This Weekend's Record-Breaking Heat Could Bring out Cockroaches' Superpower

August 13th 2016

You can now thank climate change for encouraging cockroaches to fly. A massive heat wave is hitting the East Coast this weekend, and apparently the heat and humidity make these insects want to take to the sky.

“In hot steam tunnels, something with the temperature and the humidity encourages them to fly,” Ken Schumann, an entomologist at Bell Environmental Services, told DNA Info. “When it's warm and steamy that seems to be what they like."

Though roaches already spread their wings in Southern states like Florida and Texas as a way to travel for food, they typically don't need to in urban cities like New York since food and trash is, sadly, more readily available on street-level. But experts told DNA Info that rising temps can nudge them to fly. Louis Sorkin, the bug expert at the American Museum of Natural History, explained that the heat helps cockroaches have "more use of their muscles," which means they're more likely to be airborne.

Flying cockroaches may be something we just have to get used to, because climate change is causing the United States to experience these kinds of heat waves more regularly. In addition to dodging the heat this weekend, many on the East Coast might be literally dodging roaches too.

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