Where Do Wasps Sleep at Night?

October 16, 2023

A master's student at the University of Arizona, Barrett Klein, is attempting to pioneer sleep research in an unusual species: wasps. Currently, most sleep research is done in vertebrate mammals, but Klein wants to see what wasps do as they rest.

As the sun goes down and a wasp enters its slumber, the buzzing insect may look inactive or even dead. However, this is not the case. As the wasp's body temperature decreases, its senses become dulled but it can still react quickly to threats. In fact, if the wasp feels its nest is under threat, it can be expected to fly out in defense of the home.

While wasps are often seen hovering around flowers, helping with the pollination process and feeding their young, many isps are omnivorous and will also feed on other insects, including spiders, caterpillars, flies and carrion. The ocelli on a wasp's head are also an important adaptation that allows it to see at night. This is how some nocturnal wasps like the European hornet and a number of solitary wasps hunt at night, finding prey to kill, sting and feed their young.

Most of the time, wasps will stay inside their nests at night as this helps them to avoid predators and the elements. Wasps build their nests in sheltered areas such as tree branches, the eaves of homes or sheds, wall cavities and in attics. As a result, walking under a wasp's nest in the dark can cause it to attack and sting. If the wasp is defending its nest, it will go into swarming mode and can potentially sting you multiple times.

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