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) are on the big side. However, individuals within the species don’t have to be especially huge to fly. Fully mature
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).
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 mainly 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 are 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.