Invasion of the flying cockroach

Flying cockroaches.

Really, an affront to all that is civilized and gentle-minded.

I hear about flying cockroaches, but it’s always 3rd or 73rd hand. I’ve never heard anyone tell me “I saw a flying cockroach in my house last night!” excitedly and proudly.

Nope. It’s always “My 2nd cousin Albert from the Everglades was out alligator hunting the other night when a flying roach landed on his arm!” bullshit. The kind of story that sounds sorta interesting, and even less impressive. In concept, a disgusting concept. Flying roaches. Blah. Heard that one all my life.

Until the summer of 2005. Or was it 2004? Yep, it was 2004, the summer I moved into this place. It was a weeknight. I had my son…he witnessed the flying cockroach.

You see, I was in the kitchen. I walked into the dining room and I think I heard it before I saw it…a fluttering, a strange clicking sound, of wings, of flight…? Strange.

Then I saw it. A fucking cockroach was flying around the dining room of my new apartment. Flying.

Look, I’m not pussy when it comes to insects. I hate them but they don’t scare me. I prefer not to eat them or touch them, but nevertheless, I don’t get bothered by them. If I see one in my place I’ll generally ignore it, or if it’s intrusively large, I’ll toss it out the door.

But this…flying cockroach. I froze the minute I realized what it was. A chill literally ran up and down my spine. I think I might have even made an audible chickenshit sound. Dude. How often do you walk into a room and see a flying roach dive bombing your ass like some crazed kamikaze pilot??

You’d think I saw a ghost.

Despite this, all the cortisol and adrenaline flooding my system the minute I saw that shit sprung me into freakin’ Terminator action. Guns drawn I flew into battle mode. Ready to take on this little fuck. I didn’t really have guns, but I had equally lethal and menacing weapons…a broom and my arms. You can inflict serious hurting with a broom. I literally followed that damned thing for at least 5 minutes as it flew haphazardly around the room. I noticed that it did not have the Art of Flight mastered. It would land, crawl like a normal roach, reach a good launching height, then start to flutter those grisly wings once more before feeling the wind upon its spiny legs once again….and I could not kill that sucker because every time it looked like it might fly towards me, I yelped and fled back. That’s right, I was a man in action!

Funny thing…to this day, and owing to the events of July 11, 2005, I simply do not remember what happened.

Did I kill it?
Did I open the patio door and let it “fly” out? To call it “flight” is generous. It was about as graceful as a June bug on meth. It had no direction, no control…and that is what made it more scary. Usually cockroaches will avoid your ass…but a flying roach has no idea where it’s headed next. Hilarious shit.

Remembering back now….5 years later.
I had a flying roach in my place. What was the deal?

Sounds like a job for for The Cockroach FAQ. And don’t we all visit that regularly?

It’s a great site about roaches and I may revisit it one day if I can stomach the thought.

So anyways, to my question, which incidentally is #18. Can roaches fly?

In case you’re blind

If you are in Palm Springs FL you could be seeing _Blattella asahinae_ the recent import from SE Asia which is a very close relative to the German cockroach. The import can fly and interbreeds with _B. germanica_ which leads people to think that _B. asahinae_ was the wild species from which the non-flying domesticated species was derived.

Another flying cockroach is the Cuban Roach, Panchlora nivea, recently becoming common along the whole Gulf coast. It is bright mint green in color.

If you are in Palm Springs CA I do not have a clue as to what species you might be seeing. There are several wild cockroaches of the genus Parcoblatta in which the male flies. They are relatively inocuous and do not normally invade the home. They congregate at porch lights as do the species mentioned above.

Sounds like maybe I should have killed the sucker and sent it to this Ivy League insect guy.

Well, I never had a flying roach incident after that. I had plenty of roach infestations, but I’ve cleaned up my act and it seems the only ones I see now are the occasional interlopers, the one-night stays. They come, find nothing, and move on.

There’s no doubt in my mind now…this was an Asian cockroach; mystery solved. Just don’t come around here no more.