WEIRD NEWS
08/13/2016 07:41 pm ET

People Fear The Heat Will Turn NYC Into A Hellscape Of Flying Roaches

Why do people live in this city, again?

Living in New York City can be pretty rough. The rent is high, there are pretty much always huge piles of trash bags everywhere and if you live here long enough, you’re probably going to get bedbugs.

And now, a DNAInfo article published Friday has the whole city panicking about flying cockroaches.

The article, titled “Roaches Love This Disgusting Heat So Much, It Makes Them Want To Fly,” has sparked a series of additional news stories and panicked social media posts about roaches launching themselves through the air.

But a closer look reveals New Yorkers can probably calm down about flying cockroaches. A little.

First of all, not all cockroaches are apt to go airborne.

There are two main types of cockroaches that live in the New York area — German cockroaches and American cockroaches, according to New York City company Positive Pest Management. German cockroaches are more commonly found near dishwashers, stoves and sinks, while American cockroaches are more likely to be found in basements, in bathtubs and near drains.

American cockroaches are the ones that may start flexing their little wings in the summer heat, insect experts told DNAInfo. In cooler temperatures, they tend to walk or run rather than fly.

An American cockroach (<i>Periplaneta americana</i>).
Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
An American cockroach (Periplaneta americana).

Louis Sorkin with the American Museum of Natural history told the outlet that more heat gives the critters “more use of their muscles” and “the more activity, the more flight.”

And secondly, they aren’t “flying” so much as using their wings to glide between short distances, like from a higher place to a lower place. In other words, they aren’t “true fliers as you would define a bee or a dragonfly,” entomologist Hao Yu told DNAInfo.

Not that we’re exactly psyched about “gliding” cockroaches, but it does seem slightly less unnerving.

And finally, look on the bright side. Sure, cockroaches are gross-looking and spread disease, but in a lot of ways they’re pretty cool. They’re badass survivors and they actually play an important role in the ecosystem by helping vegetation decay.

Are these the frenzied rationalizations of someone faced with the horrifying prospect of flying cockroaches? Yes.

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