When most people think ‘cockroach’, they shudder. And when they see one crawl across the kitchen floor at lightning speed, they shriek. We don’t always know why, but the thought of a cockroach in your pantry is almost worse than the thought of a time-bomb quietly ticking away next to your cornflakes. But what’s the only thought worse than a cockroach in your kitchen or business premises? How about a flying cockroach?!
But wait a minute … do cockroaches fly?
To thoroughly answer ‘can cockroaches fly’, there are some other questions to ask as well.
1. What is a cockroach?
‘Cockroach’ is a bit like the word ‘dog’ – and we’re not talking about how cute they are, because cockroaches certainly aren’t that. We’re talking about how many different kinds there are.
Basically, there are HUNDREDS of unique cockroach species, and it’s pretty safe to say that they nearly all have wings.
But some cockroaches have little more than vestigial wings, which means that they don’t use them to fly. Some other species, like the German cockroach, have wings but underdeveloped flight muscles, meaning that they do more ‘gliding’ than flying.
And the run-of-the-mill American cockroach can definitely fly, but they prefer to run at a speed that – when corrected for size – would leave even a cheetah for dead.
2. Where did flying cockroaches get their wings?
Cockroaches may not be brilliant fliers, but the reason they have wings is because they evolved from an adept flying ancestor.
Spotted a cockroach at your place that doesn’t have wings? Actually, as only adult insects have wings, what you’ve probably seen is a juvenile cockroach that will almost certainly grow into a flying cockroach.
3. When will a cockroach fly?
As we suggested, if given a chance, cockroaches will actually prefer to run than fly.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t ever spot one whizzing about your head. Think of it like humans and running – if given the chance, we will walk. But if we’re in a tight spot, we have the ability to run if we have to. It’s the same with cockroaches and flying.
The presence of a flying cockroach will also indicate that this particular airborne critter is looking for a mate, which is very bad news indeed – because mating cockroaches means more and more flying cockroaches!
4. How far will a cockroach fly?
While a cockroach can run faster than the wind, they’re really not great fliers. But that doesn’t mean they can’t fly several hundred metres in any one flight session, at a maximum altitude of around 10 metres high.
5. Why is it hard for a cockroach to fly?
When you see the more common flying insects, what you’ll notice is that their bodies are small and light and their wings are comparatively big.
But it’s the other way around for a flying cockroach, who despite having two sets of wings, only actually uses one of those sets to actually fly. On the other hand, a cockroach’s legs are highly adapted to fast running.
6. What does a flying cockroach look like?
Of the hundreds of different cockroach species, there are just a few that you are likely to see here in Australia.
The one you’re probably most familiar with is the American cockroach, which is red-brown in colour, with overlapping wings. And when it gets hot in the summer, that’s when you’re most likely to see them fly.
The Australian cockroach is generally a little smaller, but smaller still is the Brown-Banded cockroach – with obviously coloured stripes on the abdomen. Like the American cockroach, these cockroaches will fly when the mercury rises.
German cockroaches, with their two dark stripes on their back, are found in kitchens, laundries and bathrooms all over the world, and the Smoky-Brown cockroach has a shiny appearance – and they’ll also fly when it’s warm.
You also may see the reddish-brown Oriental cockroach in Australia, but they are not commonly seen in flight. The male has short wings, while the female’s lack of wings means she cannot fly!
Flying or not, get rid of your cockroaches
Whether they are scurrying around the floor or gliding from surface to surface, you should definitely make plans to get rid of cockroaches. At Cannon Pest Management, we know how to identify a cockroach species and quickly decide the most effective treatment solution. Do it before these dirty critters spoil your food, contaminate your stuff, stain and destroy your belongings and stink out your house. Controlling cockroaches is an important part of any commercial pest control program.
Leave a comment below to share a flying cockroach horror story, or just get in touch right now to get rid of your infestation today.