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The Bug Blog

What about Orange Oil Treaments?
Pros and Cons

December 30, 2015
by Brian Olson, CEO, the bugman

An orange oil treatment for termites is localized spot application of each identified termite infestation and will only kill termites in the areas treated. Treatment with orange oil requires drilling into the infested wood members and injecting the product into the termite galleries. Orange oil is effective for drywood termites, not subterranean termite infestations.

Orange oil termite control is an effective method of treatment for localized drywood termites. But don’t assume that traditional treatments and fumigation are no longer valid options. Only tent fumigation can guarantee complete drywood termite eradication of an entire structure at once. Why is this? 90−95% of a buildings wood framing is covered by drywall, plaster, flooring, insulation, paint, roofing, stucco and so on. Localized treatment with orange oil will only control the infestation in the areas where an infestation can be identified and treated. Termites spread by swarming (flying) and can land in the most secluded places in a structure to begin a new infestation; if you can't get to that area for a thorough inspection then you will have no knowledge of the need for treatment in that area either.

Disadvantages of Orange Oil Termite Control:

  • Orange oil is localized - will not control undetected infestations.
  • Large treatments with orange oil could cost more than fumigation.
  • Orange oil does not leave a long lasting residual for future protection.
  • Orange oil requires drilling into your walls and wood members.

After some companies claimed that orange oil treatments were similar or better than fumigation treatments, the California Structural Pest Control Board reminded pest management professionals not to confuse and misinform customers: “orange oil is another localized treatment tool…against the elusive drywood termite. It is not an alternative to all-encompassing methods of treatment” such as fumigations. Like other localized treatment chemicals, orange oil treatment entails injection or surface treatment of wood members. Sulfuryl fluoride fumigation is best for complete eradication of large infestations or to inaccessible areas where a local treatment is not feasible. Fumigation has been extensively researched and effectively used for decades with strict procedures and specific control safety measures reviewed and supervised by Structural Pest Control Board, EPA and Department of Pesticide Regulation. Every year, thousands of residential and commercial structures, freight railroad cars and trucks, food silo and storage depots are fumigated under strict supervision against termites, beetles, rodents and other food born pests. Fumigation is always considered a last result option and may be the only solution for large and widespread infestations where local treatments are not technically or financial feasible.

In spite of its ”green and eco-friendly" marketing appeal, orange oil is not as effective or long lasting against drywood termites as other termiticides. Depending on the accessibility and size of the infestation, we apply local treatments using one or several reliable termiticides to combat and eradicate drywood termite infestations.

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