Louisiana has many flying bugs, but few are as feared as the Flying Cockroach. Normally, we only see roaches scurrying across the floor when the lights are turned on at night. However, if you have ever gone into combat with one, you may have seen them fly. When this beast hits the sky, many a tourist and new resident has hit the deck in utter fear.
A little Roach History
The modern cockroach first appeared about 200 million years ago, but its ancestors appeared over 350 million years ago during the Carboniferous Period. The American Cockroach is not a native American, but it certainly has adapted well here. It actually was a stowaway during hundreds of years of oceanic trade, originating in Africa. Since those years of trade, the cockroach has hit just about every continent and learned to adapt and survive. There are over 4,000 known cockroach species on the planet, and here is the good news.. not all of those inhabit human dwellings. Most roaches prefer niche habitats like forests, caves, burrows, or brushes.
Roaches Can Eat Just About Anything
A Roach will never be accused of being a picky eater. They definitely have a sweet tooth, but if sweets are not on the menu, glue, grease, soap, wallpaper paste, leather, bookbindings, or even hair will do just fine for a meal. However, a roach does not have to eat every day. Some species can hold out for 6 weeks without eating. These traits make cockroaches in our homes tough to control. But in nature, cockroaches provide an important service by consuming organic waste. They’re the garbage collectors of their habitat.
Roaches Could Enter The Olympics: They Are Fast!
Ready, Get Set, Hit the Light Switch. Down in New Orleans, you probably have seen the mad roach race begin when the lights are hit. But when I say they’re fast, I mean measurably fast. Cockroaches detect approaching threats by sensing changes in air currents. The fastest start time clocked by a cockroach was just 8.2 milliseconds after it sensed a puff of air on its rear end. Once all six legs are in motion, a cockroach can sprint at speeds of 80 centimeters per second. And they’re elusive, too, with the ability to turn on a dime while in full stride.
Creepy Flying Cockroach….It Could Be Worse
You probably think that a roach is big if it is an inch long, especially when it is a Creepy Flying Cockroach, but it could be a lot worse for us in Louisiana. In the tropics, the Megaloblatta longipennis boasts a wingspan of 18 cm, or 7 inches. The Australian rhinoceros cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) weighs a hefty 33.5 grams. The giant cave cricket, Blaberus giganteus, measures 4 inches long at maturity. Aren’t you glad these cockroaches aren’t running around on your kitchen counters?