Whether it’s the merciless mosquitos on a hot summer night or a serious bed bug infestation that requires pest control, sleep isn’t always a good thing. But even humans need their shut-eye – and bugs have central nervous systems that require rest to function properly. So the big question is where do bugs sleep?
Scientists haven’t had much luck in studying the exact nature of insect sleep, but they have found that these tiny animals do take a nap at times. Like us, they need to recharge their batteries, and the best place to do that is in a dark, dry, quiet environment.
Flies, for example, will often seek out a secluded spot in tall grass or under twigs and branches where they can get cozy and comfortable. They may also huddle together with their friends in a sleep aggregation, protecting each other from predators as they drift off to slumber.
The naps that insects take during the day and at night vary depending on their species and the time of year. Migrating monarchs, for instance, gather for large slumber parties as the sun sets during their annual journeys. And queen fire ants can spend up to nine hours each day sleeping, while their workers take short naps of less than five minutes.
It’s not entirely clear why these naps are necessary, but it is known that they can help conserve energy, improve learning abilities, and keep insects healthy. They haven’t been shown to include periods of REM sleep, however, and it’s not clear what happens in their brains during these sleep-like episodes.