Can Smokybrown Cockroaches Fly?

Habitat

In many of the Gulf Coast states and the coastal region of the Carolinas, smokybrown cockroaches are one of the most prevalent indoor and outdoor (peridomestic) cockroaches.  Outdoors, they like to live under and in leaf litter, under mulch and woodpiles, plus in tree holes.  Sometimes these roaches move inside homes or other structures to forage for food or find a better habitat than what they experience outside. They may go inside by either flying or else squeezing through cracks, gaps, holes or open doors and windows that provide an entrance to the inside of a house. Also, smokybrown adults are often seen flying to sources of light at night.

Do Smokybrown Cockroaches Fly?

While adult smokybrown cockroaches can fly, nymphs (babies) cannot since there are no functional wings on them. Wings that are capable of fight develop after the nymph has molted (developed) into a mature adult. Since their natural habitat is susceptible to temperature and humidity changes, they may also be inclined to fly to other locations as they seek out more preferable food sources and a more humid, favorable habitat. Both males and females fly.

How Do Smokybrown Roaches Fly?

Smokybrown cockroaches have two pairs of wings that fold flat over their body when not using them in flight. The wings attached to the insect’s thorax and forewings are hardened and tough, while the hind wings are membranous, flimsy and delicate. The actual act of flying involves both pairs of wings, but the typical waving or “flapping action associated with flight is done by the hind wings, while the front pair of wings are simply raised and held out over the body.

Smokybrown cockroaches fly solo and do not form reproductive swarms or mate in swarms, as do termites or mosquitoes. However, other cockroach species such as the wood roach males may seem to swarm since they are so strongly attracted to lights or to potential female mates.

Regarding the need to fly, many cockroach species, especially the domestic cockroach groups, have wings, but their principle method of mobility in order to locate food, protection, suitable habitats and mates is by crawling and running, not flying.