Are Ants Nocturnal?

  • 4 min read
  • Ants, Insects
Are Ants Nocturnal

When you see ants working then a question can come to your mind whether ants sleep at night or not. So let’s find out.

Yes, some ants are nocturnal whereas some are diurnal. Actually, the life of ants is very complicated. You can see them working throughout the day as well as at night. Though some of the ants also sleep, it is not easy to answer when they sleep.

According to experts, there are 12,000 to 16,000 spices and subspecies of ants. Most of these ants have different lifestyles, habits, and behaviors. Some of them work only during the daytime whereas some of them are active day and night. 

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How ants take a nap? 

You may need some time to take a rest if you are asked to work throughout a week in the shifts of 24 hours. But the schedule of worker ants can be managed as under: 

  • They take naps for one minute at regular intervals 
  • Every 24 hours they take over 253 quick naps 
  • In each cycle, ants take a total sleep for 4 hours 

The sleeping timetable of queen ants is a bit better as they take naps for 6 minutes 90 times in 24 hours which allows them to sleep for over nine hours a day. It allows queen ants to live for a long time as compared to worker ants. 

Where do ants go to sleep? 

This question also has a multi-faceted answer. In some species of ants, the way of sleeping is different for queen ants and worker ants. The results derived by some of the researchers, who have closely examined the sleeping habits of the fire ants, on average a queen ant sleeps for over 9 hours a day. It can also help in concluding that they may dream as they usually shake their antenna even while sleeping deeply. 

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Conversely, worker ants sleep much less than queen ants due to their different sleeping habits. Throughout the day worker ants of this species take hundreds of naps for short time to meet their sleeping needs. In 24 hours they may take naps for one minute each for nearly 255 times which means on average they may sleep for 4 hours and 50 minutes on a day. These ants may not dream as they do not sleep deeply for time enough for taking a dream. 

In this way, it can be concluded that there is no special location for worker ants to sleep. They take a nap wherever they are including inside the underground tunnels, on the ant mounds, or while moving on a surface. So they have to decide where they want to sleep.  

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Habits of day and night ants 

Carpenter ants are considered to be nocturnal among various species of ants. These ants are most commonly found in almost every home. They usually enter your home at night and make their nests in its nooks and crannies. 

There is a wrong perception about carpenter ants that like termites they also destroy your wooden furniture but it is not true. However, they are known as carpenter ants because they like to live in damaged wooden items as well as in damp locations found in the dwellings used by humans. 

Along with carpenter ants, stink or sugar ants are one more species that is most commonly found in homes. These ants release an awful odor when crushed. They are nocturnal because they work during the day as well as at night. 

Though sugar ants are not particular about setting up their colonies; you can normally find them at various locations in your home like warmer areas and in the insulation, etc. Sugar and water are the main sources in your home that attract these ants. 

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Pavement ants are the other most commonly found nocturnal household ants. They are usually found in the cracks of pavements and sidewalks. They are usually black and enter your home through its paved structures or foundations. 

Thus some of the species of ants are nocturnal whereas some are diurnal by nature. Different species of ants have different sleeping as well as working habits.  

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.