Insects that attack timbers do so mostly in forest and woodland habitats. We fill our properties with timbers as a building material and effectively lay out the insect’s food material in extensive amounts (joists, floorboards, joinery and roof timbers) available for insects to infest. We encourage attack further by placing these timbers in areas where dampness can occur e.g. ground floor and roofs, and sometimes in areas where leakage of water onto local timbers can occur too e.g. bathrooms and kitchens. However, timbers do not necessarily need to be damp to be infested.
Pre-treatment of timbers with insecticide will prevent infestation but in older properties treated timbers have not usually been used in the original building. Design features of older buildings might encourage dampness to occur and insect infestation in these older properties is not unusual.