Why Cockroaches Fly Towards You

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2023 | Roaches

The fact that cockroaches can dare fly towards you is terrifying. Well, that is usually their intention.

To scare the hell out of you so that they can make a run for their lives. It is biology that we get shocked when we are surprised, and cockroaches have learnt to take advantage of this phenomenon.

Why Cockroaches Fly Towards You?

So if you have been asking yourself why cockroaches fly towards you, this article explains the exact reasons. Over the past years, cockroaches have evolved, and they keep evolving as time passes.

Their defence mechanisms advance with every generation.  It would therefore be correct to say that they get smarter with the years.

The first thing most people do when they see a cockroach is startling. They would jump off their seats or scream, running away from the roaches.

What you probably don’t know is that these creatures have lived with humankind for millions of years, and they somehow know how we would react the moment we set eyes on them.

Another reason why roaches fly towards you is that they are attracted to the light around you. If you are studying under a lamp, the light hits your face and reflects an eclipse like light which attracts insects.

Well, that is according to one Dr Coby Schal. However, several studies tend to side with the self-defence theory.

Where Do The Flying Cockroaches Come From?

There are over 4500 species of cockroaches worldwide. It is practically hard to place where all these species come from. There are some very common flying cockroaches like the ones we see in our houses. Most of them are outdoor inhabitants but somehow find themselves indoor.

A typical example is an American roach mainly found along the Australian coast. In most cases, you will find it in drains and sewer lines. The only kind of flying cockroach that inhabits households is the Brown Banded cockroach. You will find it in dry areas of the house, such as cupboards and corners.

The Brown Banded roach is one of the largest of the flying species. The smallest can measure 12mm, while the largest goes all the way to 55mm. A common similarity of these roaches is that they are found mainly in coastal areas. The only specie that flies and not found at the coast is the Australian roach.

Related reading: What does it mean when roaches follow you?

Why Don’t All Cockroaches Fly?

Not all species of cockroaches can fly. In fact, of all the flying cockroaches, it is only the males that can fly. The main reason seems to be their physic. When compared to other flying insects, roaches are characteristically large.

The body size and structure of their wings do not support flying. Even the kind that can fly usually don’t stay in the air for a long time. The American roach, for instance, uses its wings specifically for a smooth landing when flying from high surfaces.

Other species such as the Madagascar hissing cockroach do not have wings; hence their only way of locomotion is crawling from one place to another. All these scenarios seem to add up to physic as the limiting factor to flying.

Which Wings of Cockroaches Contribute to Flying?

A cockroach has four pairs of wings, one at the front and the other at the back. These wings are attached to a set of muscles situated at the thorax. The front wings are called the protective wings. Their primary purpose is to protect the roach since they are tough.  The back set of wings are usually lighter and are responsible for helping the roach in flying.

The back pair is thin and has membranes with veins. The fact that they are light makes it easy for the roach to take short flights. For them to fly, they raise their front wings, which in turn exposes the back wings. They remain in this position when flying until the moment they land.

Related reading: How to Not Be Scared of Cockroaches

Related reading: Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?

Why Cockroaches fly

There are several reasons why cockroaches fly. The most common reason is that they have sensed danger, and they feel they should take off as fast as possible. Predators such as house lizards are always looking for their next meal. When roaches spot such danger, they usually take off very fast.

They also fly towards light. At times when driving at night, you will notice that they fly towards your car. This situation happens because they are attracted to the light emitted by the lamps. It is also a common phenomenon when you turn on the lights in your house.

Another reason why cockroaches fly is that they are looking for feeding grounds. These insects mainly feed on food leftovers except for outdoor roaches that prefer rotting logs and leaves. In the jungle, it is always a case of survival for the fittest. The faster you are, the better for you.

Related reading: Why Are Flies Attracted to Me?


Is it bad if a cockroach touches you?

It is possible to catch a disease from touching a cockroach or touching a surface contaminated by cockroaches. If you proceed to touch your nose, eyes or mouth, the infection finds a gateway into your body. Therefore, it is advisable that if you suspect you were in contact with a roach, wash your hands with water and soap.

What are cockroaches afraid of?

Cockroaches are afraid of many things, but citrus seems to put them off totally. Humans may be attracted to the smell of citrus, but that is not the case with roaches.

Are flying cockroaches dangerous?

The way roaches fly towards you might scare you to think maybe they are dangerous. That is not the case because they don’t bite. What you need to do is wash the place where the roach came into contact so that you don’t pick an infection.

Can regular cockroaches fly?

Not all cockroaches fly. Of the flying species, only the male ones can fly. So the flying nature of a roach depends on its specie and gender.

Related reading: Flying Roaches

Bottom line

Cockroaches are a nuisance, and the fact that some of them can fly is terrifying. The main reason why a roach would fly towards you is that they are scared, and they want to scare you first before you make your move.

It is a defence mechanism they have adapted over the years. Attraction to light is another reason these creatures might fly towards you.

It is, however, strange that of the flying roaches, only the male can fly. Other species cannot fly because of the physicality and structure of their bodies.

They are large, with some measuring 55 mm, making it quite impossible for them to fly. Others either have what appears to be underdeveloped wings while others no wings at all.


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The back wings, which appear to be lighter and transparent, are responsible for helping the roach fly.

Related reading: How to stop cockroaches from coming up the shower drain

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