Can Cockroaches Fly?

Can Cockroaches Fly?




While many of us would not already dare consider the implications of such a possibility, it’s an important thing to know, given the numbers of these pests infesting homes all over the U.S. If you’ve ever wondered whether cockroaches can fly, the simplest answer is: some can, and some can’t. It really depends on the species and the sex. So, do all cockroaches fly? Thankfully, no.

It’s relieving to know that already those cockroaches that are able to fly rarely do so. Instead, they prefer to stay at ground level–under floorboards and underneath cupboards and furniture–scurrying from one hiding identify to another. That is not to say, however, that you will never come across a flying cockroach. Many people have found the answer to ‘Can a cockroach fly?’ the hard way: by truly seeing them in flight.

There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches in different regions of the world. Here in the U.S., however, there are only a few cockroach species. One of the most shared is the German cockroach. Due to the extensive occurrence of German roaches, many people surprise can cockroaches fly when they see a German cockroach. Thankfully, the answer is no. Both the male and female of the German cockroach species are incapable of flight.

Another shared cockroach species found in the U.S. is the American cockroach. Can cockroaches fly if they are the American species? Both male and female American cockroaches have wings, giving them the ability to fly. However, the flight is more of a gliding motion instead of active flight.

If you can tell the difference between these two species, you won’t ever have to surprise about the flying prowess of these creepy crawlies. That’s because the German species cannot fly while the American species can. But how to discriminate between the two?

The American cockroach is the larger cousin, growing as large as one to two inches long, and with a thorough reddish-brown exoskeleton. German roaches are much smaller, at about half an inch long and with a lighter brown coloration. The German variant also has a pair of dark brown stripes running from behind the insect’s head, along the length of the body.

So, can cockroaches fly? Yes, if they’re American, and no, if they’re German. But what about the 50 or so other types of cockroaches found all over the country? Let’s take a very fleeting look at the more shared types.

Oriental Cockroach

turn up: Glossy body, dark brown or black in color

Flight: Males can fly very short distances

Smoky Brown and Woods Cockroach

turn up: Smoky brown coloration, 1 inch long

Flight: Only the males can fly

Australian Cockroach

turn up: Reddish brown with yellow markings, up to 1 ¼ inches long

Flight: Yes, both males and females can fly

Cuban Cockroach

turn up: bright, lime green coloration, 1 inch long

Flight: Yes, both males and females can fly

As noted earlier, already cockroaches that can fly will rarely do so. To keep flying cockroaches out of your home, use a window-screen during the summer months and keep your kitchen, toilets and the outside of your house clean.

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