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What Type of Cockroaches Fly?

Last Updated: 05.02.23


Cockroaches are the type of pests that one struggles to get rid of – those interested in the topic should take a look at this guide on how to pick the best cockroach killer. However, you might not know that there are roaches that can fly. This article contains info on different species of flying roaches as well as on the danger that they pose to residents.


Do cockroaches fly?

If you have dealt with a German cockroach infestation recently, you’ve probably noticed that some roach species have wings. However, most of these wings are vestigial wings and they cannot be used by the insects to fly. Instead of flying, roaches use their wings to protect their bodies or to fight.

Worldwide, some species of roaches can fly over short distances. Even more so, there are also species, such as the American cockroach that can use their wings to glide from higher to lower surfaces.



The Pennsylvania woods cockroach 

One of the most popular species of roaches that can fly is the Pennsylvania woods cockroach. This insect rarely infest homes. It only becomes a problem if/when firewood is brought into the house. The Pennsylvania woods cockroach can be found in Pennsylvania, as well as in the midwestern, southern and eastern states, as well as in Canada.

The adult males measure one inch in length, while the females are around 3/4 inches. The males are brown and they have fully developed wings, while the females have wings that are smaller and functionless. 

Even though the males can fly, they cannot sustain their weight in the air for a long time.  These insects rarely breed indoors but they can infest homes, especially during the mating season, in May and June. During these months, the male roaches are known for traveling, sometimes flying in large numbers in search of females.

Because they are carried indoors when transporting firewood, the specialists argue that you should avoid storing wood in your home. You should also move the woodpiles away from the house so that these roaches won’t wander in unexpectedly.

If you want to get rid of an infestation, you can also use chemical control substances just like pesticides. You can spray these substances around the windows, doors, and the porches. Exterminators argue that you should only utilize products that have been specially formulated for this task.


The Smoky brown cockroach

The Periplaneta fuliginosa, or the smoky brown roach is another type of cockroach that can fly. In general, adults can reach a maximum length of 38m and they are strong fliers. They can be found in mulch and leaf litter where their brown dark color helps them stay hidden.  

Once they infest your home, you can find these insects in your basement and ground floor levels. They are attracted to exposed trash, stacks of wood, sewer openings, and leaky roofs or standing water.

They often crawl inside through small openings in the foundation and they can also fly through open windows and doors. Once they are in, these pests rapidly infest all the surfaces that they touch by spreading bacteria. 

The proteins in their skin and saliva are also known to trigger allergic reactions and asthma. Because they can fly, they frighten all those who are not familiar with this species of roaches.

According to exterminators, the classic signs of an infestation are sights of the insects during the night, finding droppings and spotting egg capsules or oothecae. The oothecae are 11 to 14 mm in length and they are black or dark brown. 

If you are dealing with an infestation, you should hire an exterminator to get rid of the issue. He/she will know how to correctly manage smoky brown cockroaches and will most likely design a program that fits the situation.


The Australian Cockroach

This species prefers the outdoors but it can also be found indoors occasionally. Statistics have shown that the Australian roach is the most common cockroach species that can be found in the southern part of Florida. Adults measure 32 to 35 mm and they have fully developed wings that they use to glide.

From a physical point of view, this insect is in many ways similar to the American roach. The one characteristic that distinguishes it is the yellow bands that cover the insect’s upper margins. In the US, this roach is prevalent in the coastal southeastern states and Florida.

Researchers have indicated that this species may have originated in Africa, and not Australia. It is believed that this roach was transported into America by the slave ship route. The Australian roach likes to live outdoors, just like the Smokey brown. 

You can find it in firewood piles, under the bark of trees, as well as in various other areas that are moist. The roach likes to infest homes when the outside temperatures get lower. They take refuge in sinks, toilets, pipes and even cupboards.



The Asian Cockroach

The Asian cockroach or the Blattella asahinai looks a lot like the German roach. Adults measure 13 to 16 millimeters and they are light brown. They are strong flyers and, most of the time, they prefer living outdoors. Still, they can get into homes by accident through doors, windows or seals that are poorly fitted. Just like most insects, they are attracted by light.

The outdoor populations live in leaf litter. The one issue with this species is that they multiply very fast and, as a consequence, they are difficult to eradicate without professional help. In most cases, they start by infesting the yard and, finally, they make their way into one’s home.

These roaches carry diseases and, therefore, they are dangerous when they come into contact with food. They have body oils that change the taste and smell of food. Some people are allergic to them.

If you are dealing with an infestation, it is best that you call the local exterminator and that you ask for immediate help. 


The Cuban cockroach

The Cuban cockroach, also known by its Latin name, Panchlora nivea is also a flyer. These insects are light green and they have yellow heads and wings. However, the nymphs are black and they do not look like the adults at all. When they reach maturity, the Cuban cockroaches measure 3/4 to 1 inch.

They are attracted to light but they prefer living outdoors. Specialists point out that these insects often appear in large numbers in leaf and woodpiles. They are common in tropical habitats where they often destroy banana plants.

Because they cannot survive indoors for long; home infestations are very rare. However, the Cuban roach can infest greenhouses. To avoid having to deal with these roaches, it is best that you seal any crevices, cracks, and windows.


Why are flying roaches rare?

Out of the 3,500 species of cockroaches that have been identified, only a few of them can fly. The reason for this has a lot to do with the size of roaches. Given their large body mass, these insects are not able to fly over long distances. Instead, they prefer to use their legs.

What is more, roaches are some of the fastest critters out there. In fact, they can cover several feet in just a matter of seconds. For instance, it could be argued that the American cockroach is three times faster than a cheetah as it can cover 50 body lengths per second. By comparison, the cheetah can only cover 18 body lengths.


Challenges that residents have to face

When dealing with an infestation where the pests are flying roaches, the residents of a home are put in a difficult position. The main issue is that these insects can contaminate a significantly large area, including countertops and pantries. If a person ingests food that has been contaminated, he/she is prone to suffer from food poisoning or dysentery. 

On top of that, these insects can get into homes more easily, as they can fly through open doors and windows. Most of them, even the species that live outdoors, are attracted to light and, thus, they often try to get into houses.

One issue is that, once they get inside a home, these pests often go unnoticed for quite a long time. This happens because they are nocturnal pests that often hide during the day. Also, many of them produce droppings and they shed skin that contains allergens that can trigger asthma and allergies.

Adults live for about a year and they can easily contaminate a large quantity of food. Infestations of this sort should be handled with efficiency. To get the best results, it is advisable that you hire professional help.




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