Spring and summer mark the reproductive season for carpenter ants, and with the arrival of warmer temperatures pest control companies are experiencing high volumes of callers asking to be rid of the pesky insects.

Taz Stuart, an entomologist at Poulin’s Pest Control in Winnipeg, said their business is in especially high demand this year.

Compared with an average of 20-25 customers per day at this time of year, Stuart told CTV Winnipeg he’s now dealing with 50 or more daily.

For the second year in a row, Karen Schmidt enlisted the help of pest control professionals to treat the ant hills sprouting around her yard, after she was unable to repel the ants herself.

“All our measures that we tried just was not doing it,” she said.

According to Stuart, the harsh winter coupled with a late spring could explain the recent explosion of ants, but the decline in use of long-lasting insecticides could also be to blame.

“Our current options are more short-term, so you may be seeing a natural increase in numbers over time,” he said.

Following the ban on long-term granular insecticides eight years ago, customers are stuck with less-effective products and must therefore repeatedly treat their yards and homes for ants and other insects.

“A number of people are coming in and talking about the same ant hill they had last year and the year before,” said Ken Land, owner of St. Mary’s Nursery and Garden Centre in Winnipeg.

But ants aren’t all bad – in fact, they’re good for your yard.

“Ants are a beneficial organism,” Stuart said, “They’re actually aerating the soil.”

Schmidt agrees that ants are important, but isn’t thrilled to have them marching all over her lawn.

“I think ants are a good thing, except when they get overpopulated. Especially carpenter ants, they can do some damage,” she said.

Carpenter ants are one of the most common types in Canada. Omnivorous, they’re attracted to sweet foods, prefer humid temperatures and typically nest in decaying wood. However, it’s not unusual for a colony to make its home in an attic or hollow wall.

There are a number of physical precautions to take against ants, such as keeping food in sealed containers and clearing any dead wood from around buildings. Those efforts work best, however, when paired with chemical deterrents like pesticides.