Cockroaches

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Do cockroaches fly?

The very short answer to this question is: yes. Most species of cockroaches do have wings and many of them can fly, but most of them do not, preferring to crawl around on the ground to scavenge for food. So, the real question is probably - can roaches fly? Yes, they can, but they very seldom do.

There are even species of flying cockroaches right here in the United States, too.

Flying cockroaches are not more dangerous than other cockroaches, it just means that they are able to fly away from danger or fly to places that those who only crawl may not be able to reach.

Do cockroaches have wings?

To answer that question, it’s probably a good idea to look at some common cockroach anatomy shared across species. Although there are many varieties of cockroach located all over the world, they do share some of the same characteristics. These include:

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

A cockroach’s wings fold back over the abdomen, across the back and the first pair act like as shield, protecting the body and the hind wings.

Some cockroaches do not have wings at all. One such type is the Madagascar hissing cockroach, which of course, could not fly even if it tried.

Species of flying cockroach

There are several species of cockroach known for their ability to fly. Most of them are not found often in North America. There are a few, however.

  • The American Cockroach - the cockroaches that are probably the most common in the entire country are reddish-brown in color and have been taking up residence in North America since the 1600s. They are long and narrow and have wings that allow them to fly, although they very rarely do. Often these roaches are confused with palmetto bugs.

  • Asian Cockroach - another cockroach that sometimes ends up here in North America, they are attracted to light rather than wanting to run away from it. Unlike most species, they are not common indoors and are strong flyers.  They also like to eat insects that can damage crops.

  • Cuban Cockroach - a green cockroach is actually found all over Central America and sometimes they get as far north as the southwestern United States. They very thin and they have wings that allow them to fly relatively short distances.

  • Australian Cockroach - they are also strong flying cockroaches and, as you might have guessed from the name, are native to Australia. They do sometimes end up in the U.S., transported by goods and products. They like the hot and humid portions of the country and can be over an inch long.

  • Megaloblatta - a cockroach that is found mostly in Central and South America and is the largest of the flying cockroaches. Their wingspan can reach up to an impressive 7 inches and their body length can be as big as 4 inches.

  • Pennsylvania Woods Cockroach - unlike other cockroaches, these insects prefer to be out during the day. Both the males and females have very light wings, but only the males sometimes fly. They are about an inch long with the females being a little smaller than the males.

Types of cockroach without wings

Some cockroach species do not have wings at all and could not fly even if they tried. Most cockroach nymphs, across species, are wingless and cannot fly until they develop wings later in life. The Madagascar hissing cockroach has no wings, even as an adult, and the female Oriental cockroach has only underdeveloped wing pads. Both are unable to fly.

Even when cockroaches do have wings, they are not strong flyers and most choose to crawl.

Why don’t cockroaches fly more often?

The matter may simply be due to physics. Most species of cockroach have a large body mass compared to their wing size. This means flying is not easy for them, it is hard for them to maneuver, and they can not usually fly for very long distances. All of this adds up to a cockroach which would prefer to crawl to its destination over flying somewhere.

Why do cockroaches fly?

Cockroaches will mostly likely fly if they feel there is a threat and they need to get away quickly. They also might use their wings like gliders if they happen to be in a high place and need to get down to a lower place, they can use their wings to get down more easily than falling. More than likely, however, in North America if you see cockroaches you are going to see them running around on the floor and not flying very often.

What attracts flying cockroaches?

The things that attract cockroaches vary among different species, but generally, they seek out food, water, and warmth. Food is the primary attractor, as cockroaches need it to survive. Crumbs and spills should be cleaned up and food tightly sealed to keep them from coming around. Cockroaches are not bothered by food in the garbage, so make sure that your trash cans are sealed tightly.

Some species of cockroaches are also attracted to light, as you may have noticed when they fly at your face upon you flipping the switch. Others are deterred by light, and will scurry away when the light comes on.

Get rid of flying cockroaches with Ehrlich

Whether the types of cockroaches you are finding on your property fly or not, they are a pest. That's why if you find cockroaches anywhere around your property, you need to call in the experts at Ehrlich right away so we can inspect your home or business, eliminate the infestation and provide prevention methods.

Call us at 1-800-837-5520 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.