug is easy food for birds or bats. So even though some cockroaches can glide, they still utilize their very efficient legs for sprinting most of the time.

In reality, cockroaches are among the quickest moving insects, capable of crossing several feet in a few seconds. At 50 body lengths per second, the American cockroach is roughly three times the speed of a cheetah. Cheetahs, the fastest land animals, only travel around 18 body lengths in the same period.

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Flying cockroach (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Why Do Flying Cockroaches Fly Toward You?

If you believe flying cockroaches are flying directly at you, they really aren’t. Most cockroach species aren’t excellent “flyers,” and what you see as their flying at you is really simply them getting frightened and gliding wildly in a given direction. Some cockroach species are also drawn to light, and there might be light or brightness behind you or surrounding you that’s encouraging the cockroach to glide toward you.

Are Flying Cockroaches Dangerous?

Flying cockroaches aren’t always harmful when they’re drifting toward you. However, cockroaches themselves may be deadly. They usually don’t bite or cause any type of direct injury to you, but they may contaminate whatever they touch or walk over, possibly transmitting E. Coli and salmonella. Cockroaches, especially dead cockroaches and cockroach bits, have also provoked allergic responses and asthma in certain persons.

How Do You Get Rid of Flying Cockroaches?

If you have a cockroach infestation in your house, expert intervention is advised. Different cockroach species react to different methods of therapy. And when you encounter cockroaches in your home, there may be others lurking. A skilled pest control technician understands how to discover the cockroach infestation, identify the species you’re dealing with, and build an efficient treatment strategy to get rid of them and help prevent them from coming back.

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