Can Roaches Fly? 8 Fascinating Species of Flying Roaches!

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a cockroach fly at your head like me, but it’s a pretty unsettling experience, so which roaches can fly? We’re here to lay out the facts about which cockroach species can fly. 

So, can cockroaches fly? Yes, some cockroaches can fly, but just because one has wings, it doesn’t mean they can fly. In some species, only the males take flight.

To better understand the flying capabilities of a cockroach, it is essential to delve into their anatomy and the different types of species that exist. While some cockroaches indeed possess the ability to fly, others may only use their wings for stability or not have wings at all. 

Knowing which species display this airborne ability can be helpful when dealing with a cockroach infestation.

Key Takeaways About “Can cockroaches fly?”

  • Some cockroach species can fly, while others cannot
  • Cockroach flight is influenced by factors such as anatomy and environment
  • Knowing which species can fly is essential for effective pest control

Can Cockroaches Actually Fly?

Can Roaches Fly. A cockroach with wings doesn't mean it can fly.

Guess what? Some cockroach species can indeed fly. While not all cockroaches possess this ability, certain species have fully functioning wings that allow them to take to the air. For instance, the American and Asian cockroaches are known for their flying abilities.

Now, how well can these cockroaches fly? To be honest, they’re not exactly acrobats in the air. Their flight is more like a glide or a controlled descent rather than the swift and agile movements you see from other insects, such as flies or butterflies.

Although their flying abilities might not be too impressive, it is still a critical survival skill for them. Flying gives cockroaches a valuable advantage when escaping predators or searching for new mates, sources of food, and shelter.

It’s worth noting that flying isn’t the only impressive skill that cockroaches possess. They can also run fast – at a speed of up to 3 miles per hour. The speed makes them tricky to catch, especially when darting across floors or walls.

Remember, not all species of cockroaches fly, and those that can aren’t always eager to take to the air. They usually opt for running or hiding first, as it conserves energy, and flight is used as a last resort. So, while it’s true that certain cockroach species can fly, you might not encounter one soaring through the skies anytime soon.

Types of Cockroaches That Can Fly

American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana) has wings and can fly

You might be surprised to learn that the American Cockroach, which is one of the largest species of household cockroaches, is capable of flying. Although these roaches don’t fly very often, they have fully functional wings that allow them to fly short distances. 

Sometimes, they might prefer to glide rather than indeed fly. When they are frightened or disturbed, they are more likely to use their wings to escape.

Asian Cockroach (Blattella asahinai)

Asian Cockroach (Blattella asahinai) is a roach that flies

The Asian Cockroach is another species of roach that can fly. Unlike the American Cockroach, the Asian Cockroach is more likely to use its flying ability, as it is attracted to sources of light. 

You’ll commonly find these cockroaches outdoors, and they use their wings to travel quickly and easily. The Asian Cockroach can sometimes be mistaken for the German roach due to their similar appearance, but their ability to fly sets them apart from their non-flying cousins.

Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)

Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) Is a flying roach that's eating a fruit

The Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) is a formidable flyer among the species. Despite its somewhat misleading name, you can find this one in any warm climate worldwide, and it boasts impressive wings that span the length of its body. 

These wings, coupled with a lightweight exoskeleton, enable it to take to the skies with surprising agility. Interestingly, unlike many relatives who reserve a flight for escape or as a last resort, the Australian Cockroach embraces its aerial capability. 

It frequently flies for food or new territories, exhibiting an almost adventurous spirit. This unique behavior makes the Australian Cockroach an intriguing subject of study in insect flight.

Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa)

Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa) The males can fly

The Brown Banded Cockroach is another example of a species where males can fly while females cannot. The males of this species are capable of short flights, primarily using this ability to escape danger or to find a suitable mate. Their wings are full-length, covering their entire abdomen, which facilitates their flight. 

In contrast, the females of this species have shorter wings that only cover about half of their abdomen, not extending beyond their body. This anatomical difference inhibits the females from achieving flight, limiting their mobility compared to their male counterparts. 

Despite their inability to fly, female Brown brown-banded cockroaches are agile climbers, often found in high areas, including the upper walls of homes and commercial buildings.

Field Cockroach (Blattella vaga)

Field Cockroach (Blattella vaga) can take flight

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The Field Cockroach, also known as Blattella vaga, is a species of cockroach that can fly. According to the Study Guide for the Associate Certified Entomologist, this type of cockroach is attracted to light. 

It is more active during daylight hours compared to other species of cockroaches. Females of the Field Cockroach can produce an egg capsule with an average of around 14-18 eggs.

Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)

Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa) can fly

Smoky Brown Cockroaches are known for their excellent flying skills. These insects live mostly outdoors in warm environments, such as the southeastern United States. 

Though they usually stay close to the ground, they will take to the air if threatened or if they’re searching for food and shelter. Their strong flying abilities make them more likely to be seen flying during the evening and night hours, and they are attracted to lights as well.

Turkestan Cockroach (Blatta lateralis)

Turkestan Cockroach (Blatta lateralis) will fly sometimes

Turkestan roaches can fly. They have very short, leathery wings. The female’s wings do not meet in the middle, whereas on the males, the wings cover the abdomen. 

These roaches have been turning up in several California towns. According to The SF Chronicle, the Turkestan cockroach (Blatta lateralis) has become increasingly common in many parts of California, including Pleasanton, Livermore, Fremont, Union City, and other areas in Alameda County. They have also been spotted in the Central Valley and Sacramento. 

The invasion of Turkestan cockroaches in California is attributed to factors such as warmer weather and wet conditions, which provide suitable habitats for their proliferation.

Wood Roach (Parcoblatta spp)

Wood Roach (Parcoblatta spp) Mostly the males fly

Last but not least, the Wood Roach is another species of cockroach that can fly. This roach lives outdoors, and you’ll find it in wooded areas, near trees with dying limbs, or spaces with plenty of organic debris. 

Male Wood Roaches have fully developed wings and can efficiently fly, while the females have smaller wings and aren’t as proficient at flying. However, it’s important to note that these roaches are not typically household pests, preferring to stay in their outdoor environments.

The Anatomy of a Cockroach’s Flight

You might be wondering whether cockroaches can fly. The truth is that some species of cockroaches do have the ability to take flight, but their capabilities vary. 

Let’s explore the anatomy of a cockroach’s flight. Just be aware that there are some bugs that look like cockroaches. So, make sure what you are dealing with is actually a roach. 

Cockroaches have two pairs of wings, with the front pair being thicker and more protective than the back pair. The front wings, known as tegmina, are not used for flying but rather serve as a shield when the cockroach is at rest. The back wings, on the other hand, are membranous and more flexible, which allows them to facilitate flight.

Regarding flight muscles, cockroaches have two types: direct and indirect. Direct flight muscles control the wing’s movement, while indirect flight muscles control the shape of the thorax. These muscles play crucial roles in a cockroach’s flying abilities.

  • Direct flight muscles: These muscles are responsible for the up and down movement of the wings. By flexing and relaxing, they change the angle of the wings, allowing the cockroach to achieve lift and control its flight.
  • Indirect flight muscles: These muscles control the shape of the thorax, the part of the body housing the wings. When these muscles contract, the thorax deforms, and the wings are raised. When they relax, the thorax returns to its original shape, and the wings lower.

It’s essential to understand that not all cockroach species use their wings for flying. Some species, like the German cockroach, can only glide for short distances. Other species, such as the American cockroach, can fly more efficiently and travel greater distances.

In conclusion, some cockroach species possess the necessary anatomy to fly, while others might only be able to glide or may not use their wings at all. The complexity of their flight muscles and wing structure contribute to their varying flying capabilities.

How Often Do Cockroaches Fly?

You may be surprised to learn that not all cockroach species can fly. In fact, only a few species have this capability. Among those who can fly, it’s essential to understand how often they choose to take to the skies.

Cockroaches with functional wings, like the American and Australian cockroaches, tend to rely more on their ability to crawl and scurry than on their flying skills. So, you won’t see them flying as frequently as other insects. Their wings are mainly used for swift escape when threatened or in danger.

Flying can also be affected by environmental factors such as heat and humidity. Given the right conditions, some species, known as good fliers like the Asian or smoky brown cockroach, may be more inclined to fly. However, it’s still uncommon to see them flying regularly or for extended distances.

  • American cockroach: Can fly
  • Australian cockroach: Can fly
  • Asian cockroach: More likely to fly but not frequently
  • Brown-banded: Only the males fly
  • Smoky brown cockroach: More likely to fly but not frequently
  • Turkestan: Males more likely to take flight

In summary, the frequency of cockroaches flying depends on their species and environmental factors. While they possess the ability, they typically prefer crawling and scurrying over flying, keeping their flights brief and infrequent. So, it would be best if you didn’t consider flying as a primary characteristic of these creatures.

Factors That Influence Cockroach Flight


When it comes to cockroach flight, temperature plays a vital role. Warm temperatures tend to make cockroaches more active, and this increased activity can lead to flying.

As the temperatures rise, the energy in their muscles is enhanced, giving them the ability to fly. So, if you notice cockroaches flying around on a hot summer night, it’s because the warmth is giving them the extra boost they need.


Cockroaches have many predators, from birds and small mammals to spiders and centipedes. To escape these threats, cockroaches might take flight. While flying, they have a better chance of avoiding danger more quickly. This ability to fly can give them a more significant opportunity to survive and continue thriving in various environments.

Dispersion for Food or Mates

Cockroaches are constantly scavenging and on the lookout for food and potential mates. Since their survival depends on finding sustenance and reproducing, taking to the air can be a highly effective method for them to achieve both of these goals.

  • Food: When resources are scarce, cockroaches have a better chance of locating food when they can explore a more extensive area by flying. Flying can be particularly helpful when food sources are spread out and not easily accessible by foot.

  • Mates: Given that successful reproduction is crucial for cockroach populations, flying can be an essential tool for them to find suitable mates, especially when they are dispersed throughout their habitat. By taking to the air and reaching new territories, cockroaches can ensure that their genetic diversity is maintained even when populations within individual habitats struggle.

Remember that not all cockroaches are strong flyers, and their ability to take to the air may vary depending on the species and environmental factors.

Dispelling Myths About Cockroach Flight

You might have heard various myths and stories about cockroaches and their ability to fly. In this friendly discussion, let’s set the record straight and dispel these myths.

Firstly, it’s essential to know that not all cockroaches can fly. There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches in the world, but only around 30 of them are associated with human habitats. 

Among those, some species, like the American cockroach and the Asian cockroach, have fully functional wings, while others, like the German cockroach, have wings but are unable to fly. Sometimes, the wings may look fully developed, but the insect’s body mass is too big for flight.

Cockroach flight is not just a simple yes or no situation. Roaches generally have two sets of wings, with the front pair being hard and protective, while the rear set is larger and more flexible for flying. Flying cockroaches rely on their back wings to get around, but their flight abilities are often limited.

In truth, most cockroaches are not strong fliers. Their flight is more of a controlled glide or a jump with a bit of an aerial boost. They can fly short distances, usually to escape threats or find new food sources. Remember that this depends on the species, as some are more adept at flying than others.

The myth about cockroaches flying into people’s ears is more of an exaggeration. While it’s true that they can sometimes enter human ears, it’s not exclusive to flying species and is more likely to happen when a person is asleep or unaware.

Finally, there’s a myth that cockroaches only fly when it’s hot. While it’s true that higher temperatures can promote activity and movement in these insects, this isn’t the sole reason for their flight. Just like any other living creature, cockroaches will fly when the need arises due to different factors, such as searching for food or escaping danger.

So now you know – not every cockroach you encounter is a masterful flier. In fact, most are clumsy in the air. Hopefully, this helps put your mind at ease and dispels some of those common myths about cockroach flight.

Do male and female cockroaches fly?

You might be wondering whether both male and female cockroaches can fly. Well, the answer depends on the species of cockroach. 

Male cockroaches often have a higher likelihood of flying compared to their female counterparts. In some species, males possess larger wings for better flight capability. For example, the male German cockroach has wings nearly covering its abdomen, allowing it to glide short distances.

Female cockroaches, on the other hand, may have smaller wings or lack them entirely. The tiny wings can limit their ability to fly, making them more likely to crawl and stay close to the ground. For instance, female Oriental cockroaches have non-functional wing stubs, preventing them from flying.

It’s important to note that not all species of cockroaches are naturally inclined to fly. Some species, such as American cockroaches, can fly, although they prefer to crawl. It’s typically only when they feel threatened or seek a new food source that they take to the air.

In summary, while some male and female cockroaches can fly, their ability varies depending on the species and specific characteristics of each gender. Keep in mind that flight in cockroaches is often limited to short distances, and they generally prefer crawling over flying.

Do German Roaches Fly?

While you may have heard a few horror stories about flying cockroaches, it’s important to know the facts about German roaches. The German cockroach is one of the most common species found in households, and understandably, you might be curious about their flying abilities.

To ease your mind, German roaches aren’t known for their flying skills. These insects do have wings, which cover the entirety of their oval-shaped bodies. However, the wings are more for protection than for flying.

German roaches generally prefer to crawl or run when they need to get from one place to another. They are pretty speedy on their feet, making them a challenging pest to catch and eliminate. And these roaches can easily climb walls.

German roaches occasionally use their wings to glide short distances, especially when they feel threatened. This might create the illusion that they are flying, but their in-flight prowess is nowhere near as advanced as other flying insects, such as flies or bees.

So, while German roaches may be pesky houseguests, at least you won’t have to worry about them taking to the skies in your home. They prefer to stay low to the ground, living in dark and secluded spaces when they can find them.

Impact of Cockroach Flight on Pest Control

Cockroaches have been a nuisance for many households and businesses for ages. You may be wondering about their ability to fly and how it affects pest control measures. Flying cockroaches can pose additional challenges to pest control, but don’t worry; there are effective ways to tackle them.

Firstly, it’s important to note that not all cockroach species have the ability to fly. However, for those that can, their flight can impact pest control in several ways. Flying cockroaches generally have greater mobility and are more elusive than their non-flying counterparts. Their flight capabilities mean they are better at evading and escaping standard pest control methods, such as sticky or baited traps.

To combat the issue of flying cockroaches, consider these options:

  • Sealing Entry Points: One effective method to prevent flying cockroaches from entering your home or establishment is to seal all potential entry points. Check for cracks and gaps in walls, doors, and windows. Seal them with caulk or weather stripping to minimize access for these pests.

  • Insecticides: Using insecticides designed explicitly for flying cockroaches can be a helpful addition to your pest control arsenal. You can use aerosol sprays or foggers in targeted areas where these cockroaches tend to congregate. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper and safe application.

Disclaimer: always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying over-the-counter pest control products.

  • Professional Help: If you’re finding it challenging to manage the problem of flying cockroaches independently, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional pest control service. They can help assess the situation, recommend the appropriate treatments, and even provide regular maintenance.

Remember, while flying cockroaches can complicate pest control, with the right strategies and vigilance, you can successfully manage and prevent these pests from becoming a significant problem.

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