Carpenter bees are not social and do not live in nests or colonies like many other bees. The adults will overwinter, most often in abandoned nest tunnels. In the Spring, the survivors emerge, feed on nectar and the mating begins. Mating extends into the nest construction time where the female bee will use an old gallery or hole or bore an entirely new one. So the carpenter bee isn’t eating the wood but actually boring into it to create the nesting. Either way, it’s causing damage to the wood. Females of the carpenter bee will nest in a wide range of woods but prefer weathered, unpainted wood.
Carpenter bee control consists of treating each hole or gallery with the appropriately labeled pesticide. It is recommended that the hole not be sealed for at least 48 hours so that the female has time to be exposed to the pesticide. Sealing the holes without pesticide while the bee is inside will only result in the bee boring back out of the hole.