Screengrab via 20th Century Fox
Screengrab via 20th Century Fox

Flying roaches could be a nuisance in New York due to this sock-funk weather we’re currently experiencing.


Summer mugginess, it seems, provides adequate conditions for roaches to tuck in their hairy legs and take to the skies. “In hot steam tunnels, something with the temperature and the humidity encourages them to fly,” entomologist Ken Schumann tells DNAInfo. “When it’s warm and steamy that seems to be what they like.” Freaky. Nature is weird.

Apparently, the heat loosens up their gross tiny muscles, which makes sense if you think about how hot yoga makes you abnormally loose-limbed. NYC’s garbage streets have luckily deterred roaches from taking flight more frequently over time. “As the evolution occurred, their wings became and less important to them. There’s so much food around. They don’t use their wings like they used to,” according to exterminator Rich Miller.


Now let’s talk about how roaches fly:

“It’s not like a flight pattern like a butterfly would have,” Schumann said. “It’s almost like they just glide down.”

American Cockroaches are more frequent fliers in southern states such as Florida and Texas, where the bugs are colloquially referred to as palmetto bugs, for their habit of hanging out on palm trees. They’re also more suburban and rural creatures there, and use their wings more regularly to travel for food.

Well. Look out for them as they shoot across the sky. It happened to me one time in my native country of Guyana as a teen when a roach flew on my shoulder. It not only taunted me but traumatized me for life.

A video for the non-squeamish:

Culture Editor, Jezebel

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