Compact Carpenter Ant | Camponotus planatus

California Pest Rating  for
Compact Carpenter Ant | Camponotus planatus
Hymenoptera:  Formicidae
Pest Rating: A



Initiating Event:

Camponotus planatus has been intercepted 34 times in 2018 during January and February at various CDFA border stations during inspection of vehicles entering CA. Recently, multiple live ants of this species have been intercepted at on a trailer entering Blyth inspection station (PDR # BL0P06743971). The trailer was carrying a load of bee colonies, originating from Florida. Camponotus planatus has temporary rating of “Q”.  A pest rating proposal is required to determine a permanent pest rating.

History & Status:

BackgroundCamponotus planatus is a small polymorphic ant. It is primarily an arboreal species, but it is increasingly becoming a structural pest in Florida. These ants feed on drops of honey dew from exterior walls of structures, trees, shrubs, along sidewalks and through lawns. This ant species is a day-active ant; therefore, they are observed more than nocturnal carpenter ants. (University of Florida)

Camponotus planatus have colonies with a single queen. Queens start new colonies and care for the first larvae until they develop into workers. Workers in turn begin to forage for food and to care for the queen, new eggs and the larvae. Colonies continue to grow for 2-5 years. Newly winged reproductives, known as Alates, are observed from spring to fall. (University of Florida)

The most common habitats of Camponotus planatus include hollow twigs, empty spaces in trunks of trees, dead wood, old termite galleries and leaf axils of palm (Deyrup 1991)

Worldwide DistributionCamponotus planatus is widely distributed in Cuba, and from Mexico to Columbia. In United State, it is well established in parts of Florida including Sarasota in Tempa, East Miami (Deyrup, 1991), Texas and Hawaii. These ants have also been reported in Fort Myers in Lee county, Coconut Groves areas in Dade county, Hillsborough ,Manatee, Monroe, Orange  and Sarasota counties areas in Miami, Florida (Warner and Scheffrahn, 2017).

Official Control: Camponotus has been named as a harmful organism in Namibia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, and Taiwan (PCIT)

California DistributionCamponotus planatus has never been found in the natural environment of California.

California InterceptionsCamponotus planatus was intercepted 28 times between January 2014 and October 22, 2017 by CDFA at various border station during inspection of vehicles entering California.

The risk Camponotus planatus (compact carpenter ant) would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction: 

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Camponotus planatus has been found in tropical moist forests, wet lowland forests and tropical rain forests of the world. This species commonly feeds on honey dew from structural walls with surface temperatures of up to 37-degree Celsius. (University of Florida). Many Camponotus species are found in foothill and mountain communities of California. (Pest of Homes, Structures, People and Pets, UCANR Publication). It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate if the pest would have suitable hosts and climate to establish in California:

Score: 3

– Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

– Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Camponotus planatus live in hollow tree twigs, old termite galleries, dead wood, voids in tree trunks and leaf axil bases in palms. These habitats can be found throughout California. It receives a Medium (2) in this category.

Evaluate the host range of the pest:

Score: 2

– Low (1) has a very limited host range.

Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

– High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Camponotus planatus develops by complete metamorphosis by going through egg, larva, pupa in silk cocoon and adult stages. Single queen starts new colony of male, female and worker ants. This colony can continue to grow for 2-5 years. Once the colony is mature, it produces winged adults that go for mating flights between spring and fall. Colony size can be up to 10000 worker ants. Long distance spread of this species can be caused by movement of fire wood. It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest:

Score: 3

– Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Camponotus planatus has been found in a nursery in   Mississippi that specializes in palms (Arecaceae) and makes nests towards uppermost part of palms. There are nurseries in the south coast of California that produce and sell palm trees. The crop quality and value can be impacted if this species were to get establish in the state. Camponotus planatus may also be a significant predator of native ants and other arthropods. Camponotus planatus is not only likely to become a nuisance pest of exterior buildings but it can also enter the buildings through structural cracks and crevices. It has been reported to protect honeydew producing insects (MacGown 2014). It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the economic impact of the pest to California using the criteria below:

Economic Impact: A, D, E

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Economic Impact Score: 3

– Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

– Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

– High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Camponotus planatus is reported to exert ecological pressure on native ants. In natural ecosystem, carpenter ants play an important role by decomposing wood back into soil (Harris & Berry, 1994). Since this species is mainly a pest of structures and wood, it could significantly impact cultural practices like trimming of tree branches close to structures, sealing of potential entry points, increasing ventilation to damp areas and storing firewood away from structures and off the ground. It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below:

Environmental Impact: A, E

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact:

Environmental Impact Score: 3

– Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

– Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Camponotus planatus (compact carpenter ant): High (14)

Add up the total score and include it here:

-Low = 5-8 points

-Medium = 9-12 points

High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Camponotus planatus (compact carpenter ant) has never been found in the environment and receives a Not established (0) in this category.

Evaluate the known distribution in California. Only official records identified by a taxonomic expert and supported by voucher specimens deposited in natural history collections should be considered. Pest incursions that have been eradicated, are under eradication, or have been delimited with no further detections should not be included:

Score: 0

Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

-Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

-Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

-High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score:

The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: High (14)


Camponotus planatus is being intercepted regularly at various border station of California. Even though it has not been found in the natural environment, it can likely be introduced from south eastern states especially Florida, Texas and Hawaii. Since various Camponotus species are found in California, it is possible that C. planatus may be present in some areas especially in palm growing nurseries in southern California.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Camponotus planatus has never been found in the environment of California and would likely to have significant economic and environmental impacts if it were to enter the state.  An “A”-rating is justified.


Ant Wiki, Assessed 10/23/2017

Ant Key ID Guide. Introduced ants. Camponotus planatus. Assessed 10/23/2017

Ant Web: Assessed 10/24/2017

Deyrup MA. 1991. Exotic Ants of the Florida Keys (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the 4th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas. 21 pp.

Deyrup, M.  2003. An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 86: 43-48.

Harris, Richard & Berry Jo. 1994. Invasive Ant Threat. Information Sheet Number 2: Camponotus Mayr. Biosecurity New Zealand. Assessed 10/25/2017

H. Klotz, Dept. of Entomology, UC Riverside; M. K. Rust, Dept. of Entomology, UC Riverside; and L. D. Hansen, Dept. of Life Sciences, Spokane Falls Community College.

Pest Notes: Carpenter Ants. UCANR Publication 7416, UC Statewide IPM Program, UC Davis. Assessed 10/25/2017

MacGown Joe, Camponotus planatus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an Exotic Carpenter Ant Found in Mississippi, Mississippi Entomological Museum, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, 39762, Assessed 10/25/2017

MacGwon, Joe. A. 2014. Ants (Formicidae) of the southeastern united states. Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University. Assessed 10/25/2017.

USDA Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT) Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD). Assesses 10/24/2017

Warner, John and Scheffrahn, Rudolph. 2017. Featured Creatures: Camponotus planatus. University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology. Assessed 10/24/2017


Raj Randhawa, 1220 ‘N’ Street, Room 221, Sacramento CA 95814, (916) 403-6617,[@]

Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 2800 Gateway Oaks, Sacramento CA 95833, (916) 654-1211,[@]

Comment Period:* CLOSED

4/11/18 – 5/26/18


You must be registered and logged in to post a comment.  If you have registered and have not received the registration confirmation, please contact us at[@]

Comment Format:

♦  Comments should refer to the appropriate California Pest Rating Proposal Form subsection(s) being commented on, as shown below.

Example Comment:
Consequences of Introduction:  1. Climate/Host Interaction: [Your comment that relates to “Climate/Host Interaction” here.]

♦  Posted comments will not be able to be viewed immediately.

♦  Comments may not be posted if they:

Contain inappropriate language which is not germane to the pest rating proposal;

Contains defamatory, false, inaccurate, abusive, obscene, pornographic, sexually oriented, threatening, racially offensive, discriminatory or illegal material;

Violates agency regulations prohibiting sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination;

Violates agency regulations prohibiting workplace violence, including threats.

♦  Comments may be edited prior to posting to ensure they are entirely germane.

♦  Posted comments shall be those which have been approved in content and posted to the website to be viewed, not just submitted.

Pest Rating: A


Posted by ls