orange oil for termites

Does using orange oil for termites work?

There used to be a billboard in Los Angeles with the heading, “Been Ripped Off By Orange Oil?” with a phone number to call for information. One can assume that enough people felt taken-in by orange oil’s claims that the billboard was needed.

These days, it seems everyone is looking for natural and organic ways to address everything. Many of us in the pest management industry have heeded that call for organic pest control. Western Exterminator is concerned about the environment and the footprint we will leave for our grandchildren. We take great steps to use green pest control solutions whenever possible.

One of the best and easiest ways to get rid of termites and prevent termites from returning is to contact your local Western Exterminator office today. We will inspect your property for termite damage and offer solutions to keep termites away.

What is orange oil?

XT-2000 Orange Oil, also known as D-limonene, is an essential oil derived from orange rinds. A renewable resource and by-product of orange juice manufacturing, XT-2000 Orange Oil is a natural pesticide that the orange tree produces to protect its fruit and is commonly used in cleaning solutions, shampoos, and perfumes.

Is orange oil for termites effective?

At Western Exterminator, we have reduced the use of traditional pesticides by nearly 70% since 2000 with our PestFree365+ residential service. But frankly, some companies are taking advantage of consumers when it comes to orange oil.

Now, we love oranges as much as the next guy but we have to set the record straight about using orange oil for termites. Orange oil has its place and is a product Western Exterminator has on its termite management playlist but we don’t spin that record (or stream it!) all that often; in fact, it’s never been a #1 hit.


Studies show orange oil is not 100% effective for termite control

Why you ask? A study from the University of California showed that under ideal laboratory conditions, orange oil delivered only a 77% termite mortality rate. A 77% average is good if you are a baseball player, but not for termite control. For a termite management professional and their customers, those numbers add up to disaster.

It only takes two termites to restart a colony (termites are believers in lean manufacturing practices!). If you do not eliminate the entire colony in a structure, you can leave behind very angry, hungry termites with a wood chip on their tiny shoulders.

Those two hungry termites will eventually expand their brood to thousands and they will have just one mission in mind – eat as much of the wood in your home as they can. That means your kitchen cabinets, floorboard and wall supports, outdoor decks…anything made of wood is a potential item for their shopping list!

Referencing the University of California study, and using nice round numbers, if the termite colony in your home only had 100 members (not even close to the thousands and thousands in a normal colony), orange oil could say good-bye to 77 but that would leave 23 still ready to feast on your home.

Orange oil termite treatment may not eliminate a termite colony

As the results from the U.C. research study indicate, orange oil may not eliminate the entire colony and can leave homeowners vulnerable. And, after spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on termite treatment, homeowners expect that no less 100% of the termites will be eliminated. 77% just isn’t good enough!

Is orange oil effective for drywood termites?

Orange oil can be somewhat effective in treating drywood termites. Its effectiveness with drywood termites is due to the fact that they live and have colonies inside the wood that they are infesting. Conversely, orange oil is not as effective on Subterranean termites because they live in soil and come up only to feed on wood. Due to this fact, orange oil would likely not completely remove all of the termites.

drywood termite damaged wood

What is a drywood termite?

Drywood termites, unlike their subterranean counterpart, want nothing to do with dirt. They would rather take the less messy road and infest dried wood – wood with less than 12% moisture.

Drywood termites typically swarm from September to November. They often enter a house through openings in attics or eave areas, in infested furniture, picture frames and lumber. Drywood termites can be found in doors, window frames, eaves, attics, moldings and where shingles and paper overhang wood. And they don’t stray far from home; once they settle in they live in the wood they are consuming until, well, until it’s all gone.

How do you know if you have drywood termites?

The only way to know for sure is to have a WDO (Wood Destroying Organisms) Inspection performed by a licensed expert termite inspector.

The comprehensive inspection will look at your home from top to bottom, and let you know if drywood termites (or any other wood-destroying pests or organisms such as dry rot or fungus) are eating away at your home. You will receive a full written report with the findings of the inspection and recommended actions.

Although recommendations may vary by inspector or by homeowner needs, if you are dealing with an expert, the findings by each inspector should be the same.

Remember, termites can be eliminated but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back. We recommend a professional inspection every three years in order to stay on top of any new infestation. Often, when caught early, termites can be treated locally at much less cost than a whole-house treatment.

Do you have questions about drywood termites?

Western Exterminator has highly trained pest control specialists who are ready to answer your questions about termite infestations. Our termite specialists know the signs of termite damage, can track down where they are hiding and offer effective solutions to get rid of termites.

The first step is to contact your local Western Exterminator office. Set up a property inspection and discuss the termite treatment options with our experts.

Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!


  1. Bob

    I enjoyed your info on Orange Oil, but wouldn’t using Orange Oil every 3 years be better than tenting where those chemicals get into your carpeting, furniture, drywall and insulation, not to mention having the occupants of the house breathe that stuff in for months to come while it completely dissipates?

    I have found termites in the outside wood framing for our sliding door to the patio where the wood meets the concrete.

    Thanks for all this good info.


    • Rich Melendez

      Bob,I just read your comments about Orange Oil treatment for drywood termites. I am currently a licensed Branch III termite inspector in San Jose. I have found on many occasions that the orange oil people are not completely honest when it comes to telling homeowners about the benefits of orange oil. First of all, orange oil is a on contact killer, which means it has to come in direct contact with the termites you are trying to kill. If it doesn’t, the chemical will be absorbed in to the wood members. The termites that were in this area will be disturbed and move away. After the chemical has dried, the termites will resume their eating of the wood. Fumigation on the other hand, does not use any chemicals because the fumigant is strictly a gas. The fumigant will penetrate into every nook and cranny, attic, inside walls and subarea. Fumigation has a success rate and kill of 99%. The fumigant does not linger, there is no odor, nor any residue,dust, nor particles. The fumigant will not affect your clothes,furniture,eating utensils, or toys.I have been an inspector for over thirty for over thirty years and I tell homeowners all the time a chemical application can not completely eliminate an established colony. If the infestation is localized, a chemical treatment has a better chance of control. I tell homeowners that because I can’t see inside a sealed wall, I do not and will not guarantee a chemical treatment . My recommendation is Primary-fumigation and Secondary-Substandard, chemical treatment. I have done my fair share of chemical treatments and I know what I’m talking about. I hope this information will be helpful.

  2. Lau Thomas

    So what percentage of termite death does the tenting method produce?

    • Fumigation has the highest level of efficacy in termite control, but it does not guarantee prevention from future termite infestations.

      • Rich Melendez

        Ashley, you are so correct in saying that a fumigation is 99% effective in elimination infestations of drywood termites and wood boring beetles. You are also correct in stating that once a home has been fumigated, that it will possible be reinfested and have to be fumigated again. I know about what I speak because I am currently a licensed Branch III inspector, and have been for over thirty years. It was a pleasure to have seen your comment.

    • Rich Melendez

      Lau, the fumigation process has a termite elimination percentage of 99% I am a licensed termite inspector, and have been for over thirty years. I know what I’m telling you is based on experience with the fumigators that the company I work with uses and the fumigants that they use. I hope this will be helpful.



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