Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

Do Cockroaches Fly?

What is more disturbing than seeing a one-and-a-half-inch cockroach scuttling across your floor? Seeing that same cockroach flying at your face before bouncing off your forehead and getting tangled in your hair. If that happens, you will probably find little comfort in the fact that cockroaches do not technically fly. According to bug experts, cockroaches become airborne but they are not flying as a bird flies. Instead they are using their wings to glide from place to place, much as a flying squirrel soars from tree to tree. And even this aerial antic is determined by sex and species.

Female Oriental cockroaches don’t have developed wings (but males have wings that cover ¾ of their body) and German cockroaches do not fly. The Asian cockroach, which is nearly identical to the German cockroach, does fly. With Smoky Brown and Woods cockroaches—which live outdoors and are not considered pests—both sexes are capable of flying. And if you live in Florida, you might be familiar with the bright green Cuban cockroach which flies towards light at night and often bounces off windows as a result.

One of the nastiest roaches, the American cockroach, is the Boeing 757 of the species. They do not have wings when they are in their immature, nymph stage but both male and female adults can take to the air. In order to do so they have to climb to some high place like a tree, or the top shelf of your closet. American cockroaches are more likely to run away if frightened but can fly if they feel like it. So next time those dang roaches appear on your walls or floor, just be thankful they prefer to remain on foot as they scurry back down into the sewers from whence they came.