Termites cost homeowners billions of dollars each year in damages, treatments, and repairs. While traditional termite treatments are extremely effective at eliminating and controlling termite populations, environmentally sensitive homeowners often go in search of more green pest control options. One popular trend on the market today is orange oil treatments. Orange oil is an extract from orange rinds and is commonly used in cleaning solutions and food additives. The active ingredient in orange oil treatment is D-limonene which kills termites on contact by breaking down their exoskeleton and destroying their eggs. Orange oil treatments are the most common no-tent, no move out, organic termite control solutions.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of orange oil termite treatments:
- Low toxicity and more environmentally friendly than other termite control options
- Effective against drywood termites, carpenter ants, and wood-boring beetles
- No need to move out at night during treatment
- No need to remove plants or board pets during treatment
- No need to bag up food or medicinal supplies during treatment
- No potential damage from treatment to roof tiles
- Not effective against subterranean termites
- Although low toxicity, should not be ingested. Prolonged exposure to oil or fumes can cause skin and eye irritation, nausea and vomiting, lung irritation, and other symptoms
- Product is flammable and combustible once wicked into wood
- Only kills termites on contact and will not kill any undetected infestations
- Treatment requires drilling holes into your walls and other wood components of your home
- Multiple treatments are required as the entire colony is usually not exterminated during a single treatment
- Treatment of larger infestations can be more expensive than fumigation methods
- Treatment can only be applied to existing infestations; there is no residual protection against future infestations
Orange oil treatments are only effective against drywood termites because these pests live and colonize the wood they are infesting. They are not effective against subterranean termites as these pests live in the soil and only come up to feed on wood. Orange oil treatments will begin with a termite inspection to determine the type of termite and the extent of the infestation. Once the areas of termite damage and activity are identified, the technician will drill a hole into the wood and treat the infested areas. Orange oil is then injected into these drilled holes where it spreads throughout the wood beams via capillary action, passing through porous cells in all directions. This kills any termites and eggs on contact. This does not, however, kill any termites that don’t come in contact with the oil treatment. After treatment, the holes are then patched and painted.
In summary, orange oil does, in fact, kill termites but it is limited in its effectiveness. It is considered a secondary spot treatment as it is only effective when it is applied to areas with active infestations. Any termites that remain undetected and untreated will continue to eat, continuing the damage to your home. Because of this, multiple treatments are usually required. These treatments don’t eliminate the entire termite colony, leaving your home vulnerable. Whole structure treatment (fumigation) is a guaranteed method of completely exterminating termites from a structure. During fumigation, the whole house is treated at once. Fumigant gas is used to penetrate the walls, floor, lumber, and other surfaces where termites reside. If you suspect you have a termite issue, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of termite you have, the scope of the infestation, and the best treatment options for your home.