Are cockroaches fast?

Table of Contents

Roaches are famous for many notorious reasons. They are filthy, smelly, and not the kind of creature you want to see at the kitchen counter. They are also vectors to horrible diseases such as salmonella, which is known to cause asthmatic reactions.

The most annoying part is that these insects are very elusive. The minute you see them and try to grab a weapon that can kill them, within the blink of an eye, they scatter and are nowhere to be found. They are experts at navigating through darks and entering into thin cracks on the wall or other objects.

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Are cockroaches fast
Are cockroaches fast

Are Cockroaches fast or slow?

You have probably encountered one, and maybe that is why you are reading this article right now. They are not only fast, but happen to be one of the fastest creeping insects in the world. A tiny cockroach (Nymph) is almost as good at running as an adult one. 

They are so fast that cockroaches are considered one of the fastest insects on the planet. With a keen interest in living things, scientists were forced to study how fast they were. So they first tested the cockroach’s “takeoff speed,” that is, the time it takes to move from resting position.

Even the fastest people can only start up at about 110 milliseconds (about 1/10 second). 

However, during the experiment, the scientists discovered that the cockroaches went much faster than the fastest human. Their startup speed turned out to be 8.2 ms. In short, this speed is faster than the pace it takes you to blink your eye. 

At their top speed, they are swift and can cover a length that is 50 times the size of their bodies in 1 second. A fair comparison would mean that if they were as big as humans in size, their speed would be 200 mph. That would make them faster than the fastest land animal (cheetah). 

Below is a table showing the speed of other common insects around us and how they compare with that of the cockroach. (Note that the average speed of an American cockroach is about 4mph)

Name of Insect SpeedCompared to American Species Cockroach
Termite 89.7-132.4km/hr (flying) They are faster than roaches
Bedbug 0.073km/hrCockroaches are faster than bedbugs
Housefly 7km/hrHousefly are faster than cockroaches
Dragonfly 36-54km/hrDragonfly are faster than cockroaches 
Spider 1.17mphCockroaches are faster than spider
Mite 0.5mphCockroaches are by far faster than mites
Ladybird 24km/hrLadybirds are faster than cockroaches. 
House centipede 1.3ft/secondsCockroaches are faster than house centipede
Tiger bettle (fastest 6 legged insect) 5.6mphTiger beetles are faster than cockroaches 
(They are the fastest 6 legged insects) 
Soldier ant2 inch per secondsCockroaches are faster

As can be seen from the list above, it is clear that cockroaches run faster than most of the other insects we see around us daily. 

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How come they run so fast?  

A careful observation of their morphological makeup will provide the answer to this mystery. The secret lies in their feet. Their six legs have three knees each; this means that they have a total of 18 knees. With so many joints, their movements are very accurate, and there is little wasted movement to slow them down. As they speed up, they can stand on their hind legs and loose run like a human, albeit at a faster rate. 

It is these feet that help them react so quickly. In addition to this, each of their legs has small hairs that are very sensitive and allows them to detect slight movements in the air. When you step into the room, they can smell the perspective to know if you are coming towards their direction.

These legs also perform another vital function. A hook-shaped structure can be folded, which helps them quickly go under the shelf or climbed under a table at a swift speed. Scientists studying these particular stunts have found that the actions occur so fast that the camera needs to slow down to a plodding pace to catch up with them all. When it comes to speed, the average household cockroach doesn’t seem to be that slow after all!

Why are They so Elusive

You might be wondering how it is so easy for a roach to escape from your attack. An American cockroach is so swift that it can travel more than three miles an hour. 

While it doesn’t sound fast, it represents 50 cockroach body lengths per second.  

In comparison to a cheetah, the fastest animal on land, which can only cover 18 of its body lengths per second in its fastest race, the American cockroach is comparatively quicker than a cheetah.  

Adding this advantage of speed to the unique ability that some cockroaches have to use their hind legs as claws to make a 180-degree turn allows them to quickly switch from crawling on a surface to crawling underneath, which is why they are very elusive. 

Can Cockroaches Fly?

If you think a crawling cockroach is annoying enough, what would you say about a flying cockroach? Have you ever experienced a scenario of a Cockroach flying towards you? How did you feel about it? A scary experience, I must say. 

You probably didn’t think about it or weren’t sure if these crawling cockroaches were also able to fly. Providing an accurate answer to the question can seem a bit tricky-do cockroaches fly? 

-Yes! However, there are only a few species of cockroaches that have wings.

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Do Cockroaches Fly?

A concise answer to this question is Yes. Most cockroaches have wings, and many can fly, but most do not and prefer to crawl on the ground, searching for food. The real question is probably: can cockroaches fly? Yes, they can, but rarely do.

There are also species of cockroaches that fly in the United States.

Flying cockroaches are no more dangerous than other cockroaches; they simply show that they can get away from danger by flying to places that new reptiles cannot reach. Some cockroaches don’t have wings at all. One such species is the hissing cockroach of Madagascar, which, of course, cannot fly even if it tries.

Why do Cockroaches fly?

Cockroaches will fly if they think there is a danger lurking around the corner. They will fly to a distance and then complete the race with their legs. If they are at a high point and have to go down, they can use their wings as a glider; they can use their wings to fall more quickly than they lose. In North America, you will probably see cockroaches running around the world and not flying regularly.

What Attracts Flying Cockroaches?

Things that attract cockroaches vary from species to species, but they generally seek food, water, and heat. Food is the main attraction because cockroaches need it to survive. Debris and spills should be cleaned and sealed thoroughly to prevent food from spreading.  

Cockroaches do possess a high affinity to forget food in the trash can, and because the environment is warm and dark, they will find their way there. Try to make sure that your trash cans are securely closed. Some types of cockroaches are also exposed to light because when you turn the key, you feel them flying in your face. Others block the morning and will run away when the light is on.

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Do all Cockroaches fly?

Did you know not all cockroaches are a pest to humans? Today, there are about 4000 species of cockroaches that have been discovered by scientists, out of which only about 1% (30) are considered pests. In other words, the species of cockroach you are familiar with and their behavior do not fully represent what the cockroach family stands for. 

Do You know Some Produce Milk? 

I suspect you haven’t heard the word cockroach and milk yet in the same sentence, except probably when the cockroach enters your milk. Many people did not understand that cockroaches are milky.

Most of the 4,000 species of cockroaches lay eggs, but some produce live cockroaches that survive in breast milk. This is the case with the Cockroach Beetle, which feeds its young on milk. In addition to being high in protein, calm beetle milk also contains small crystals that contain vitamins, minerals, sugars, fats, and nutrients. Scientists consider this cockroach a superfood because no other type of milk is as nutritious as cockroaches. Some cockroaches even produce milk, and the milk obtained from it is considered a superfood by scientists.

Cockroach milk is at least three times more nutritious than buffalo milk. It has been proven to contain three times more nutrients, fat, and protein. Before you rush off to your local Walmart and ask for healthy cockroach milk, keep in mind that it is still not mass-produced. The problem with cockroach milk is that there are fewer Pacific beetles from which cockroach milk comes. Growing and collecting large amounts of milk will also be very difficult and expensive, as it will be more expensive than gold.

Flying Cockroaches

Some cockroaches can slide from place to place and hover around in the air only for a short time. They are definitely not as good at flying as they are at running, but those wings can give them some extra evasive power sometimes.  

There are many species of cockroaches that possess the ability to fly, even though most known species of cockroaches can only crawl. Most of the flying species are not common in North America.  

American cockroaches: 

These cockroach species are the most common. They are shiny and reddish-brown in appearance. American cockroaches feed and live outdoors, but when the external conditions become too difficult for them, they relocate to live with humans in their homes. They have been migrating to North America since as far back as the 1600s. They are long and narrow and has wings that allow it to fly, although this is very rare. This cockroach is often confused with the palmetto bug.

Oriental cockroach:

People also refer to the Oriental cockroach as waterbugs. It is also another large cockroach species. They are dark brown or black. Both males and females are slightly different. The females do not have wings like the males, so they cannot fly. 

Australian cockroaches:

This species of cockroaches are easily confused with the American cockroaches, but Australian cockroaches are much smaller in size than American cockroaches. They are black with yellow stripes near the wings. This is their peculiar defining feature. Furthermore, they are mighty flying cockroaches. As you can well guess by their name, they originated from Australia and have migrated to other parts of the world through trades and transportation of humans. Sometimes they stay in the United States, especially where goods and products are stored in large quantities. They love the hot and humid parts of the country and can be more than an inch long.

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Smoky Brown cockroach:

This is another large species that resembles the American cockroach, but is slightly distinguished by its uniform dark brown mahogany color. They are found indoors only when they need food, warmth, and the opportunity to survive. 

However, it can only be seen outdoors on hot days.

Asian cockroach:

Another cockroach that sometimes grows in the Northern parts of the USA. They are exposed to light instead of escaping from the light, i.e., they are not nocturnal like the other species of cockroaches that you know.. This means, unlike most species, they do not occur indoors and are strong gloves. 

They also like to feed on insects that can damage the product.

Cuban cockroach:

Their green colors usually distinguish these cockroaches. They are found in some areas around Central America, and sometimes as far north as the southwest of the United States. They are very slender and have wings that allow them to fly relatively short distances.


This is the largest of all the flying cockroaches, occurring mostly in Central and South America. The length of their wings can be an adequate length of 7 centimeters, and the size of the body up to 4 centimeters.

Pennsylvania Woods Cockroaches:

Just like the Cuban cockroaches, these types of cockroaches prefer light than darkness, i.,e. they are not nocturnal. Therefore, unlike the other famous cockroaches, these insects prefer to be outdoors during the day. Both males and females type of this species have very open wings, but sometimes only males fly. Females are about an inch long and slightly smaller than males.

Can Baby Cockroaches fly?

Now you are aware that baby cockroaches have some fantastic ability similar to that of the full-grown ones. For example, they can run almost as fast as an adult cockroach, but do they also fly like them? The answer is NO! They don’t. Baby cockroaches are smaller than adults. Nymphs are like their parent, although they have the same physical appearance but different sizes. The nymph has not yet fully grown or developed its wings, and therefore they cannot fly. 

Do Cockroaches Have Wings?

In answer to this question, we suggest that you consider the joint cockroach anatomy shared between species. There are several types of cockroaches around the world, but they share some of the same characteristics. These include:






Front legs:


Hind legs:


Rib cage:




Wings-2 pairs:

The cockroach’s wings are folded over the abdomen, on the back, and the first few people act as shields, protecting the body and hind wings.

Wingless cockroach species

Some cockroach species generally do not have wings and cannot fly even if they try. 

Most cockroach nymphs are wingless among different species and cannot fly until they have developed wings in their lifetime. The squeaking cockroach of Madagascar does not have wings even in adulthood, and the Eastern female cockroach has only underdeveloped wing blocks. Neither can fly.

Even if the cockroach has wings, it is not a healthy litter, and many prefer to crawl.

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Why do cockroaches not fly regularly?

The problem may simply be related to physics. Most species of cockroaches have a large body weight compared to the size of the wings. This means they are not easy to fly, difficult to maneuver, and generally cannot fly very long distances. All of this helps a cockroach that prefers to crawl to its destination rather than fly somewhere. 

How do cockroaches fly?

Now, why do you think these bored reptiles fly?

The cockroach is designed with two thick, thick, and thin wings. However, only one of these wings is used to reach flight.

The thick wings are on the front and act as a shield or protective cast. It has the same color as the body and is not easily visible to the naked eye because it always stands behind it when not in use.

The thin, transparent membrane wing is under the wings of thought. These are the wings that fly cockroaches.

For the roach to reach flight, the thick wings must be lifted by a flying cockroach, while the thin wings must be left open and bare. Thick wings remain put, while the thin wings are used to move through the air.

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Why do some never fly?

After reading how cockroaches fly, he wonders why other cockroaches don’t fly like that. Most flying cockroaches do this openly with the ability to slide from one point to another. Although rare, unlike birds or other flying insects. Flying cockroaches do this because they are more efficient and time-saving than crawling.

There are places where it is difficult to lie while flying. The cockroach can use only one set of wings to move in the air. 

Imagine a large cockroach trying to fly with a thin, membrane-like wing; you can see that it will be difficult. The cockroach has six strong legs and crawls instead of facing several slender wings. 

The legs are strong and carry them up to 50 body lengths per second. A cockroach flies? The next time you hear that you probably have to answer in the best way, yes or no? I think this is more than a simple answer.

Now that you have learned about the swiftness of a cockroach, how a baby cockroach can run faster than the fastest racehorse if they were of the same size, the next time you kill one, check out their 18 knees so that you can better under their build-up. Besides, you have also seen that the cockroach you know of only constitute about 1% of the entire 4000 different species that exist on the planet. You also understand that some can produce milk and other fascinating things about this creature. Finally, you have also learned that they do possess the ability to fly, albeit only a few of them and predominantly the male of these given species. The baby roaches cannot fly because their wings are not yet developed. 

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Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.