Can Cockroaches Fly?

It’s no secret that most homeowners hate cockroaches. Surprisingly, an even larger percentage of the people report that they’d fear meeting flying roaches. So, in this post, I’ll be answering this question: Can Cockroaches Fly?

Can Cockroaches Fly

SummaryGenerally, roaches are not good flyers. But, their flying capability varies with individual roach species and its gender. Most of the roach species have wings but not all of them can fly. Notably, most of the roaches will mainly use the wings in stabilizing themselves while crawling or making simple jumps – please don’t confuse this with flying.

Side note: of the 4000 roach species, just about 40 of them are classified as pests. Choose one of the top roach killers that’ll help you control most of the pests.

So, Which Roaches can Fly 

Cockroach Species Male Female
1. American Cockroach
2. Oriental Cockroach X X
3. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach X
4. Smokybrown Cockroach
5.Madagascar Hissing Cockroach X X
5.Asian cockroach

Flight Capability of Different Roach Species

1. American Cockroach (Can Fly – Glide)

Color: Mahogany or reddish brown. However, it has a yellow band at the back of its head. Wings and Length: Adult roaches are about 3 inches (50 mm) or longer. Male American roaches are longer compared to their female counterparts – with the wings extending 4-8 mm from the pests’ abdomen. 

American cockroaches are the most popular roaches in American commercial properties, apartments, and homes. Notably, they are large in size and both males and females have wings that they use for gliding. Therefore, their flying can be classified as flying through gliding poor jumping from high elevations to lower locations. 

However, the baby American roaches don’t have developed wings but they come in the adult stage of this pest. Also, check our Best Roach Bomb to control different roaches, including the  American cockroaches. 

2.  Oriental Cockroach (Non-Flying Roaches)

Color: Oriental Cockroaches are popularly known as black beetles or water bugs and its shiny black (glossy-black or dark-brown) in color. Wings and Length: Both male and females of this Oriental Cockroaches have wings but they don’t use them to fly. The males are about 1 inch long while the females are 1.25 inches long.

Notably, female oriental cockroaches have undeveloped wings while their male counterparts have relatively short wings. To control, most of these cockroaches check one of these 5 Pet Safe Roach Killers.

3. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach  (Only males can fly)

For Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach, it’s evident that just the male roaches have the capability to fly. Notably, it very easy to physically confuse the American cockroach with these Pennsylvania wood cockroaches.

The wings of the female Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach are underdeveloped and thus won’t fly. However, the male Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach has poorly developed wings and hence will only fly for short distances. Further, this roach species tend to be attracted to different sources of light such as light bulbs and hence tend to fly in that direction.

4. Smokybrown Cockroach (Males and females are flyers) 

Color: Smokybrown Cockroach has shiny brown-blackish cover. Wings and Length: The adult roaches are about 1.25 inches. Smokybrown Cockroach has wings extending over its body and is known to be great flyers. Despite that these roaches mainly jump from upper to lower spots, these pests show great stability when airborne.

They love chimneys and flat rooftops – which is how they can enter your home. Other facts on this roach are that it is nocturnal and hence you’ll find it running up and down during the evening hours. Further, these cockroaches have a large body. Further, you’ll most likely find these roaches in dark areas or on leaf litter in your homestead, wooded places or areas that have high humidity. Thus they love tree holes and feed on decaying plants.

5. Madagascar Hissing Roach (Flightless) 

Color: Madagascar Hissing Roach is colored brown. Wings and Length: This is one of the largest roaches measuring about 2-3 inches. 

Madagascar Hissing roaches (originating off Madagascar – the Gromphadorhina portentosa) have no wings and thus won’t fly like other cockroaches discussed above. But why hissing in its name? Well, this roach produces a hissing sound that’s mainly helpful in scaring off any of its predictors.

At 80 degrees, Some Roaches become frequent flyers

Surprisingly, some roaches fly while trying to hide from the sweltering heat. So besides just crawling up the house drains, roaches might fly to get into your home. The most common household roaches (the American cockroaches) do not generally fly and thus don’t regularly use their wings.

Further, cold temperatures such as during winter and what you find down drains and sewers prevent them from using their flight muscles. However, if the temperature rises to about 80 degrees and above (like with the summer weather), the American roaches will definitely become regular fliers. Also, the hot weather tends to increases the roaches’ metabolism and their reproduction capacity, which will lead to even higher roach population.


Different roach species have a varied flying ability. However, roaches are not good flyers. As noted above American Coackroaches (both males and females) are good flyers.

However, other roach species may use their wings to glide or jump from higher to lower areas. 

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