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April 08, 2023 6 min read

The Earth is home to an astounding 20 quadrillion ants - that's 2.5 million little critters for every single human inhabitant! But have you ever wondered what happens in an ant’s daily life?

You might have questions like do ants sleep? What do ants eat? Do different types of ants have the same daily routine?

From eating to sleeping, and colony life, our guide will answer all of your questions and more.

If you want to find out about the ant's daily life, then this is the article for you. Discover the many ways that ants are so important to our environment and find out how you can get started with an ant colony of your own!

Our easy-to-read guide is packed with fascinating information about one of nature's most amazing creatures. Get ready to explore an incredible world beneath your feet today!

A Day in the Life of an Ant

Ants are a remarkable species. They are highly organized, hard-working, and can survive almost anywhere. To get a glimpse into their world, let's take a look at what a single day looks like for an ant.

A typical day will vary between species. Some are more active in the daytime, whilst others are nocturnal.

At sunrise, the ant colony stirs to life. The ants emerge from their underground homes and immediately start searching for food.

In the wild, ants specialize in finding food sources such as seeds, fruits, and even other insects. They will be on the lookout for anything that could provide sustenance for the colony.

As soon as something edible is found, a scout ant will report back to headquarters with news of its discovery. If it's far away, they may venture out with a team of workers to collect the find. If it's closer by or even within the nest grounds, they'll take immediate action and begin gathering resources before any competition can arrive.

Once evening comes, the ants return home. They will be in a dormant state until the following day when the cycle begins again!

The Ant Hierarchy

Not all ants are equal. As we mentioned before, they have complex hierarchies. Think of it like an ant caste system.

The Queen

There is just one queen in a colony. At the helm of the colony is a fertile, winged female whose sole purpose is to lay eggs and ensure the survival of the colony.

The young ants that hatch from her eggs need protection and nourishment. This responsibility falls onto the workers, who keep watch over them and ensure they remain safe and healthy. On top of that, these hardworking ants also scout for food sources and defend the nest against intruders.


The bulk of the workforce comes in the form of worker ants, who come in two forms: fertile, wingless females and winged males (known as drones or kings).

Both sexes have their own roles to play within society like foraging for food, caring for the young, and building or maintaining their nests. Together, they make up an organized and efficient unit, working together to ensure the long-term survival of their species.

Kings or Drones

Drones are also known as kings. They are fertile-winged males born from unfertilized eggs. Their sole purpose is to mate and then die soon after.


Soldiers are wingless infertile female ants. They play an important role in protecting the colony from danger.

How Many Ants Live in a Colony?

Ant colonies come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from only a few dozen ants to super colonies with more than 300 million members.

Smaller colonies tend to live in natural crevices or openings, while larger colonies create complex nests and forage for food and supplies. Super colonies have been identified around the world, including in Japan, Australia, the United States, and southern Europe.

Do Ants Sleep?

Yes! Research has shown that ants do indeed sleep.

Studies have found that they can be observed sleeping in three distinct locations within a laboratory artificial nest chamber. These three places were:

  • On the ceiling
  • On the floor against the wall of a chamber
  • On the chamber wall

It was discovered that the ants sleeping in the center of the chamber wall tend to sleep for longer periods than those sleeping elsewhere. This likely indicates that ants prefer to sleep in places where there is less activity and disturbance. In the center of the chamber, the wall is where they find it.

It was evident they were asleep as they had no response to other ants. Another interesting observation was sleeping ants quickly move their antennae as if in deep sleep.

How Often Do Ants Sleep?

Ants have been found to take multiple, short sleep episodes throughout their day. These usually last between 1 to 6 minutes each. Each day they have on average around 90-250 sleep episodes.

This means that collectively, ants can sleep up to 9 hours in a single day! This is quite similar to humans, albeit with much shorter sleep episodes. It seems that ants really are the extreme power nappers of the animal kingdom!

Do Queen Ants Get More Sleep Than Worker Ants?


While worker ants typically take short sleep episodes, the queen ants get to enjoy longer and more frequent rest breaks with sleep episodes lasting up to over 6 minutes. This shows that while worker ants can take many more naps throughout the day, the queen ants can take more time from each episode to truly rejuvenate.

On average, worker ants would take up to 250 power naps in a single day while queen ants would only sleep for around 90 times per day. This is due to the significantly longer sleep episodes of the queen ants, which can last over 6 minutes.

Worker ants typically total 4.8 hours of sleep, while queen ants can clock in a whopping 9.4 hours of rest - almost double the amount! Truly, it is easy to see why queen ants are given their majestic title.

Are Ants Nocturnal?

Not necessarily, although many types are.

Carpenter ants are most active at night. Typically, they follow their own trails along objects such as fences, tree limbs, and water hoses. Another type of ant that favors the nighttime is the sugar ant, which explore your kitchen after hours to find food scraps you've dropped.

Do Ants Have Hearts?

Yes. While ants may have small, three-chambered hearts, their main method of circulation is through a system of tubes and pumps in their bodies.

These tubes and pumps work to circulate hemolymph, or a form of ant "blood," to cells throughout the body. This ensures all parts of the ant receive oxygen and other vital compounds.

Do Ants Have Ears?

No. Unlike humans, ants don’t have ears to hear.

Instead, they depend on their other senses to pick up the vibrations from their environment. Special sensors on their feet and knees help them detect even the slightest tremors in the ground. Their antennae and tiny hairs on their body can also detect subtle cues when foraging for food.

Do Ants Die Off in the Winter?

An outdoor ant colony has evolved to survive through the winter months by hibernating. This process of dormancy often occurs in outdoor colonies, with extremes in seasons. Here the ants enter a state of rest until the warmer weather returns.

However, in indoor colonies, ants remain active throughout the year and can live quite comfortably as long as they have access to food and water.

How Strong Are Ants?

Despite their small size, ants are incredibly strong and can lift up to 10-50 times their body weight.

Their muscles are much thicker relative to their body mass compared to larger animals, which gives them the strength to carry objects much bigger and heavier than themselves.

To give you an idea of how much that would be if a person could lift 10 times their weight, a 200-pound man would be able to pick up a small car!

Want to Learn More About Ants?

So now you know the answer to do ants sleep and other interesting facts about these fascinating creatures. With their complex and organized structures, you've seen how each ant has an important role within their society that helps ensure the survival of their colony

If you’re interested in learning more about these industrious insects or want to experience them firsthand, you can start your own colony. If you're looking to buy ants then check out our selection of ant products today.

With a variety of types available for purchase online at great prices, now is the perfect time to start exploring this amazing world.