Do Roaches Fly? [Find Out Why]

do roaches fly

Do Roaches Fly?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “do roaches fly?”

Winged insects elicit so much fear from people. Your first reaction is probably to run away from the flying insects. The reason behind this is probably to evade any sort of harm in the form of bites or stings.

Many people only see cockroaches scurrying around dark and moist areas. Cockroaches have wings, but do they fly? Are they among the winged insects that you might be scared of?

Well, with more than 4,000 different species of cockroaches, the answer isn’t straightforward. In this post, we will be discussing if roaches fly.

Do Roaches Fly?

Yes, roaches do fly. Therefore, a bug flying around in your home might just be a cockroach, as you guessed. As we have said, there are over 4,000 identified species of cockroaches. Can they all fly?

Do All Roaches Fly?

No, not all cockroaches can fly. As a matter of fact, most cockroaches don’t fly. All adult roaches have wings, but not all of them use them for flying. Hence, seeing a cockroach with wings does not mean it can fly.

Even roaches that can fly can only do so when environmental conditions become unfavorable, especially the temperature. Cockroaches are cold-blooded just like all other insects. This just means that their body temperature is dependent on the environment, whereas mammals can control their body temperature independently of the environment.

Ideally, these little buggers love an environment that is between 75 and 85°F. Whenever the temperature exceeds this range, you will see roaches taking flight. However, some of the cockroaches don’t even fly; they just glide from high places to the ground. With an increase in temperature, roaches seek a cooler area.

Even within the same species, there are some sexual dimorphisms when it comes to wings. The male roach usually has bigger wings than the female roach, which has relatively smaller ones. In the end, the male roaches can fly wherever they want, while female cockroaches will be unable to fly.

Do Baby Roaches Fly?

Baby roaches or nymphs do not fly, no matter the species. This is because cockroaches do not develop wings until adulthood. However, this does not reduce their speed of escape. They can still jump and scurry away at high speeds when needed.

Why Do Cockroaches Fly?

As we already know, cockroaches that are able to fly use their wings to seek a better environment when conditions get bad, usually the temperature. Additionally, cockroaches take flight when they perceive a threat or danger. Hence, it becomes the best way to get to safety.

The wings of roaches also serve as gliders when they are trying to go from a high place to a lower place. In fact, many roaches don’t actually fly; they just glide.

How Fast Do Roaches Fly?

This varies widely by species. Adept flyers such as the Smoky Brown Cockroach can fly at over 3 feet per second. However, most cockroaches fly slower than that because they are not built for it. Compared to other flying insects, the cockroach is so big that flying is not practical.

Cockroaches are very fast on their legs. If you’ve ever dealt with cockroaches before, nobody needs to tell you that. They scurry around at such a high speed that stumping on the ground hardly kills them.

Why Do Roaches Fly Towards You?

do roaches fly

Roaches do not necessarily fly towards you. When startled, they tend to fly in random directions to get away from a threat and fly to safety. By doing so, they might fly towards you.

5 Types of Cockroach That Can Fly

When it comes to cockroaches, “flying” is a broad term. Many roaches do not actually fly but glide. For those that fly, the length of flight varies for different species due to differences in the wing structure.

Let’s look at five species of roaches that can fly.

American Cockroach

This species of cockroach is by far the largest. They can fly, but not like true flying insects or birds. Rather, they are just able to glide from a high place to a low one. Often called palmetto bugs, these species of roaches can live up to three years and feed on waste and feces.

All adult American cockroaches have wings, so both the males and females of this species can glide. Like any other cockroach, the nymphs of American cockroaches cannot fly because they don’t have wings yet.

Brown-banded Cockroach

They love the warmth and usually assemble around items or warm electric devices. Brown-banded roaches are one of the most common indoor pests you will find in the United States. The males have wings that are longer than their bodies, while the females have relatively smaller wigs.

This dimorphism grants only the male brown-banded cockroach the ability to fly, while the female can’t. Baby cockroaches of this species do not have wings and therefore can’t fly.

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

This species of cockroach prefers to live in woods or piles of firewood outside, so they rarely infest your home. This behavior has earned them the name “wood roaches”.

Male wood roaches have functional wings and can take flight if necessary. On the other hand, female wood roaches have tiny non-functioning wings and are unable to fly.

Smoky Brown Cockroach

Even though they prefer being outdoors, smoky brown roaches can also be found indoors. They are common in the south-eastern states of the US. Like other cockroach species, their nymphs do not possess wings and cannot fly.

No sexual dimorphism is present between smoky brown cockroaches. Both male and female roaches of this species are capable of actually flying and not just gliding around. This is possible due to the pair of thin membranous wings they have.

Cuban Cockroach

Quite different from others, they are characterized by the bright colors on their bodies. This species of roach is almost exclusively found in tropical regions of the south-eastern US, the Gulf Coast, and Cuba. Their nymphs are incapable of flying.

The male Cuban cockroaches tend to be smaller than the females. However, both male and female adult roaches of this species can fly. They are good flyers compared to other cockroach species and can make their way into trees or your home using the windows. Cuban roaches are not considered to be pests.

Conclusion [Can Cockroaches Fly?]

Flying roaches are no myth. Some species of cockroach are able to fly, others glide. Others, like German cockroaches, do not fly at all.