A cockroach is not necessarily a scary insect but it is a disconcerting one. Not only are they fast they have wings which can propel them to a decent distance when needed. Species like the American cockroach and the German cockroach can use their wings to glide rather than flying. But the Asian, smoky brown, and wood cockroaches are capable fliers.
Anatomy of a flying cockroach
Just like their gliding cousins the flying cockroach has three body segment: the head, thorax and abdomen. This means that although the sizes of the roaches can be different there is little to no variation in their anatomy. They have a long pair of antennae to help them discern smells and pick up vibrations in their surroundings. They do have compound eyes but remarkably poor vision which is why they prefer nocturnal activities. Cockroaches are actually quite sensitive to light which is why they will dash for the nearest cover when you switch on the lights.
On the thorax they have three pairs of legs which have spike to help them cling on to surfaces. It is also on the thorax that you will find their wings. The abdomen has cerci, which are two protrusions that work like rear end antennae. They enable the roach to sense vibrations from behind even without looking and they prompt the hind legs to start moving.
Why they fly
Because cockroaches are nocturnal you may not realize the extent of the infestation until your see them during the day. They will typically fly to get away from danger and to reach food. If you have placed food unopened in the pantry don’t be surprised to see the roaches fly to get to the food. They also fly into the house. Since most people don’t expect to encounter a flying cockroach they can fly in undetected. Their flat bodies make it possible to take to flight and glide through the air before disappearing into a crevice or crack.
Typically the male wings are longer than the wings on a female cockroach. But their ability is similar although the male can get further away during flight compared to the female. Did you know that when the temperatures rise you are more likely to see a cockroach fly? Their optimum survival temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperatures rise the heat causes them to seek out places to hide quickly hence the flying around.
Contrary to popular belief that flying cockroaches are attracted to light they are typically nocturnal insects with no love for light.