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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.

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?

Some cockroaches have wings and some do not. Although there are many varieties of cockroaches located all over the world, they do share 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 act like a shield, protecting the body and the hind wings.

Why don’t they always fly?

The matter may simply be due to physics. Most cockroaches 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 preference to crawl to its destination over flying.

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. This allows them to get down more easily than by falling. But in North America, if you see cockroaches, you are more than likely going to see them running around on the floor and not in the air.

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, but there are a few

  • American Cockroaches - American cockroaches are one of the most common species in the U.S., taking up residence in North America since the 1600s. Their long, narrow bodies are reddish-brown in color and they have wings that allow them to fly, although they very rarely do.
  • Asian Cockroaches - Asian cockroaches are much different from other cockroach species. Sometimes found in North America, they are attracted to light rather than wanting to run away from it, are strong fliers, and prefer to be outdoors.
  • Australian Cockroaches - Australian cockroaches are also strong fliers and are typically found outdoors. They like the hot and humid portions of the country and can be over an inch long.
  • Cuban Cockroaches - This green-colored cockroach is commonly found in Central America but can sometimes come as far north as the southeastern United States. They are very thin and they have wings that allow them to fly relatively short distances.
  • Pennsylvania Woods Cockroaches - 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 can fly. They are about an inch long with the females being a little smaller than the males.

Types of cockroaches 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.

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 800-837-5520 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.

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