Can cockroaches fly?

Cockroaches can fly … in their minds, at least. Roach flights are innate behaviors that appear from time to time when the conditions are just right. Cockroaches take flight for a variety of reasons, and it’s not always fear of humans. Roach flights occur for a number of reasons — such as mating season, plentiful food supply, or a reduction in available hiding spaces. They’re generally triggered by something the roach senses with its antennae or another external trigger. There are many different varieties of cockroaches on this earth — some that can fly and others that can’t. This article will explain why roaches take flight, how they do it, and if they can actually fly or if they just glide to save energy while running fast.

What triggers a cockroach flight?

Thanks to a variety of studies done on roach behavior, we know that several different factors can trigger a roach flight. Roaches prefer to be in dark and secluded spaces, so human lights and noises (especially sudden ones) will often cause them to take flight. Strong scents, particularly those of such spices as pepper and nutmeg, can also cause a roach flight. Roaches also prefer high temperatures and humid environments, so cold weather and especially long, dry spells can bring them out of hiding. A heavy rainstorm can cause roaches to fly, as can a reduction in available hiding spaces, such as a sudden reduction in available food sources. Roach flights also happen when roaches enter the mating season, particularly in tropical climates.

How do cockroaches fly?

Cockroaches take flight by flapping their wings and running fast, often going up the walls, across the ceiling, and even out the window. They don’t use their legs to jump, and they don’t have to flap their wings the entire time they’re in the air, either. Roaches can fly for surprisingly long periods of time if food, shelter, and hiding spaces are all nearby. They can also glide from a high place and then walk back to their homes. Since roaches are also capable of swimming, a few scientists have suggested that certain species of roaches might be able to fly from island to island via the ocean.

Can roaches fly for long periods of time?

Yes. Roaches are capable of flying for long periods of time if necessary. A single roach can fly for 12 minutes, and a group of them can fly for hours. The longest recorded roach flight was more than 90 hours, and the roaches were only brought back down by a rainstorm. When roaches take flight, they’re expending a great deal of energy and will often look for food to regain that energy. If a roach flight is prolonged and food isn’t available, the roaches will die. This is why cockroach flights sometimes last a few days, while others last only a few minutes.

Will roaches take flight when they’re scared?

It’s possible, but researchers believe it’s rare for roaches to take flight just because they’re scared. Roaches don’t actively try to scare other roaches or humans, and they typically fly to escape from light, scents, and other external triggers. Humans can, however, inadvertently cause roaches to take flight simply by moving around. Roaches are remarkably quick on their feet, but they can’t outrun a human simply walking around a room. In fact, the only way to catch a roach is by setting a trap — such as a roach trap — and waiting for it to spring.

Are there any benefits to a roach flight?

Roach flights are primarily a survival mechanism, but they do also serve a few other purposes. Roaches mate during the warmer months, and when the weather is chilly, the roaches will go into hiding. Roach flights help bring the roaches back out on the warmest nights so mating can happen. When roaches take flight, they’re also looking for new hiding spaces, so even though they’re a nuisance, they often end up going someplace they weren’t before.


Cockroaches are an incredibly resilient species, capable of thriving in almost any environment. One of the ways they can survive is by taking flight, in which they use their wings to glide or flap for long periods of time. These insects are adaptive and can be found almost anywhere in the world. Cockroaches are nocturnal and typically come out at night when it’s cooler outside. During the day, they are often found hiding in warm, dark places like inside walls or under furniture. While they may be gross and seem like they’re out to get us, they’re actually helpful in breaking down decaying matter and turning it into soil. These bugs are also an important food source for many animals and help scientists study how ecosystems work.