Do Wasps Sleep At Night?

Busily buzzing around, and occasionally stinging unsuspecting victims, wasps certainly seem like active insects. Therefore, one would only assume that after a productive day, the menacing cousin of the honeybee retreats to the nest to catch some zzzs. 

But do they? Do wasps sleep at night?

As a general rule, wasps don’t sleep as your average mammal does, but they do rest. Wasps will return to their nests as the day comes to an end and rest until morning. During winter, queen wasps hibernate in a dormant state, however, this is not how we would describe being asleep.

Below we will take a look at the behavior of a wasp as the sun begins to go down, what they do at night and the safety around a wasp nest during the night. Stick around to find out more.

Do Wasps Sleep?

Wasps do not sleep. However, they do rest once the sun has gone down. The buzzing critter may appear to be inactive during the night, but within the nest, they are still carrying out essential duties. This mostly applies to diurnal wasps. 

Wasps sleeping

Some species however venture out during moonlight hours in search of precious resources.

What About Hibernation?

In most social wasp species the queen will hibernate over winter. For the winter months, the queens will find a warm dark spot to hibernate.

Although the insect is docile and seemingly sleeping, it is once again not asleep in the way that a bear would hibernate. Instead, all functions of the wasp slow down, as though it is in a coma.

What Do Wasps Do At Night?

Wasps, for the most part, return to their nests when the sun goes down.

However, there are certain nocturnal species of wasp such as the European hornet, Apoica wasp, and the Braconid wasp. All of which have developed a nocturnal lifestyle in order to evolve with the ever-changing climate, pressure of predation, parasitism, and the competition for resources.

These nocturnal wasps, putting aside their compound eyes which are highly sensitive to light, can forage and navigate through dark complex forests and terrain.

This activity, however, is reserved for nights with a bright full moon. On darker nights the wasps will remain in their nests and care for the duties of their home.

Within diurnal species of wasp, the behavior is slightly different.

Diurnal wasps most likely return to their nests to spend the night in the comfort of their own homes. Although these wasps do not sleep, they are less active. 

Female worker wasps use this time to feed the larvae and make repairs to the nest. It is common to hear a lot of noise coming from the inside of a wasp nest at night as the entire colony will be inside and working.

When Do Wasps Return To Their Nest?

Insects are gifted with compound eyes which are a rather handy feature. These eyes allow the wasp to see in multiple directions at the same time, thus making foraging and protection from predators an easier task.

Compound eyes, not only make foraging easier but are extremely sensitive to light. For this reason, wasps, and many other insects return to their homes once the sun has gone down.

As the night begins to roll in, diurnal wasps will return to their nests, and at the break of dawn, they will emerge and continue on their foraging journey.

Because their eyes are so sensitive to the change in light, even the slightest glimpse of sunrise will kickstart a wasps day.

Does this explain what wasps might be seen around your patio lights? Find the answers in another article we have written called, Are Wasps Attracted To Light?

Is It Safe To Be Around A Wasps Nest At Night?

The safest time to be around a wasps nest is during the night (with the exception of nocturnal wasps).

As the wasps remain inside their nest while the sun is down, there is little to fear from the insects. That being said, if a wasps nest is disturbed during the night, the female workers will emerge in order to defend their home.
These hornets are pretty calm at night even with the light shining into their nest.

However, if the nest is left to its own devices, there is no threat of the wasps emerging until the sun begins to come up, and temperatures begin to rise.

Will A Wasp Attack You At Night?

There is a general rule when it comes to wasps: If you do not disturb them, they will not disturb you.

This remains true in both daylight hours and after sundown. Although wasps are generally not aggressive, they are more active during the day and therefore more likely to sting when the sun is up.

Similarly, if the sun has gone down a wasp will not attack unless its nest has been disturbed.

Is It Safer To Remove A Wasp Nest At Night?

According to pest controllers, the best time to remove a wasps nest is during the night. These sites claim that wasps are less active in the night, and therefore less likely to sting.

Although this is true for a wasp nest while being passively in its environment, once the nest is disturbed, the female workers will take arms. This can be avoided by using sprays or foams to block entrances, as opposed to hitting the nest with a baseball bat.

This method if done carefully is a very human way of removing wasps.

Keep in mind that, while the wasps are less active at night, it is also the time that the hive is the most full, which in some cases can mean thousands of wasps.

Advantages Of Removing A Wasp Nest At Night

The Wasps Are Docile

As wasps return to their nests at night to rest, they are calmer and will not be swarming around the entrance of the nest.

All The Wasps Are In The Nest

As the wasps are all inside the nest at night, removing a nest at this time will remove the entire colony.

Removing a nest during the day will result in worker wasps returning constantly to find a missing home.

Disadvantages Of Removing A Wasp Nest At Night

A False Sense Of Security

Many resources suggest that nighttime is the safest time to remove a wasp nest. However, this does not exclude all chances of being stung.

May Alert The Hive To Your Threat To Them

Wasps are extremely sensitive to light. If you use a torch or a light when removing the nest, it is likely that you will stimulate the nest. This will leave the workers more active than anticipated which may lead to a painful surprise.

The Wrap Up

Wasps do not sleep in the conventional way we all know. While they are always awake, they do “rest”. A resting wasp is less active than that of a fully mobile daylight wasp.

As the sun goes down, female worker wasps return to the hive where they will feed and care for the young, as well as maintain, mend and adapt the nest before emerging at sunrise for another day of foraging.

Remember, wasps are territorial, and will protect their nests at all costs. This should always be kept in mind, whether it is daylight hours, or once the sun has gone down.

If you are interested in knowing about the sleeping habits of other bugs check out these other articles we have written:

Do Spiders Sleep?

Do Ladybugs Sleep?

Where Do Bumblebees Go At Night?


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