Be Thankful Our Kitchen Cockroaches Don’t Fly!

By Chris Williams on September 15, 2016.

We’re lucky here in the Northeast when it comes to cockroaches. Ours don’t fly…at least hardly ever. In warmer, southern parts of the U.S., larger cockroaches of more tropical origin are common. In Florida, the quite large (1-1/2 to 2 inches long) American cockroach (they call it the “palmetto bug”) can be seen climbing walls and gliding from one perch to another. In southern and coastal regions, this cockroach spends most of its time outdoors but with the open air lifestyle of lanais, and backyard pools, and deck parties, it easily finds its way inside.

And this isn’t the only large, flying cockroach in the south. They also have to deal with the Australian cockroach, the brown cockroach, the smokybrown cockroach, and the Cuban cockroach—and these are just the ones that fly. Why do they fly? Could be to find food, or mates, or to escape predators, or just because they can.

Is It Too Cold Here for Flying Roaches?

Cockroaches, in general, become more active in warmer environments and slow down when the temperature cools. The same cockroaches that fly readily in Florida would be less likely to do so in more northern regions (see Can Cockroaches Fly?). That’s good news for us because we actually do have American cockroaches here in Massachusetts and New Hampshire although they are rarely seen in homes.

In northern regions, the tropical American cockroach can’t survive winters without some kind of protection so it is the primary insect occupant of the sewer system where temperatures remain comfortable year-round. It can also be found in building steam tunnels or boiler rooms, or in lower, damper levels of commercial operations like bakeries, restaurants, or food plants (see American Cockroaches Can Move Indoors in Fall). We also have wood cockroaches and the males fly, but these are strictly outdoor cockroaches that sometimes get inside accidentally.

Thank Goodness for the German Cockroach!

Our main indoor or domestic cockroach, the German cockroach, has adapted to live entirely in our homes so it doesn’t have to pay much attention to changes in temperature or worry about where to spend the winter (see Why Cockroaches Are Year-Round Pests). It’s also a nice, acceptable size, only ½ inch long. Yes, it does have wings but thankfully, it doesn’t fly. It doesn’t need to, and we can live with that.

So, are you rethinking your Florida retirement plans? Then consider this, global warming is likely to mean even more air time for flying cockroaches everywhere.

Photo Credit : By Gary Alpert, CC BY 2.5, wikipedia



We’re not satisfied until you are. Learn More