A bug expert said he expects 2019 to be a banner year for carpenter ants.

Winnipeg entomologist Taz Stuart said he’s received a swarm of calls and complaints from residents about colonies of carpenter ants roaming in and around their homes.

Carpenter ants, an insect that varies in size between one-eighth and five-eighths of an inch and are coloured red, black, brown or mixed, are workers who nest and build passageways in wooden structures. The wood is typically dead or decaying such as firewood, fencing posts and/or under logs or stones.

The ants set up colonies within the structures near or inside a home and transport food to a home nest.

Stuart said his calls for ants are up 18 per cent from 2018 and that past mild winters might have contributed to the growth of its size and colonies.

“Colonies may have in the past three to six years developed to a larger version that we're seeing out there,” Stuart said.

Stuart said residents should be mindful of the inner network the ants build.

“They will over time will go through the wood, make it very weak and let's say there's a wind storm, it can break it can actually break and fall apart.”

The entomologist noted that when using treatment products, residents should follow the instructions exactly and use protective gloves when applying.