Orange oil treatment seems to be touted more and more as an innovative miracle… a green chemical and a completely safe and effective method of termite control.
But is this really true? Or is orange oil treatment just another hyped-up marketing scam?
The short answer is that it can be effective for certain types of termite infestations. Primarily it is effective for spot treatment or as a preventative measure for surgical termite treatment…. but it does have downsides.
What exactly is orange oil?
Well, many people read a few articles or watch some youtube videos and decide to save some cash by not hiring a professional pest inspector.
This can turn out to be a costly mistake for a lot of people because they simply don’t possess the knowledge, experience, and the advanced tools that many termite pest control professionals do.
If you hire a professional pest controller, they will be able to accurately assess the situation in and around you home.
Any pest control pro who knows their stuff will tell you that orange oil treatment is not meant to be a replacement to fumigation.
That is like comparing apples to oranges, no pun intended.
Termite tenting (also called fumigation) involves surrounding an entire home with a tarp-like tent and then fumigating the entire home. There is still no other method that is as effective at completely eradicating an entire structure of termites.
The only downside is that it requires the inhabitants to evacuate their home for a brief period of time (people and pets). In addition to this, you have to remove all your food, medication, drink, etc. so that it does not become contaminated. Also, keep in mind, fumigation is expensive.
The idea of a chemical strong enough to kill off these little insects in your house getting all over people’s homes turns many people to look for a green and natural termite eradication solutions. Which is why I believe orange oil treatment has gained such popularity.
But here’s the thing, orange oil is not effective for getting rid of all types of infestations. It can only be effectively used in spot treatment. Furthermore, there are some studies by reputable sources (Univerisity Entomology Departments) that would cause most people to question its effectiveness when used alone, not to mention it appears to be quite flamable as demonstrated in a video later in this article. I will get to the negative points of using orange oil for termite treatment, but first lets go over the positives aspects of it.
What is spot treatment?
Essentially it is treating a limited area (known as spot treatment) for an infestation because the inspector is confident that the termite colony is limited to a small area that is accessible to the pest control personnel.
In these instances, the pest controller can simply drill small holes in the wood that the termites have decided to make their home and inject termite oil in order to soak the wood and kill off the termites.
So, How Does Orange Oil Work?
The active ingredient in orange oil is D-limonene which is found in many other household cleaning products and is extracted from orange peels. It has some toxicity but it is very low toxicity to humans.
The oil can be used as a spraying solution. In this case, the spray mixture should be applied every spring to areas such as the attic, crawlspaces, and other areas that there is large areas of unprotected and exposed wood. When you are applying this spray it is still important to use gloves and a breathing mask of some sort. Even though it is a natural treatment method it is still highly concentrated and should not be breathed in or given direct contact to the skin.
Another way it can be effectively applied is to wood what will replace wood that was “surgically” removed from an infested area. This will help prevent a repeat infestation.
Probably the most commonly used type of orange oil used for termite treatment purposes is XT-2000.
Before you go out and buy some orange oil today you should take the time to familiarize yourself with other elimination and prevention treatments so you know how effective the various methods are prior to making a decision. Remember there are many tools available from professional pest control companies to give you maximum results in termite detection, prevention, and extermination. There are even quite a few other DIY termite treatment and prevention methods that you can enact. Just do a little research and decide whether you want to leave it to the professionals or tackle it yourself.
Here is an interesting study conducted by University of California Berkley that came to the conclusion that orange oil termite treatment (at least XT-2000) was nearly equal in effectiveness for spot treatments as using water would have been.
Orange Oil Termite Treatment FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How effective is orange oil at preventing and killing termite?
How long does an orange oil treatment last and how often should it be repeated?
How safe is orange oil treatment? Are there any dangers to it? Kelly M., California
“I’ve heard that orange oil treatment is flammable, is that true?” – Dave, Arizona
How expensive is it? How much does orange oil treatment cost compared to other methods of termite control?
Can I do an orange oil treatment myself? Where can I purchase orange oil?
What other tools would I need to use orange oil?
How is termite oil applied to my home? Amanda, Florida
What are the advantages and disadvantages of orange oil termite control?
Do most pest control companies offer this form of termite treatment?
Have their been any tests on orange oil?
“Does it have an odor? If so how long does it linger?” Martha – San Diego, California
Yes, unsurprisingly, orange oil smells quite a bit like oranges, but the smell fades away after a while.
- D-Linolene is the active ingredient
- Possible increased fire hazard
- Doesn’t require evacuation like fumigation
- Works for spot treatment, no known toxicity to humans
- Relatively new so not significant history to judge efficacy and safety.