You are trying to enjoy a warm sunny afternoon on your deck when suddenly what looks like a gigantic bumble bee begins to hover around you and seems to be diving at you in an attempt to scare you away. The good news is that this bee is most likely not going to sting you, it looks much scarier than it really is, the bad news is that you are looking at a carpenter bee. They are not called carpenter bees because they belong to the union. They are called carpenter bees because they bore a perfectly round, about 1/2″, hole into wood and then hollow a cavern along the grain in which they will store food, insects and pollen, with which to feed the eggs they lay.
Although the damage from one carpenter bee may seem insignificant, this years couple of bees will become next years six or eight bees and so on and so forth until the holes in the wood and deterioration of the caverns makes the wood weak and unsightly. Telltale signs of carpenter bee activity beyond the nuisance the bees create would be the 1/2″ holes described here, small piles of saw dust under exposed wood and occasionally you will see what looks like an upside down ‘v’ or an arrow head shaped mark on a wall below a carpenter bee hole. This mark consists of droppings and pollen or honey dew being carried into the carpenter bee nest.