Yes, ants are active at night. Many ants are nocturnal and do their activities during the nighttime.
For example, carpenter ants generally start foraging just after sunset.
That said, not all ants are nocturnal. There are also diurnal and crepuscular ants that work during the day or twilight.
In this article, we’ll learn more about nocturnal ants as we discuss the following:
- Where do ants go at night
- Why are ants active at night
- Adaptations in nocturnal ants
- Nocturnal ant species
Where Do Ants Go At Night?
Night ants go where the day ants go. Being active at night does not deter them from going about their business. Like day ants they go out of their burrows to forage for food and moisture.
Why Are Ants Active at Night?
Ants may prefer to be active at night due to a few reasons. Generally speaking though, it all comes down to survival.
Being nocturnal can provide ants advantages that may help them make it through the night.
These advantages are as follows:
Protection from Predators
Working at night helps ants avoid predators. That’s not to say that there are no predators at night though. Instead, the darkness of night allows ants to stealthily move and forage in relatively safer conditions.
Ants compete with each other and other animals for food and resources. In some cases, these competitions lead to fighting and may cause fatalities.
To avoid this, ants change their behavior in the presence of competition. One such strategy can be working at night.
Avoiding the Heat
Ants also adjust their behaviors and routines based on temperature. For instance, silver ants monitor temperature before they decide to start foraging. When it gets too hot, they immediately hurry back to their burrows. 
Harvester ants also exhibit similar adjustments. These ants become diurnal in winter to avoid the cold and nocturnal in summer to avoid the heat. 
How Are Ants Capable Of Being Nocturnal or Active at Night?
I’m sure I don’t speak for myself when I say that it’s hard to navigate in the dark. So it’s a wonder how ants do it given their eyes aren’t as developed as ours.
Well, ants have their antennae. These antennae are highly sensitive and can detect chemicals in the environment. Ants use them to navigate, find food and communicate with each other. Read this article to learn more about ant antennae.
Furthermore, studies show that nocturnal ants have developed night-specific adaptations. These include visually guided strategies and optical adaptations for dim-light conditions. 
Visual Guided Strategies
Nocturnal ants have shown the ability to use different visual cues to determine where to go. These ant species use celestial cues like the moon as a compass. 
Some nocturnal ants also use terrestrial cues for navigation. For example, black carpenter ants orient themselves according to canopy patterns. 
The eyes of nocturnal ants have larger facets and wider rhabdoms than diurnals. With these, they have better optical sensitivity and visual reliability in dim-light conditions.
Species Of Ants That Are Active At Night
Here are a few examples of ants that are active at night:
Bull ants are a genus of ants from the genus Myrmecia commonly found in Australia. They’re known for their scissor-like mandibles and painful stings. They have large slender bodies and are usually black-red in coloration.
Most bull ants forage during the evening twilight. They use visual landmarks such as the surrounding panorama to navigate.
Carpenter ants are dark, large ants from the Camponotus genus. They’re found in many forested areas in the world and are notorious pests. These ants are known to infest wood and cause damage comparable to termites.
Carpenter ant workers generally emerge to forage after sunset. With their dark coloration, they’re quite difficult to spot.
Pavement ants are small black ants commonly found along pavements and sidewalks. They’re known to be a nuisance due to their tendency to invade homes for food.
They’re mostly nocturnal but may also forage during the day during spring and summer.
Yellow Crazy Ants
Yellow crazy ants get their name from their color and erratic way of walking. They’re considered one of the worst invasive ant species in the world. They build large colonies which drive out other animals and disrupt the ecosystem.
Yellow crazy ants are generally nocturnal or crepuscular. They generally forage at night or early morning.
Do Ants Sleep?
Yes, ants do sleep but they do so in a manner that’s much different from humans. Ants are polyphasic, meaning they sleep for more than 2 episodes daily. Instead of one elongated period of rest, they take multiple short naps throughout the day.
One study shows that queen ants averaged 92 sleep episodes per day. Each of these episodes lasts around 6 minutes. On the other hand, worker ants averaged 253 sleep episodes lasting 1 minute each.
Read this article to learn more about how ants sleep.
When Are Ants Most Active?
Ants are most active during the warmer months of the year. They emerge from their nests in spring and usually peak during summer. By fall they begin to slow down and may enter a hibernation-like state during the winter.
Read this article to learn more about ant hibernation.
Day-wise, it depends on factors such as species and environmental conditions. Ants can be nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular and work at different times.
To summarize, some ants are active at night. Bull ants, carpenter ants, and pavement ants are just some examples of nocturnal ants.
These ants forage during the nighttime. Using their visual adaptations and strategies they work well even in the darkness. They take full advantage of the night to avoid predators, competition, and heat.