Do Bugs Sleep?

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

Insect Sleep Studies

Among the significant reasons that it’s so very hard to ascertain if bugs sleep is really because scientists have not figured out ways to measure insect brain activity. Without this crucial data, they are forced to make use of other methods that rely more on behavioral observations and creating parallels with human sleep characteristics.

baby-sleeping-pest free


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 items that bugs do appear 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 attentive to sensory stimuli (increased arousal threshold)
  • If deprived of sleep, they’ll require more sleep later (sleep rebound)
  • Body drooping in the direction of gravity
  • More stimulating muscles

So, the short answer is that yes, bugs do enter a type of sleep, but it’s not the same as human sleep. Scientists instead reference it as a state of deep rest which allows the insect’s body time and energy 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 simply help gain insight into the processes and molecular pathways that are involved. Studying such things as sleep and circadian rhythms in insects can be good for untangling the much harder processes that happen in humans.

Second, understanding circadian rhythms and sleep patterns of insects may be good for pest control. Circadian rhythms, or cycles of awake and asleep times, help regulate the metabolism. In quite simple terms, metabolism is how the human body stores and releases energy. Scientists may manage to use the information they gain to locate times of the day that pesticides work better and more effectively as a result of how they are metabolized.

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

Central Coast Pest Control

At Central Coast Pest Control, eliminating pests and keeping our customers safe and comfortable is our business. We stay up-to-date on the most recent research and product development in order to give you the best possible service.