While pests are by and large unwelcome guests, flying cockroaches fall into a special category of undesirability. Indeed, these airborne insects are the rare pest that outmatch your garden-variety crawling cockroaches in grossness.

flying cockroach

Why do cockroaches fly? Do all cockroaches have the capability of flight? And what prompts flying cockroaches to begin flitting around? Here’s what you need to know about flying cockroaches.

Quick Facts on Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the world’s most common insects. According to fossil evidence, they have likely been around for more than 300 million years. Due to their resilience and adaptability, cockroaches are widely considered to be among the most successful animal species.

There are more than 3,500 known species of cockroaches. Most of these inhabit tropical regions and habitats, such as rainforests. The United States is home to around 70 cockroach species. Two-thirds of these are indigenous, while the remainder was introduced to the United States, often by stowing away on trading vessels.

Do All Cockroaches Fly?

While many cockroach species are winged, most do not fly at all. As a general rule, cockroaches are not great flyers.

There are several species that are active and capable of flying short distances. These include the male brown-banded cockroach and the male Pennsylvania wood cockroach. 

Other species, such as the widespread American cockroach, use their wings to glide from higher elevations to lower surfaces, typically in search of moisture or cooler temperatures.

Cockroaches, like all insects, are cold-blooded or ectothermic. As ectotherms, cockroaches’ body temperatures depend upon the surrounding environment. Unlike mammals, their body temperatures are not internally regulated.

While most cockroaches do not regularly fly, cockroaches that are able to fly will do so if the heat or cold conditions encourage it. Generally, cockroaches have an ideal temperature range between 75 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

When temperatures exceed 85 degrees is when we typically see flying, or more accurately, gliding cockroaches. In extreme heat, cockroaches usually seek out cooler spaces, because higher temperatures cause insects to use up more energy.

Finally, while most cockroaches prefer to run, cockroaches capable of flying will fly as a survival mechanism when they need to escape quickly.

As temperatures tick up this summer, you may encounter flying cockroaches in or around your home or business. Contact a pest control professional from Terminix® to help strike back at these unnerving insects.