Can Cockroaches Climb Glass? The Surprising Answer

Cockroaches are some of the most despised creatures on the planet. They are known for being dirty, and their ability to climb walls makes them even more unwelcome in our homes. But can these pests really climb glass? 

The answer is no; cockroaches cannot climb glass because their feet are not designed for gripping smooth surfaces. Instead, cockroaches use their claws and legs to run up rough surfaces like wood or concrete. Their feet also have tiny hairs that help them grip these surfaces. This means that they can climb most things except for glass and other smooth surfaces in your home.

Reasons Why Cockroaches Can’t Climb Glass Surfaces

Have you ever seen a cockroach trying to climb up the side of a glass jar or aquarium only to fail miserably? It’s a pretty comical sight, but it’s also one that begs the question: why can’t cockroaches climb glass surfaces? The answer actually lies in the physical structure of cockroach legs.

Each leg is covered in tiny hairs called setae that help the insects cling to surfaces. However, these setae cannot get a good grip on smooth surfaces like glass. In addition, cockroaches rely on gravity to help them move forward, and smooth surfaces offer nothing for their legs to push against. As a result, they are unable to climb glass surfaces despite their best efforts.

Hair on Their Legs

A cockroach’s legs are covered in minute hairs that point downward. When the cockroach runs up a vertical surface, these hairs create frictional forces that cling to the surface and allow the cockroach to maintain its grip.

However, glass is a smooth surface with no texture for these hairs to cling to. As a result, the cockroach is unable to generate the necessary frictional forces and slide back down the glass.

cockroach on wooden surface

The Shape of Their Feet

Cockroaches have a six-legged design that helps them scurry around quickly and easily. But those legs aren’t all the same. In fact, cockroaches have two different types of legs – front legs and back legs. The front legs are called “maxillipeds,” and they’re used for sensing and moving things out of the way. The back legs are much larger and used for locomotion – or moving the cockroach’s body forward.

Each leg has a claw-like structure at the end, which helps the cockroach grip surfaces as it moves. However, these claws are not well suited for climbing glass. That’s because the surface of the glass is exceptionally smooth – there’s nothing for the claws to grab onto.

In addition, the claws are curved, which makes it difficult for them to get a good grip on the glass. The lack of contact area between their feet and the glass makes it difficult for them to generate the necessary frictional forces to maintain their grip.

Which Surfaces Can Cockroaches Climb?

Unfortunately, glass is one of the only few surfaces that cockroaches cannot climb, but they’re experts at climbing other materials with ease! When it comes to climbing, cockroaches are most likely to be found on:

Rough Surfaces

In addition to being able to squeeze into tiny spaces, cockroaches are also excellent climbers. They are equipped with sharp claws that allow them to grip onto almost any surface. However, they prefer to climb on rough surfaces like concrete and brick, where their claws can get a good grip.

Cockroaches are also fond of climbing up pipes and drains, where they often find food and water. In fact, one of the best ways to keep cockroaches out of your home is to make sure that all of your drains are properly sealed. By taking away their access to food and water, you can discourage them from taking up residence in your home.

zoom in of brick surface

Textured Surfaces

Cockroaches are skilled climbers, and they can scale a wide variety of surfaces with ease. One type of surface that they frequently climb is textured surfaces. This can include anything from sandpaper to concrete. The cockroaches use their claws and legs to grip onto the rough surface, allowing them to scramble up vertical walls and upside down on ceilings. This ability to climb on textured surfaces makes it difficult to keep cockroaches out of homes and other buildings. Sealing cracks and crevices is not enough, as the cockroaches can simply climb over any barrier that is in their way.


Cockroaches are able to walk upside down on ceilings due to the combination of their legs and claws. Considering that most ceilings are made up of rough or textured surfaces, it’s no surprise that cockroaches can climb them with ease!

Why Do Cockroaches Climb surfaces?

When you see a cockroach scuttling up your wall or across your ceiling, it’s natural to wonder why they’re doing it. After all, most other insects stick to the ground. So what makes cockroaches so different?

The answer has to do with their anatomy and lifestyle. Cockroaches are built for climbing. Their long, slender legs and small bodies make it easy for them to maneuver around obstacles.

What’s more, they have special pads on their feet that help them cling to rough surfaces. Cockroaches also like to live in high places. By climbing to the top of a room, they can survey their surroundings and better avoid predators.

Climbing also allows cockroaches to use their sense of touch to explore their surroundings. By climbing on different surfaces, they can learn about the room’s layout and find hiding places or food sources.

Additionally, cockroaches are attracted to heat, and they use their sense of smell to find it. So, when they climb up a wall or onto a ceiling, they’re usually trying to find a warm spot.

How to Stop Cockroaches from Climbing Your Walls

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures that love to hide in dark, cramped spaces. If you’re finding them crawling up your walls, it’s likely because they’re looking for food or water. Unfortunately, once cockroaches have established themselves in your home, they can be difficult to get rid of.

The best way to stop them from climbing your walls is to remove their point of entry. Inspect your walls for cracks and crevices where cockroaches could be hiding during the day. Once you’ve found the source, seal up any openings with caulk or steel wool.

You can also discourage cockroaches from climbing your walls by making sure there’s nothing for them to eat or drink. Keep food in airtight containers and wipe up any spills immediately.

Repair any leaks in your plumbing, and empty out your garbage cans regularly. By taking away their food and water sources, you can make your home less attractive to cockroaches.

Cockroaches are also attracted to warmth, so another way to keep them from climbing your walls is to reduce the temperature in your home. They typically like to hide in warm, humid places. So, by making your home cooler and drier, you can make it less hospitable for cockroaches.

Finally, you can use insecticide sprays or baits to kill cockroaches that are already in your home. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label, and keep your home clean to prevent cockroaches from returning.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, cockroaches cannot climb on glass. While their ability to cling to surfaces is impressive, the fact is that their legs are not designed for gripping smooth surfaces like glass. Rough surfaces such as wood or concrete are much easier for cockroaches to climb simply because they have more traction.

If you’re seeing cockroaches climbing your walls or ceiling, it’s likely they’re just following a trail of food or moisture. But if you’re still concerned, it’s always best to contact a pest control professional to get rid of your cockroach problem for good.