Orange Oil Termite Treatment: Is It Effective?

Termite control methods can be confusing and difficult to choose for consumers. Though there are many treatment options available, not all of them are safe and environmentally friendly. Demand for toxin-free and eco-friendly green products is surging these days, as cautious homeowners are worried about chemicals in everything from apples to cosmetics. Homeowners are therefore now hunting for safe insecticides for personal health and environmental reasons. Recently they have shown interest in orange oil termite treatment method, which is becoming popular as a greener option to get rid of termites and is known to meet the criterion for being a safer and an eco-friendlier option to kill the termites. This article explores what exactly orange oil is, what is an orange oil termite treatment, how is it carried out, and does it even work?

What is the orange oil?

Orange oil is a natural product derived from oranges. It contains an active component called D-limonene which is extracted from the orange peel and which is solely responsible for its termite killing properties. The compound D-Limonene is known to be extremely toxic to these insects while being almost harmless to humans and pets. This compound can also be found in many household cleaning products and food additives and is believed to be non-toxic and a safer ingredient than any other termiticides, which have been conventionally used to counter the termites.

Orange essential oil

Tatevosian Yana/

Types of orange oil

Orange oil comes in solutions of different levels, from as little as 10% to up to 95%. The treatment involves drilling holes and injecting of the wood with the orange oil. With its gravity-defying property, orange oil can saturate the infested areas in the wood really well. A product that is often used to do this treatment is XT-2000. It is derived from the steam-distilled orange peel and therefore contains 95% pure D-limonene. Treatments like the XT-2000 Orange Oil Plus can effectively destroy the termites on contact. While the fumes these treatments release both acts as a toxin to the termites and emit a pleasant orange fragrance.

How orange oil works

Fumes concentrated with D-limonene kill the termites by destroying their eggs and breaking down their exoskeleton. Also, when sprayed, D-limonene gets easily absorbed into wooden surfaces so when termites go to feed on the treated wood, they ingest the D-limonene and are killed instantly.

Advantages of orange oil termite treatment

Orange oil is considered the least toxic insecticide for killing termites and other pests since it does not leave any residue or pollute the air. It is regarded as safe for plants, humans, and pets too. Unlike most traditional anti-termite methods like fumigation, orange oil does not need any advance preparation or planning by the homeowner before or during the treatment. The homeowner can even stay at home while the orange oil is being applied. Another big advantage of orange oil termite treatment is also that it is easily available in the stores. On top of that, the treatment is quick and you can even apply it yourself if you don’t want to call in professionals to do it. And since orange oil is extracted from orange peel, it has a pleasant smell which will leave the treated area smelling nice and orangey. Hence why it is quickly becoming one of the more popular termite treatment options amongst homeowners.

Disadvantages of orange oil termite treatment

Sadly, orange oil is known to be effective only against drywood termites. While it will do poorly when trying to combat subterranean termites with it. Also, orange oil is just a spot treatment for termites meaning that it is only effective for small, localized termite infestations. Therefore only the termites residing in the areas targeted with the orange oil applicator will get eradicated. While the termites hidden in locations that you can’t reach with the applicator such as behind drywall will stay termite-infested. Hence why it is evident that the orange oil treatment as compared to a conventional method like termite fumigation is much less thorough and efficient since it does not penetrate the walls, floors, and other surfaces very deeply where the termites are most likely to be hiding. So if you are thinking of either using orange oil to get rid of termites yourself or call in a professional to apply the orange oil termite treatment, you need to first locate the termites. And if you fail to detect all termite colonies, the infestation will be mostly untreated and left to flourish.

The overall biggest disadvantage of orange oil is its effectiveness.

Various studies and tests show that orange oil is limited in its effectiveness against termite control due to its short residual effect because once the treatment has dissipated, there’s no residue left to prevent an occurring termite problem.

Orange oil therefore needs to be combined with other long-residual methods of termite treatment for deriving an all-encompassing and lasting solution of countering termites.

And lastly, another con of orange oil is that it is not totally harmless and may cause health problems for those who have allergies to active components like d-limonene. So be careful if you still chose to spot-treat your termite problem with orange oil.

A residual effect of orange oil

According to a study by Dr. Varnard Lewis and R. Michael Rust, the compound D-Limonene has an application afterlife of only a few days. The study notes that the compound lacks the long-lasting residual strength to completely destroy the drywood termite colonies, which means the termites survive the treatment and start re-infesting the treated wood.

The study recommends that technicians treating termite infestations with orange oil also use strong residual termiticides such as Tim-Bor or Termidor that leave a long-lasting effect on killing the termites which orange oil does not provide. Therefore if you are thinking of employing an orange oil treatment for combating termites, make sure you also use a bit more long-lasting treatment alongside the orange oil treatment.


So is orange oil effective as termite treatment? The answer is not so easy, as it depends on the level of infestation that exists in your house. But despite that orange oil is still a green pesticide and certainly worth considering as a non-toxic termite management option. At least for initial termite infestation treatment. The main drawback of orange oil is that it is a spot treatment method meaning that it will only target localized infestations and treat them for a short period of time. To counter this it is recommended that, depending on the size of the infestation, you also supplement the orange oil treatment with other more potent and residual termiticides. Because this will let you combat and fully eradicate your dry wood termite infestation.


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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.

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