Orange Oil Vs. Fumigation for Termite Control

Several methods exist for treating and preventing infestations of termites, which cause billions of dollars of damage each year. A professional termite exterminator can assess the necessary steps to removing an infestation. Two commonly used treatment methods are orange oil and fumigation.


Orange Oil Vs. Fumigation for Termite Control

Orange oil is a localized direct application treatment that combats drywood termites using the active ingredient D-limonene, an oil naturally found in orange rinds. Fumigation methods consist of covering a building with a canvas tarp and spraying the inside with a gas fumigant, such as sulfuryl fluoride; methyl bromide is less commonly used, due to the environmental damage that it causes.


When orange oil is used, no evacuation of the house is necessary. Pets can remain in the home, and food and medicines need no protection, due to the low toxicity of D-limonene. Fumigation through tenting can treat large infestations at a lower cost than a widespread orange-oil treatment and can target all areas of the building, including undetected infestation areas.


Orange oil does not treat untargeted areas, and application requires drilling or removal of wood or walls in the home. Fumigation is potentially harmful to humans and pets, so the building usually is tented and evacuated overnight. Fumigation may also be more expensive than orange oil in treating small affected areas.

About the Author

Deborah Meister is a biologist in California who has been writing about science and nature since 2010. Her articles appear on eHow and Answerbag. Meister received her Bachelor of Science in biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she concentrated her studies in field and wildlife biology and botany.