Do cockroaches fly?


To answer your question simply, yes.

The very thought of cockroaches can send shivers down your spine. These pesky creatures are synonymous with dirt and filth and are also known to spread diseases such as salmonella, whilst also triggering asthma.

There are around 3,000 species of cockroaches in the world, but only 30 are considered pests. But can these crawling insects fly?

Can cockroaches fly?

One thing that might not have crossed your mind (or maybe it has) is if cockroaches can fly. Well, you may be shocked to find out that they can, in fact, fly.

Do all cockroaches fly?

Although a handful of cockroach species have wings, the majority of them aren’t good flyers, or can’t fly at all. On the other hand, some are strong, capable fliers whilst others just glide from one spot to another, and only for a short period of time.

Species of cockroach that can fly

  • Oriental cockroach – Dark brown or black in colour, Oriental cockroaches are usually 20 -25mm long. The wings undeveloped in female and cover ¾ length of the abdomen in the male.
  • American cockroach – The most common species of cockroach. Between 25 and 40mm in length and is a shiny, reddish brown colour.
  • Australian cockroach – Common species of tropical cockroach. Adults are 23-35 mm in length. Looks similar to an American cockroach but slightly smaller and has a yellow margin on the thorax.
  • Smoky Brown cockroach – Has a habit of entering houses and contaminating food with excrement, regurgitated salivary fluid and potentially harmful bacteria. Usually 3 – 35mm long and a shining dark brown colour.

Do baby cockroaches fly?

Baby roaches (nymphs) look like adult roaches but smaller and cannot fly. This is because, being still in the growing phase of their life cycle, they do not possess wings.


How do cockroaches fly?

Although cockroaches have two sets of wings, they only use one set. The front pair of wings are thick and act as a protective casing. They are the same colour as the body of the cockroach and rest against the back of the insect when not being used. The back pair of wings (which they use for flying) are membranous, thin, and clear and rest underneath the front pair.

When preparing to take flight, flying cockroaches lift their front wings and expose the back pair. Whilst flying cockroaches keep the front wings lifted and move through the air using the back pair.

Why don’t cockroaches fly?

As previously stated, the majority of cockroaches that can fly tend to glide, and do so in short periods of time. This is because it is much more efficient, and quicker, to crawl.

Compared to other flying insects, cockroaches are quite large in comparison to their wings. Combine this with only using one set of wings to assist flying, you can imagine it’s not an effective way to travel.

Cockroaches have six, highly effective legs, capable of covering distances equal to around 50 body lengths a second. Each leg is covered with setae and pointy spines and varies in length, fulfilling a different yet relevant function when it comes to crawling.

How to get rid of flying cockroaches

The best way to get rid of flying cockroaches is to take the necessary prevention methods to make your home or business less appealing. This consists of the following:

  • Eliminate food sources: A constant supply of food is what makes your home so appealing to cockroaches. You can easily get rid of this attraction by removing standing food and liquids, keeping leftovers in airtight containers and emptying bins on a regular basis.
  • Clean: Cockroaches thrive in dirty environments. Making sure your home or office is free from food debris and removing pet food and litter during night time can go a long way in preventing cockroaches.
  • De-clutter: Removing clutter from your home reduces the amount of places a cockroach can hide. Be sure to store items in plastic containers and get rid of stacks of newspapers and magazines.
  • Maintenance: Cockroaches love dark and damp places. Be sure to regularly check pipes and drains for roach activity and repair any seal cracks and crevices in walls, skirting boards and cabinets.

Professional cockroach control

Of course, the most effective way to get rid of flying cockroaches is with the help of a pest control professional. Using the cockroach services and solutions from a professional pest controller will ensure any potential cockroach problem is thoroughly dealt with.

Seen a cockroach in your home or business? Get in contact with Rentokil today!


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