Yes, ants do sleep. However, we need to understand sleep and how it applies to ants to figure out how exactly ants sleep. If your house is “invaded” by ants, you might ask, “do ants sleep?”. Because of their high activity, it seems like they never rest. This is not exactly true.
In this article, you will learn what does sleep mean for ants and if they ever experience a deep resting phase.
So, do ants rest or sleep?
As we said, ants sleep, but we need to shift our understanding of sleep to analyze insect behavior in terms of resting.
What does sleeping mean for ants?
Ants do not sleep like humans. Scientists even question whether a deep resting phase can be considered sleeping. The researchers used brain activity recorders to monitor ant resting process. It was shown that ants have a steep decline in brain wave fluctuations. This fact strengthened the idea that the ant resting process can be called “being asleep”
The studies have shown that instead of an 8-hour inactive phase, ants have short naps multiple times in a day, with irregular intervals. On average worker ants nap 250 times a day. Workers mean female ants which maintain the nest and work most time. They are the disposable caste of the colony. They protect their queens and royal offspring from danger.
Queens have quite interesting and different sleeping habits from other ants such as the fire ant, worker ants, and soldier ants.
Sleep habits of different ants
Different species show diverse behaviors among ants.
Soldier ants just like workers have power naps however, the studies found higher brain activity during the deep resting phase among soldiers. While most ants have similar sleep patterns, their activity periods can differ. For example, sugar ants and carpenter ants are most active at night because they are nocturnal.
Different activity periods are the reason why pest control is challenging when it comes to ants. They can basically invade your home at any time of the day.
Overall, ants have similar resting habits; however, queens have different sleep preferences from worker ants.
Do queen of ants sleep more?
Queen ants live the longest; therefore, they are the center of the ant colony. Given the right environment, the queen lives for more than a decade. The Conversation has reported that L. niger queen ants have lived for nearly 30 years in the laboratory. Because queens live long life and are responsible for the reproduction of ants, they need more sleep.
Queen ants may sleep up to 9 hours in a single day. Queen ant needs this time to rest and lay eggs. Queens sleep on average twice as long as worker ants. Their sleeping pattern is different from a regular ant. Queens sleep for 6 minutes on average 90 times per day.
However, queens of fire ants have different sleeping habits. As BBC reports, “Queen fire ants fall into relatively long, deep sleeps and kip for an average of nine hours every day”.
Amazingly, queen ants dream. Because of their longer sleeping intervals, they can dream. Additionally, three queens synchronize their sleeping schedules.
The study on queen ants focused on their brain activity. It showed that during the resting period queens experience rapid movements which is a kind of analog to rapid eye movement in humans.
How many times does ant sleep per day?
On average, worker ants take short naps 250 times a day, according to a University of Melbourne article. These short power naps last only over a minute. Overall, worker ants typically sleep around 4 to 5 hours per day.
These sleep patterns of the colony have a meaning behind it. 80% of the colony members are always awake and working. Although when work is less, workers sleep more.
Do ants get tired?
It seems that ant species do not get tired at all. As a colony, they are always active and moving around. However, the fact that they take naps suggests that they do get tired and experience periods of inactivity during the day.
Do ants dream?
Ants have resting periods during which they sleep. When they nap brain wave fluctuations decline however, they do not have a complex enough nervous system to be able to dream.
On the other hand, as it was mentioned, queen ants get hours of the sleep; therefore, they have more ability to dream.