Ants in Iowa, Common

Prepared by Donald R. Lewis and Laura Jesse, Department of Entomology, Iowa State University. A PDF of this information is available below.

Carpenter Ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus

  • 1/2 to 3/4 inch; 1 node
  • Black 
  • Evenly rounded thorax

Artist rendering of a carpenter ant

"Smaller" Carpenter Ant, Camponotus nearcticus

  • 1/4 - 1/2 inch; 1 node; Brown; red thorax
  • Evenly rounded thorax


Artist rendering of a 'smaller' carpenter ant

Field Ant, Formica spp.

  • 3/8 inch; 1 node
  • Brown to black
  • Thorax silhouette uneven in side view

Artist rendering of a field ant

Larger Yellow Ant, Acanthomyops interjectus

  • 1/4 inch; 1 node, Yellow-orange
  • Very small eyes


Artist rendering of a larger yellow ant

Odorous House Ant, Tapinoma sessile

  • 1/8 inch; 1 node that is not easily seen
  • Dark brown to black
  • Abdomen slopes forward over node

Artist rendering of an odorous house ant

Thief Ant or Grease Ant, Solenopsis molesta

  • 1/16 inch; 2 nodes
  • Light brown to yellow
  • 10 antenna segments, w/ 2 segment club

Artist rendering of a grease ant

Pavement Ant, Tetramorium immigrans

  • 1/16 to 1/8 inch; 2 nodes
  • Yellowish red; One pair of spines on thorax
  • Sculptured lines on head

Artist rendering of a pavement ant

Pharaoh Ant, Monomorium pharaonis

  • 1/16 inch; 2 nodes, light yellowish red
  • 12 antenna segments, w/ 3 segment club


Artist rendering of a pharaoh ant

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on September 1, 2016. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.