Do Wasps Sleep at Night? (Can They Attack After Dark?)

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You’ve likely heard countless times that you should attack wasp nests at dusk. But are the wasps really all asleep in the nest at night, or are they secretly waiting to strike any invaders?

Knowing when wasps are least active gives you the best chance of taking out an entire wasp nest when dealing with social wasps. However, the opposite is true of many solitary wasps, such as mud dauber wasps.

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Do Wasps Sleep?

Thankfully, wasps need sleep just like we do. Diurnal wasps will return to the nest around dusk and leave around dawn.

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In a research paper published by the University of Arizona, the researchers observed the behavior of wasps in the day and night and found that their behavior defines sleep.

For large mammals, it is easy to determine whether it is sleeping or not, but when it comes to a smaller insect-like wasp, it becomes very difficult to observe when they’re not awake. Insects lack eyelids, for example, and they’re too tiny to hear if they’re snoring.

In their experiment, the researchers did several tests to determine which wasp behaviors indicate their sleeping pattern.

From the scientific point of view, the below-mentioned measures were selected to determine their sleeping habit.

  • A specific resting posture
  • Immobility level
  • The temperature of their body
  • Arousal threshold – it’ll take less to arouse a resting one as compared to a sleeping one.
  • Homeostatic control of their activity & inactivity rhythm

So, as per this study, we now know that wasp do sleep and have an idea of what to look for when watching them.

See Also: What Do Wasps Eat for Food?

What Time Do Wasps Go to Sleep?

wasps sleeping

So, if they sleep then there must be a specific time frame when they go to sleep right? Are they diurnal or nocturnal critters?

The researchers observed the activity of wasps during the day and night. They took observations after every 10 minutes, recorded their activity level, their behavior in multiple colonies.

Since there are too many different types of wasps and in different regions and climates, there is no specific time when they will go to sleep. What we do know is that most species are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night.

Will Wasps Attack at Night?

Wasps are a common sight in the summer months and most people are aware that wasps can deliver a painful sting if encountered during the day. However, many people don’t know that wasps can also attack at night.

The truth is, while they’re primarily diurnal, some species of wasps are still known to hunt at night and even a napping wasp will attack if provoked.

So while it’s unlikely most common wasps will attack humans at night, they still can sting you at night under the right circumstances.

See Also: Are Mud Daubers Aggressive?

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What is the Best Time to Get Rid of Wasps?

wasp killer spray

If you want to get rid of wasps, then it’s best to try and identify the type of wasp before attacking their nest.

When it comes to social wasp species, most or all of the wasp colony will be in their nest asleep.

Nocturnal Wasps

Some species of wasp are nocturnal, so it’s important to identify the wasp species. A good way to do so is to get a high quality picture of the nest or one of the wasps. Be careful when doing so to avoid getting stung. You can then use a phone app or take the image to an expert for identification.

European wasps (Vespa crabro) found their way to North America in the mid-1800s and build paper nests.

Another example is the parasitic wasp family Ichneumonidae, which have over 25,000 species across every continent except for Antarctica. While most are diurnal, several species are nocturnal. These social wasps gather around the entrance to their nest each morning to protect the wasp larvae from predators.

Brachonid wasps (family Braconidae) are closely related to the ichneumon wasps. There are 17,000 species of these parasitic wasps, many of which leave their nests at night to lay their eggs on unsuspecting prey. It should be noted that these wasps are attracted to artificial lights because it’s a common gathering spot for prey insects.

Solitary Wasps

Many species of wasp are solitary. There’s no queen wasp or colony to face. Instead, the best way to deal with these wasps is to wait until they leave their nest ,then simply remove the nest. In the case of mud daubers, this simple action will often convince them to leave your property peacefully.

Dealing with Diurnal Wasp Nests

When it comes to dealing with social wasps that have a diurnal sleep cycle, the trick is to wait until after dusk. Then, you can attack them with any spray or wasp bug bomb, taking out most or all of the colony in one attack.

There are also a couple of home remedies that have been know to offer good results. Peppermint oil wasp spray is an exceppent repellent, while soapy water can kill them.

But whatever method you choose to get rid of them, make sure that you wear protective clothing in case they can get aggressive and attack you.

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Dealing with Wasps with Pest Control

Once you know if the wasp species you’re up against sleeps at night, you can use the various home remedies and commercial products to eliminate them from your property.

However, in the case of a serious wasp infestation, it is best to hire a professional exterminator who can deal with this problem more skillfully and get rid of these stinging pests for a longer period.

A professional pest control company can remove large wasp colonies safely and tent to be affordably priced.

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Final Words

If you’ve ever been stung by a wasp then you know how painful the experience can be. However, an angry wasp can sting you multiple times, and a social wasp colony will come after you en masse if the nest is threatened.

With the exception of solitary wasps, knowing whether the species you’re up against sleeps during the day or night can help keep you safe if you plan to attack the entire colony. Always try to time this attack for when the colony is at its least active for the best results.

Samantha