Do Bugs Sleep?

We know that humans and other mammals need sleep to survive, but have you ever wondered if bugs sleep? This is not an easy question to answer, but delving into the science of insect sleep may actually benefit two very different groups: human sleep researchers and pest control specialists.

Sleep Studies

One of the main reasons that it is so difficult to determine if bugs sleep is because scientists have not figured out a way to measure insect brain activity. Without this crucial data, they are forced to use other methods that rely more on behavioral observations and creating parallels with human sleep characteristics. 


Studies conducted on various insects (fruit flies, paper wasps, cockroaches, bees, praying mantis, etc.) show many similarities between insect behavior and the behavior of other more complex animals when it comes to sleep. Some things that bugs do seem to mimic common sleep-like habits including:

  • Finding a preferred napping location
  • Remaining still for long periods at regular times (following circadian rhythms)
  • Not being easily responsive to sensory stimuli (increased arousal threshold)
  • If deprived of sleep, they will require more sleep later (sleep rebound)
  • Body drooping in the direction of gravity
  • More relaxed muscles

So, the short answer is that yes, bugs do enter a type of sleep, but it is not exactly the same as human sleep. Scientists instead refer to it as a state of deep rest that allows the insect’s body time to repair and restore. 

Why does knowing about insect sleep matter?

This may all be very interesting, but why does it matter? First, Scientists regularly study simple organisms to help gain insight into the processes and molecular pathways that are involved. Studying things like sleep and circadian rhythms in insects can actually be beneficial to untangling the much more complicated processes that happen in humans. 

Second, understanding circadian rhythms and sleep patterns of insects may be beneficial to pest control. Circadian rhythms, or cycles of awake and asleep times, help to regulate the metabolism. In very simple terms, metabolism is how the body stores and releases energy. Scientists may be able to use the information they gain to find times of the day that pesticides work better and more efficiently because of how they are metabolized. 

Pest control professionals already use some of this knowledge of insect “sleep” cyles to ensure that treatments are effective and safe. For example, insects like wasps and yellow jackets enter a period of deep rest during the night. When trying to exterminate a dangerous hive, it is best to attack it when the wasps are less responsive in the early morning or evening hours. This can help prevent painful stings.

Sunshine Coast Pest Control

At Radar Pest Control, getting rid of pests and keeping our customers safe and comfortable is our business. We stay up-to-date on the latest research and product development in order to give you the best possible service. For pest control in Buderim and pest control in Nambour, contact Radar Pest Control today.

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