When Do Ants Sleep?

Depending on the species, ants may sleep for a few minutes, hours, or even days. Some are active all day while others are nocturnal.

Queens sleep twice as long as workers and spend nine hours a day on average. These sleep cycles may be the key to their long life span. Their antennae are retracted and raised while dozing. Their mandibles may also open slightly during the sleep phase.

Some ants may also enter a state of diapause, a temporary sleep state that lasts three to four months. This is not a true sleep but it can help them to avoid harsh conditions. In this state, ants are unresponsive to one another, allowing them to survive.

A recent study of the ant sleeping habits of Solenopsis invicta, a day roving species, showed that ants take 250 insect-equivalent naps a day, but the duration of these naps are quite short. In fact, some workers are never asleep.

The study also showed that workers take more than one power nap per day, which is equivalent to 4.8 hours of sleep. The study also found that queens sleep longer than workers, averaging 92 sleep episodes a day.

The study also found that worker ants may take hundreds of short naps per day. Typically, these naps last less than a minute, and they are irregular.

In addition, worker ants may also take advantage of quiet periods to sleep. This may be the ant’s way of avoiding harsh conditions and freezing to death.