Cockroaches are something every homeowner dreads seeing in their home. More common in warmer areas, these pests can quickly infest a home. Some of the cockroaches can fly, though they don’t quite soar through the skies like a bird might. But are flying cockroaches actually dangerous?
Flying cockroaches generally do not bite, though they can, but they are still dangerous. Most of the danger comes from the spread of diseases when they infest a home.
Homeowners who notice a flying cockroach inside their home will want to take prompt action to have the chance of an infestation minimized. Though they don’t usually bite, they can still cause other problems for the homeowner. Professional pest removal can get rid of the flying cockroaches before they procreate and start to fill the hidden areas inside the home.
Do Flying Cockroaches Sting or Bite?
While bites from flying cockroaches are rare, they are possible. There are limited reported cases of cockroaches biting at fingernails, eyelashes, and calloused skin. Most reports on cockroach bites have been because of American or Australian cockroaches. Even though they can bite and there are some reports of bites, most cockroaches are not a threat to humans.
Biting only occurs when they do not have another easily accessible source of food and the infestation has gotten to the point where they cannot find other food to eat. In general, if a cockroach does bite, the bite will be no worse than other pests that bite. It may hurt for a few seconds, then will become red. After a few days, it disappears.
What Makes the Flying Cockroach Dangerous?
If flying cockroaches generally do not bite, then what makes them dangerous? The real danger of having flying cockroaches inside a home is that they can carry pathogens that spread diseases. They can pick up bacteria for diseases like Salmonella when they’re walking around and later deposit them on foods, causing food poisoning. No outbreaks have been directly caused by cockroaches, but they are known and suspected carriers of the pathogens that can cause diseases like dysentery, leprosy, the plague, typhoid fever and more. The diseases need to be present in the area for the cockroach to become a carrier, but once they’re a carrier, they can transmit the diseases around the area they live in.
Can All Cockroaches Fly?
Most cockroaches do have wings, though not all of them do. Madagascar hissing cockroaches and female Oriental cockroaches do not have wings and are incapable of flying. Most other species do have wings and can fly but are not good at flying. Since they don’t use their wings very often, the muscles do not develop enough for them to fly.
A few species of cockroaches do fly, though they do not fly very high or very far. In fact, they mostly use their wings to glide down from higher spots to seek food and water. Baby cockroaches do not have developed wings and will not be able to fly at all until they are older if they are a species that does develop wings as they grow.
Why Do Some Cockroaches Fly?
In extreme heat, cockroaches will often fly to lower areas to escape the heat and find somewhere cooler because dealing with the heat uses more energy. Cockroaches thrive in temperatures between 75- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures go above 85 degrees, they’ll seek lower to the ground, more shaded areas which are cooler so they don’t have to work as hard to move or eat. This may mean they’ll fly for a short distance while they glide down to the lower areas where cooler temperatures are found.
They may fly to escape somewhere quickly, which is when most people will actually see them fly. Usually, they’ll only fly far enough to get away from the danger, then they’ll start to crawl again. If they are in a higher area, they’ll typically just use their wings to glide down to a lower area so they don’t fall. They will fly, however, if they feel like they need to in order to escape the situation they’re in.
What Are the Types of Flying Cockroaches?
There are a few different cockroach species that are able to fly. Some of them are strong fliers, while others only fly if they really need to because they can’t fly very well. The most common types of flying cockroaches include the following.
- American Cockroach – One of the most common types of cockroaches, the American cockroach is capable of flying. However, they rarely fly. Many people confuse them with palmetto bugs.
- Asian Cockroach – Sometimes seen in North America, they are not common indoors but are good at flying and may fly more often.
- Cuban Cockroach – Typically found in Central American and the southwestern US, these cockroaches are very thin and are capable of flying short distances.
- Pennsylvania Woods Cockroach – These cockroaches have wings, but the females do not fly at all. The males will fly sometimes, though they prefer crawling.
Where are Flying Cockroaches Typically Found?
Flying cockroaches are typically found in warmer areas as they are more active when the temperatures are around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the southern states, the cockroaches that do fly tend to fly more often because they need to travel further to find food to eat. In large cities, the cockroaches do not have to go as far to find more food, so they’re less likely to actually fly. Because they don’t really need to fly as often, they don’t have the same ability to fly. Their muscles don’t get the workout like the ones that fly more often, so it’s less common to see cockroaches actually fly in larger cities or where it’s colder.
What Attracts Flying Cockroaches?
Food is what attracts cockroaches to most homes. If they can smell food inside the home, they may try to get inside to see if there is easy access to the food. Cockroaches are opportunistic feeders, which means they’ll eat just about anything they can find. They especially like fermenting foods and will eat anything from leftover foods to the glue used to bind books. They have been observed to feed on the dead of their own species as well as anything from human foods left out to dead animals or plant materials. Homeowners will often find the majority of cockroaches in their home are located in the kitchen area, where the cockroaches can eat through boxes to get to the food inside.
When are Flying Cockroaches More Prominent?
It’s far more common to see cockroaches flying during the summer months. Cockroaches are cold-blooded, which means they get more active when the temperature rises. When the temperature gets warmer, it’s easier to spot the cockroaches living in the area, especially if they’ve started living inside a home. When the weather is hot enough, they may start flying to try to find a cooler place so they don’t spend too much energy because of the heat. Even the cockroaches that do not often use their wings may fly some when the weather is warmer outside.
How Can Homeowners Get Rid of Flying Cockroaches?
Getting rid of flying cockroaches is an immediate concern if they are spotted inside. Most of the time, if only one cockroach is seen, there are more hidden. When homeowners are waiting for the arrival of the pest control professional, there are a few things they can do.
- Find Where Cockroaches are Hiding – Finding where they might be hiding allows the professional to concentrate their work on those areas. While they’ll still cover the whole house, they’ll pay more attention to the areas where the flying cockroaches have been seen.
- Apply Insecticide Around Windows, Walls, and Outside – While it won’t completely get rid of cockroaches inside the home, homeowners can apply an insecticide like boric acid around the outer walls as well as outside the home. This will help kill some of the flying cockroaches before the professional arrives. See our favorite insecticides and recommended resources here.
- Make the Home Less Inviting – Caulking around windows and doors can make it harder for flying cockroaches to get inside. If there are any areas of the home that require repair, go ahead and repair them to eliminate potential entrances.
- Get Rid of Open Food – All food should go into the refrigerator or into airtight plastic containers. Any crumbs or spills should be wiped up immediately and counter-tops and other surfaces should be cleaned each day. Regular vacuuming can also help.
During the summer months, flying cockroaches can be seen just about anywhere, though they fly more frequently in warmer areas. Homeowners who spot these cockroaches in their home may not have to worry so much about bites, but they will want to make sure the cockroaches are removed quickly so they don’t spread diseases. If you’ve noticed an abundance near or inside your home, you may want to consider contacting a pest control professional to have them removed. Read out article “Do Pest Control Companies Really Work” for tips on picking the pest company in your area.