AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Ants are coming out in force right now. They're being spotted everywhere - inside and outside.
It’s that time of year. The sun is out and so are those little guys.
Braman Termite and Pest Elimination's entomologist Natasha Wright told Western Mass News if you're seeing more ants than usual, you're not crazy.
"We had a pretty mild winter and the problem with winter is a lot of things will die. The hard frosts will kill them, so since we didn't have a lot of hard frosts, didn't have a lot of cold temperatures, it's possible that a lot of those ant colonies survived, that may have succumbed to that cold weather,” Wright said.
While many of these insects are typically harmless, Wright said you should be on the lookout for the big black ants - carpenter ants
"The problem they can cause is they will bore through wood and form nesting sites, so they're not quite as bad as termites. They're not eating the wood, but when they bore through the wood and let them do that for a long time, it can cause structural damage,” Wright explained.
Despite living on the outside of your home, Wright said ants can easily find their way in.
"They have a parent colony that's usually out on some kind of stump, or rotting fence post, and then they can have these little satellite colonies, which are little buds and so you can get the satellite colony in your house,” Wright noted.
Areas around windows and near the sink are places where carpenter ants can be found.
"They like to eat bugs, so if you have bugs, most places have bugs, they're eating the bugs. If you have plants that have aphids on them, aphids actually suck the juices out of plants, and in return, they produce a sweet liquid for the carpenter ants,” Wright added.
Wright said ants are attracted to some of the simplest things in our home.
"It's food, it's wood. A lot of times, it's wood with moisture, so if you have a water leak, that's a conducive condition for either termites or carpenter ants to move in,” Wright said.
Chopping through the wood, these ants will eventually create sawdust. That’s something Wright said is a sign you don't want to overlook.
"Sawdust….so as they excavate that wood, you're going to see sawdust with dead ants in it and little pieces of insects that they've eaten. That's a sign that you've probably got a satellite colony in your home,” Wright said.
The best thing you can do to prevent carpenter ants from coming in your home is spot them early and pick up the phone.
"They're very hard to treat if you don't know what you're looking for, so get a professional pest control company to take care of carpenter ants...definitely not a do-it-yourself kind of job,” Wright added.