Orange Oil Treatment for Termites: Is It Effective?

Termite control methods can be confusing and difficult for consumers to choose from. Even though there are many treatment options available, not all of them are safe and environmentally friendly.

The demand for eco-friendly products that are non-toxic to humans is surging these days. Cautious homeowners worry about what is in everything from apples to cosmetics and more. That is why homeowners are now looking for safe insecticides for personal, health, and environmental reasons.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in orange oil termite treatments. This is quickly becoming popular as a greener way to get rid of termites as it meets the criteria for being a safer and more eco-friendly option. This article will explore what exactly orange oil is, what an orange oil termite treatment is, how it’s carried out, and if it even works.

What Is Orange Oil?

Orange oil is a natural product derived from oranges. It contains an active component called D-limonene. Once extracted from the orange peel, this chemical is responsible for the termite killing properties of orange oil.

The compound is extremely toxic to these insects while almost harmless to humans and pets. It’s also found in many household cleaning products and food additives. Orange oil is considered non-toxic and safer than many other termiticides, which have been conventionally used to fight termites in the past.

Orange essential oil

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Types of Orange Oil

Orange oil comes in insecticide solutions of different levels, most between 1 and 6%.

Orange oil treatment involves drilling holes and injecting the wood with the orange oil, which will saturate the wood and get into termite tunnels.

One product that is often used to do this treatment is XT-2000. It contains 95% pure d-limonene. Treatments like XT-2000 Orange Oil Plus is effective. A study found that injection treatments killed between 48 and 100% of termites. Lower mortality was observed in larger wood samples. 

How Orange Oil Works

Orange oil likely works as an insecticide because it is a strong solvent. It is thought to dissolve the exoskeleton of insects, causing them to lose vital proteins and fluids, causing death.

  • Orange oil is considered the least toxic insecticide for killing termites and other pests.
  • It doesn’t leave any residue or pollute the air.
  • It’s safe for humans and pets, too, although it might cause eye or skin irritation in some people.
  • It may damage plants and should not be applied when beneficial insects are active.

Advantages of Orange Oil Termite Treatments

Unlike most traditional anti-termite methods like fumigation, orange oil treatments don’t require any advance preparation or planning by the homeowner, before or during the treatment itself. The homeowner can even stay at home during the orange oil treatment. Another big advantage of orange oil termite treatments is the ease of finding orange oil in stores.

On top of that, this treatment is quick. You can even apply it yourself if you don’t want to call in the professionals to do it for you. Since orange oil is an orange peel extract, it has a pleasant smell that will leave the treated area smelling nice. This is why orange oil is quickly becoming one of the more popular termite treatment options among homeowners.

It also has little environmental effects. It is considered low in toxicity to birds, mammals, and even fish.

It is effective against both drywood and subterranean termites. In fact, a study found mortality of 68-96% of termites within 5 days of orange oil extract application.

Disadvantages of Orange Oil Termite Treatments

Orange oil is just spot treatment for termites. This means it’s only effective for small, localized termite infestations. The only termites eradicated will be those residing in the areas targeted with orange oil. The termites hidden in locations that you can’t reach with the applicator (such as behind the drywall) will remain alive and untouched.

This makes orange oil treatments much less thorough and efficient when compared to conventional methods like termite fumigation. It can’t penetrate deeply into the walls, floors, and other surfaces where the termites are most likely to be hiding.

So, if you’re thinking of either using orange oil to get rid of termites (by doing it yourself or calling in a professional), you’ll need to locate the termites first. If you fail to detect all termite colonies, the infestation will remain mostly untreated and allowed to flourish.

The overall biggest disadvantage of orange oil is its effectiveness.

Various studies and tests have shown that orange oil is limited in its effectiveness against termites. This is due to its short residual effect. Once the treatment has dissipated, no residue will remain to prevent a reoccurring termite problem.

Therefore, you need to combine orange oil with other long-lasting methods of termite treatment. This will ensure that you have an all-encompassing and lasting solution to combat any termites on your property.

Lastly, another disadvantage of orange oil is that it isn’t 100% harmless. In fact, it may cause health problems for those who have allergies to its active components, including d-limonene. It may also cause stomach problems if accidentally ingested. So, be careful if you still choose to spot treat your termite problem with orange oil.

Residual Effects of Orange Oil

According to a study by Dr. Varnard Lewis and R. Michael Rust, d-limonene cannot completely destroy drywood termite colonies. Other works have determined that it has low residual activity. This means that the termites who survive the treatment can start re-infesting the treated wood once the oil has evaporated.

The study recommends that technicians treating termite infestations with orange oil also use strong residual termiticides such as Tim-Bor or Termidor. These have a long-lasting effect, killing the termites that orange oil does not. Therefore, if you’re thinking of using an orange oil treatment for termites, make sure you also use a longer-lasting treatment alongside it.

Conclusion

So, is orange oil effective as a termite treatment? This depends on the level of infestation that exists in your house. Despite that, orange oil remains a green pesticide. It’s certainly worth considering as a non-toxic termite management option, at least for the initial treatment.

The main drawback of orange oil is that it’s a spot treatment method. It’ll only target localized infestations and treat them for a short period of time. To counter this, it’s best to supplement the orange oil treatment with more potent and residual termiticides. This will depend on the size of the infestation, of course. A combined approach will allow you to fully combat and eradicate your drywood termite infestation.

3 Comments

Sandra Turakus

This is helpful. However, I had orange oil treatment to my house about 10 to 15 years ago and this is the first time I have seen them.

Anne Thorne

Does orange oil kill ant infestations as well? people are saying the ants eat the termite larvae. Is that true?

    InsectCop

    Ants do eat termites, as they provide a decent amount of protein. As for the oil, yes, it should be effective to kill ants.

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