Small carpenter bees are black, bluish green, or blue, and often have yellowish or whitish markings on the pronotal lobes, and legs. There are two genera within the family, small carpenter bees, and large carpenter bees.
Small carpenter bee generally eschews human habitation for plant material. Members of this genus excavate nests with their mandibles in the pith of broken or burned plant twigs and stems. Both male and female carpenter bees overwinter as adults within their old nest tunnels. Adults emerge in the spring (April and early May) and mate. In the spring, this resting place (hibernaculum) is modified into a brood nest by further excavation. The female collects pollen and nectar, places this mixture (called beebread) inside the excavation within the plant stem, lays an egg on the provision, and then caps off the cell with chewed plant material. Several cells are constructed end to end in each plant stem, the number depending upon the depth to which the nest was excavated. It is thought the female bee remains with the nest, guarding it until all her progeny have emerged.