Flying Cockroaches, the Flighty Home Pests You Must Fight [UPDATED]

It is known that every household has its share of pests, but some of them are literally the bane of the residents’ existence. Cockroaches can pose a threat to unaware humans. It is not uncommon to find people fearing cockroach as they can creep upon us without notice—not to mention that some of them can fly too!

Humans are known to be afraid of cockroaches. They often startle or sneak upon us and the next thing you know, these thin-legged beasts have already hovered too close. To the horror of many, some cockroaches will also chase you as you jump off your seats or try to move away. But why does such behavior occur?

The reason why cockroach can be intimidating has a lot to do with a defense mechanism they have developed since the ancient times. Cockroaches protect themselves from bigger threats by chasing and scaring them away. The lack of claws and fangs make them resort to use non-violent escape tactic. These creatures are aware that we are scared of them, and use this fear to survive.

Home residents may be unaware of the number of cockroaches until these pests freely roam during the day. Musty smell, secretion, and shed skins are among the signs of cockroach infestation. Once you discover these signs, extermination is due.

Here’s our quick guide on how to identify and exterminate flying cockroach.

0. Can Cockroaches Fly?

Cockroaches are strange creatures. Most species have wings and can fly, but most of them don’t want to do it because they prefer the ground for scavenging food. They only use their wings if there is no other option available like high fences or glass walls where flight isn’t possible

1. Identifying Flying Cockroaches

Cockroach is one of common household pests. Characterizes by their dark brown bodies, this species have long dwell in damp and secluded corners of our home. Having wings is common among various species of cockroaches, but only some of them fly. Most can only glide from higher spots to lower grounds. Those which can fly though, are the ones you should watch out for!

Despite having various species globally, cockroaches share some similar characteristics.

– Antenna

– Wings (2 pairs)

– Head

– Abdomen

– Forelegs

– Hind legs

– Thorax

The wings of a cockroach stem from the second and third fragments of the thorax. The first set of wings protect the cockroach’s body as well as cover the second one when they are not in flying stance, while the hind wings are functional when it is time to fly.

Cockroaches generally have wings, although there are some who don’t. Nevertheless, not all cockroaches who have wings are good fliers. They don’t move the wings very often; therefore the muscles are not trained well to fly. For this reason, their wings merely enable them to flutter and glide within short range of distance. Rather than trying to fly, cockroaches will opt to scurry around the area since it is a lot faster.

2. Do All Cockroaches Fly?

Several cockroach species are active fliers and can cover short distances such as Smokybrown cockroach, Pennsylvania wood cockroach, Asian cockroach, American cockroach and Australian cockroach. Meanwhile, Oriental cockroaches and German cockroaches can’t fly at all.

2.1 American Cockroach

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Picture: American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)

Known as one of the largest species of roaches, American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) has long infiltrated homes. Originated from Africa and the Middle East, this species can be found in the entire of United States. They are normally found outdoors in the southern states, while in the northern states they commonly seek shelter in drains and sewers.

Inclination to dwell in moist and damp areas makes them associated with other names, such as “palmetto bug” or “water roach”.

Big and menacing, American cockroach’s size vary from one until three inches long. Tinted with light brown to reddish brown variation, this species displays a yellow, oval-shaped band on top of their head. Belong among species of flying cockroaches; they have extreme reliance on their legs to scurry fast from one location to another.

American cockroaches are capable of flying and moving fast. Most often, you can find them in damp and warm spots, such as gardens, fields, or beneath mulch and leaf piles. They tend to seek protection from extreme weather by migrating to homes, storages, restaurants, and other buildings.

There are noticeable signs when American cockroaches have infiltrated their way to your residence. These include:

  • Spotting one inside. If you see one, there’s a possibility that more can come
  • Residual waste will be left on countertops, in cabinets, or under furniture. These droplets are usually brown and reddish in color.
  • Odor will not go unnoticed, especially if they gather in groups. The smell will be musty, damp and overall stink.
  • Eggs from American cockroach are typically enclosed in a casing; therefore once you find them, you can be sure that they have bred.

Wet and potent areas such as basements, holes, pipes and sewages are attractive to this creature. Their diet consists of feeding any organic materials, ranging from leftover human food, leaves, moss, and fungi.

2.2 Smokybrown Cockroach

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Picture: Smokybrown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)

Smokybrown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa) originates from the woods. One of warm climate pest, Smokybrown cockroaches live outdoor and fly within the vicinity of homes where food and shelter are sufficient. This species is known to infest on cabins and houses near the wilds.

Smokybrown roaches are closely related to American cockroach, so they share similar visual and behavioral characteristics. They can be found in warmer climate that covers southern American states such as Florida, Mississippi, Lousiana, Texas, and Georgia.

The name of Smokybrown roach is derived from their appearance. They are distinguished by dominant mahogany color with long and thin body. Wings are prominent and functional in this species, allowing them to fly frequently and steadily. During the night, they can be spotted surrounding sources of lights, drawn by the rays illuminating the dark.

Live and breed mostly in southern states, Smokybrown roaches prioritize humid and warm areas. Places like gardens, trees, leaf piles and mulch offer a supporting spots for them to roam. They can also be found in sewages and attics.

This species is not a picky eater, for they consume plants, human food, sugar, dead insects, and even feces. However, unlike other types of roaches, Smokybrown cockroach can only survive a few days without water. Therefore, they keep close to watery and moist areas.


2.3 Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

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Picture: Pennsylvania Wood cockroach (Parcoblatta pensylvanica)

Pennsylvania Wood cockroaches (Parcoblatta pensylvanica) live in forest regions of the Northeastern and Midwest United States. This outdoor pest is commonly found during summer months. As one of flying cockroach variants, they experience vigorous growth in the midst of wet and humid sections of the woods.

Light to dark brown coloration lend a certain ease in making Pennsylvania Wood cockroaches blend with their environment. They are typically 1 inch long, equipped with two long antennas and six legs. The males sport a completely developed set of wings which allow them to fly in short distance, however the wings are underdeveloped in females, leaving them scurrying on the ground.

As the name implies, this species prefers the outdoors, thriving within trees or beneath the piles of leaves and move around the floor of the woods. Decaying plants, fruits, starches are among the things they feast on. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches are drawn to light. They will approach bright lights at night, often continues to explore homes or buildings.

This roach species doesn’t produce offspring indoors. They prefer constructing their nests in hollowed out trees. Females will lay up to 40 eggs at a time. As they have little activity indoors, Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches will not be easily detected. If you want to make sure of their presence, it’s better to investigate homes that are made of log and cedar, along with houses built near the woods, as this species is less likely to invade typical city or suburban residence.

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches post small threat to humans. As they don’t last long indoors, people usually don’t experience issues like allergies or asthma when they are near. However, they still can defile food, so make sure you have your food tucked safely away from open, unprotected countertops.

2.4 Asian Cockroach

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Picture: Asian cockroaches (Blattella asahinai)

A novelty to United States, this species is known for its mobile movement and adaptability. They can be found in the vicinity of a house, namely leaf piles and beneath mulch and in tree barks.

Asian cockroaches (Blattella asahinai) are light brown, with body length around a half-inch, with two parallel antennas on top of their heads. They are omnivores that feed on everything they can find–plants, human food, flowers, leaves, pet food, and even waste. They procreate quickly and dwell on a location immediately.

Asian cockroaches are adept fliers and can be found in high places–on top of furniture, countertops and tables. Lights are major attraction to this species, which often come out at dusk or twilight, making their way inside when homes are basked in brightness.

In terms of reproduction, three to four oothecae (egg cases) will be laid during the life span of female Asian cockroaches. The offspring will last for three to six months.

Asian cockroaches are essentially an outdoor insect, thriving in the wooded locations around a home. You can spot them among wood and leaf piles, grassy areas and trees. They might scurry on top of your home appliances or equipments.

Getting rid of this species can be hard, since they are nimble and fast, so killing them in close distance is challenging. Using traditional repellents and anticipatory steps will require extra patience, since they can slip inside via doorways and windows instead of crevices, holes or cracks.

In case pesticides or bug repellents prove futile, use the service of your local exterminator to determine the best course of plan in dealing with infestation.

2.5 Australian Cockroach

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Picture: Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)

Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) is a species that originates from The Land of Aborigins but now can be found all over the world. This species moves fast while flying. The range of infestation includes homes, outdoor spots or habitats, decks and ports.

Bearing a resemblance to American cockroach, Australian cockroach has brownish-red body and is typically grow to 1 1/4 inch long. The area near their thorax is yellow, as well as the side of their wings. Due to their small size, they can fit into narrow spots like holes, crevices and cracks in a home.

Australian cockroaches breed in a fast succession. Females can produce 16 to 24 eggs within an egg case called ootheca, and this ootheca can be renewed every 10 days. Their nest are hidden and disguised in secluded locations close to food sources.

Australian cockroach is located in tropical climates that provides moist environment. When the weather turns harsh though, they can invade homes for food and shelter despite typically living outdoors.

As for their diet, this species prefers plants and decaying organic materials which make up natural food sources. Once they are indoors however, Australian cockroach will feed on human food—meat, fruits, bread, cereals—so make sure that your meals are properly contained!

Generally, flying cockroaches do not bite, although they’re capable of it. Though biting is almost non-existent, cockroaches that fly still pose dangerous threat as they can spread diseases when they infiltrate homes. It is possible for flying cockroaches to bite calloused skin, eyelashes, and fingernails. This only happens when cockroaches are depleted of other sources of food. The bite will not feel painful, yet it will redden the bitten area for a few days.

3. What Things Appeal to Flying Cockroaches?

The smell of food is a surefire giveaway that can attract cockroaches. They may attempt to creep inside to feed on your food. As they are indiscriminating feeders, they will latch on to anything they can find. Fermented food, leftovers, trite meals are among their favorites. Therefore, keeping your kitchen, sink and dishes clean is mandatory.

Cockroaches usually will fly to lower areas when they are in extreme heat. They fly to escape the rising temperature and to find someplace cooler as they can expend more energy dealing with heat. Flying cockroaches may be seen clearly when they need to escape somewhere immediately. They will descend from higher area and glide down using their wings to prevent falling. Once they’re safe from danger, they will resume crawling.

Countertops and windows are among the most common spots where cockroaches land. They can infiltrate through crevices, cracks, or holes in your doors or windowsills. They tend to hide in cluttered boxes, bags, or abandoned storage where daily human contact is minimum. Since most cockroaches are nocturnal, they will often get past human’s radar at night, flying unnoticed in the darkness. Their tendency to fly indoors is heightened by bright electric lights or devices that exude illumination.

As much as they are attracted to light, heat and moisture also draw cockroaches in. Cockroaches are cold-blooded and they move more as the temperature increases. When it gets warmer, spotting flying cockroaches are easier, notably if they have been living inside your home.

4. When Do Flying Cockroaches Hit Their Peak?

Summer months mark the eminent appearance of cockroaches that fly. This also applies to cockroaches that don’t frequently use their wings to fly. In general, flying is more appealing to cockroaches when the outdoor is warmer.

5. How Do You Dispose Flying Cockroaches?

Sometimes, professional pest removal is required in case where the infestation becomes too severe to handle. However, preventive actions can help homeowners to avoid this last resort. Flying cockroaches will not fester if homeowners recognize the early signs of infestation and which types of cockroaches which potentially roam around their households.

Spotting cockroaches inside your home can be unpleasant business. Although, it’s a lot better than doing nothing and simply letting them breed. Maintaining hygiene of your residence is number one rule to prevent cockroach infestation.

Once diseases and bacteria are freely transported inside your home, it’s only a matter of time until you suffer the consequences. Cockroaches go into hiding during the day, sustained by decaying organic substance or food crumbs. Cockroach droppings and skin scraps can trigger asthma and cause allergies. Home residents can also be exposed to food poisoning and dysentery.

If the infestation has already occurred, you have options to use baits, sprays, repellents, pesticides and traps. The goal of removal is creating a disinfected and clean environment to discourage cockroaches from returning to the same old spots.

5.1 Locate Where Cockroaches Hide

Locating their hideouts allow you to concentrate cleaning process on those spots.

5.2 Spray / Lather Insecticide around Windows and Doors

Homeowners can purchase insecticide like boric acid then apply it around window panes and door hinges. You can also apply it around potentially damp areas, such as foyer (especially during rainy season) and kitchen sink.

5.3 Create Repellent Condition for Cockroaches

As it goes with applying insecticide, keeping your homes clean and dry also prevent cockroaches from making unwanted appearance.

5.4 Protect Your Food Accordingly

Instead leaving food opened and unattended, store food into air-tight containers or refrigerator. Any remains, spills or crumbs should be removed immediately. Table tops, countertops, and other surfaces must be cleaned every day. Sweeping, moping, and vacuuming can also help.

6. Final Thoughts

Just like any other species, cockroach has its own methods to survive, with flying being one of them. Only some of this winged species can use their wings to fly, and even so they normally don’t fly well and far. These cockroaches fly to get around or to escape—either from humans who want to exterminate them or predators that want to crush them.

Keep this mind: when a cockroach takes off and flies straight towards you, it’s out of fear and instinct to survive. Flying cockroaches usually can’t control their movements well, so they can just land practically everywhere. However, if you’re in the vicinity of bright lights or food with strong smell, they might try to fly right at you.

Overall, the skill of flying cockroaches is also determined by their life phase, and oftentimes gender. Young cockroaches usually can’t fly at all because their wings have yet to fully develop. Females of some species are unable to fly too.

7. Reference