Home / Why, Oh Why, does the Cockroach Fly?

Why, Oh Why, does the Cockroach Fly?

by | Aug 22, 2016 | 2 comments

Cockroaches are some of the nastiest bugs found in the United States. Every state has some area that is infested with these disease carrying bugs, including California.

Within the cockroach world, American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) arcockroach-close-upe on the big side. However, individuals within the species don’t have to be especially huge to fly. Fully matureCockroach american family

American cockroaches, with their body length wings, do have flying capabilities, whereas adults, (primarily males), of other species rearly fly since their wings are small and stunted.  All cockroach nymphs (regardless of species) are wingless.  A relative newcomer to the roach scene, in So. California, is the Turkistan Roach (Blatta lateralis).

Cockroach turkestan

The males of this species are reddish brown in color and have long yellowish wings which give them the capability of flight. Females are dark brown in color and do not have wings.

Cockroaches tend to fly cockroachs turkestan infestationmainly when disturbed. They’re flight is awkward, a bit graceless and more like falling with style. Even then, they fly better than do some kinds of birds (such as ostriches, emus, rheas and penguins).

American and Turkistan (male) cockroaches are capable of powered and directed flight, but they are weak fliers and really prefer to run. It has been noted that these cockroaches tend to fly only when— they have a need to get away from something quickly, they need a more satisfactory climate, or in rarer cases, when they need to search for a mate.

Entomologists and bug experts say conditions (hot and humid) are ripe for the domesticated versions of these brownish, red-colored bugs to get active, including taking to the air.

All insects arcockroach flyinge cold blooded, which means they are incapable of producing their own body heat and therefore require external forms of heat (i.e. the sun, or heat generated from the motor of a refrigerator) in order to sustain themselves.  The American Museum of Natural History’s resident bug expert, Louis Sorkin, added that “with more heat they have more use of their muscles. The more activity, the more flight.”  High temperatures cause insects to use up a lot of energy. Therefore, they become more actively concerned with finding food, mating and survival techniques.

Speaking of survival techniques, roaches use offense as a means of defense.  They will face you down and run straight at you.  If you are already squeamish over roaches, your reaction might be to turn



around and run, which is exactly what the roach intended.  Roaches will also fly towards you. Usually if the roach flies it has more to do with the temperature of its’ environment, than you as a threat.

Currently, the idea of cockroaches flying through the air has a lot of people running for cover. Check out these current stories of flying cockroaches.




As a last comment on their ability to fly, quite a few cockroaches fly remarkably well in ‘economy’, ‘business’ and even ‘first’ class aboard   commespraying plane for pestsrcial aircPlane taking offraft.

Bon Voyage! See you soon!

Bon Voyage! See you soon!



  1. Kathy Latus

    Flying cockroaches are creepy. I didn’t realize that hot weather supplied insects with more energy. Thanks for the info.

  2. JPerez

    Nasty roaches cause asthma. I have a strong light bulb keeps room hot. I have fan on and male roaches do fly. Big wings and nasty roaches face you and buzz in your ear….


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