People say a lot of things about what might happen “when pigs fly,” but around NYC, a new saying may catch on this summer: when cockroaches fly. It just so happens that the nasty little pests love intense heat and humidity so much that it makes them want to take off in flight. Apparently, the high temps give the insects a sort of superpower, enabling them to use more of their muscles than they can on an average day. When that happens, watch out. The pigeons won’t be the only flying objects to watch out for in the city.

American cockroaches are the variety most likely to take flight this summer and they are abundant throughout the city, as anyone with the gift of sight is already aware. Flying cockroaches have already been spotted in the basement of the American Museum of Natural History, according to the museum’s insect expert Louis Sorkin. Sorkin recently told DNAinfo that “with more heat they have more use of their muscles,” adding that the additional activity also means “more flight.” And fly, they do. Eww.

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The cockroaches, which are commonly observed taking flight in humid southern states like Florida and Texas, don’t flap their wings like a butterfly or a bird, but rather soar like a hang glider. In places where roaches feel inspired to fly on the regular, it’s a normal part of their activity and they use short flights to travel in search of food and to escape predators. Interestingly and perhaps fortunately for New Yorkers, the plethora of roach food (i.e. rotting trash) in the city’s alleys means that Big Apple roaches have evolved being less prone to flight—because they simply haven’t needed to. However, with this summer’s soaring heat waves, don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of at least a few soaring roaches, especially on the hottest days.

Via DNAinfo

Image via Wikipedia