Compact Carpenter Ant

This handsome large, red ant is native to Central America but has been, like so many other species, introduced to Florida and is slowly making its way into Texas.

There are a lot of pages purporting to be about the compact carpenter ant, Campnotus planatus, but despite this it still suffers from Wikipedia Stub Syndrome, with all the pages apparently quoting each other, and nobody getting much past “forages solitarily and diurnally”, “nests in wood”, and “colonies with a single queen”. The Mississippi Entomological Museum seems to have the most in-depth visual identification description of this species.

Opinion seems to be divided over whether or not I should be concerned that these ants are eating my house. They don’t eat wood; they eat “honeydew”, an excretion of insects such as aphids. However, they nest in wood (they are “opportunistic cavity nesters”), so who knows.

This individual has been helpfully identified by the denizens of iNaturalist.

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