I hate carpenter bees! If you live in a log house or are moving into one, I strongly suggest you consider treating the wood with some sort of something; I speak from experience. We've lived in a log house for about 20 years and every spring there's quite a hoo-hah when the carpenter bees start coming around.
According to a number of sources, these guys are important for pollination, but they have a bad habit of making nuisances of themselves. If you've got one of those redwood swingsets for your kids, consider it a nice home for the bees, 'cause your kids aren't going to want to play on it while the bees are out and about. These sources also say that while carpenter bees are classified as a pest, they're not likely to do any severe structural damage unless they're left for successive--and numerous--generations; and contrary to what one might think, they don't actually eat wood. They just chew it up and spit it out in the form of extremely fine sawdust. So the problem, then, is that your house slowly begins to resemble an oversized, wooden Swiss cheese.
Today, mom decided it was time to start filling in the burrows. The MO was plastic wood a la Minwax.
Well, says I, what we really should do is measure the diameter of the burrows, head out to Lowe's, and buy some dowels, and use small pieces to fill in the holes.
Well, says mom, the bits of dowel will be visible and people will notice them when they come to the house--like the plastic wood won't be visible, right?
All right, says I, and into the house I go to get a knife and the jar of plastic wood to start working on the burrows.
Well, its three hours later and the bees have not only continued about their business, but they've begun clearing out the plastic wood so they can move back into their little houses. I called dad to tell him what happened and he said, "Did you spray the holes with insecticide before you filled them in?"
Well, gee, no we didn't. This, apparently, is what you're supposed to do for a more topical approach to the problem; it's also one alternative to painting your house with insecticidal wood preserver. And hope the woodpeckers discover the impromptu mid-morning snack... and don't decide to return at dawn to start hammering on the downspout.
And, just for kicks--and because Rachael's cool and she's doing it--I'm going to take another stab at knitting toe up socks. Thank you so much for your detailed explanation of provisional casting on; it's much easier than the figure eight cast on I tried before. :)