Is Orange Oil Effective On Termites?

Orange oil is one of the most effective natural solutions for killing Drywood termite infestation.

In one study, orange oil delivered a 94% mortality rate on Drywood termites.

In another study, it provided a 96% mortality rate on Subterranean and Drywood termites. It also reduced wood consumption by 90% in 2 weeks.

That said, orange oil is not effective at eliminating Subterranean and Dampwood termite infestation.

That’s because orange oil and its vapors do not work in moist areas.

As such, it can only kill Subterranean termites inside the wood, but not the ones hiding in soil.

It’s also ineffective against Dampwood termites, which primarily live inside moist wood.

Orange oil is also only effective at eliminating small Drywood infestations.

It only works if you can accurately locate the area being infested, which is difficult and expensive to do with large infestations.

What is Orange Oil?

Orange oil is an essential oil extracted from the rind of an orange fruit.

We use orange oil in many household products, such as cleaning solutions, aromatherapy, and face creams.

Orange oil is also effective at killing termites.

That’s thanks to the chemical d-limonene found in oranges.

D-limonene kills termites by breaking down their exoskeletons and destroying their eggs.

How Does Orange Oil Treatment Work?

Using orange oil to treat termites involves injecting the liquid into the wood.

This method is also known as the drill and fill method.

Once injected, the liquid and its vapors kill the termites and their eggs inside the wood.

Injecting oil into wood works well because, compared to most liquids, oil can penetrate wood much deeper.

The more concentrated the oil treatment that’s applied, the deeper the liquid travels into the wood.

Another great thing about this localized treatment is that it does not require you to vacate your home during treatment.

That said, there are two main disadvantages of using direct contact orange oil treatment against termites.

The first is you need to locate your infestation accurately.

If you didn’t locate the infestation accurately, you wouldn’t be able to target the termites effectively.

The second issue with orange oil is the need to have direct access to the wood.

If the wood is visible, then you can apply the oil with ease.

But for wood located deep behind walls or under paneling, orange oil treatment can be painful.

To treat wood beneath your walls with orange oil, you would have to strip the walls first.

Such treatment can be very intrusive, expensive, and inconvenient.

Orange Oil Pros and Cons


✅ Effective against wood-eating insects including Drywood termites, carpenter ants, and wood-boring beetles.

✅ Non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

✅ No need to vacate your house during treatment.

✅ Safe for pets and plants.

✅ Highly effective. Comparable to other chemical termiticides such as Termidor and Bora-Care.


❌ Not effective against Subterranean and Dampwood termites.

❌ Not effective as a fumigation treatment.

❌ Not effective on large infestation.

❌ Must accurately locate termite infestation to work

❌ Requires drilling holes into the wood.

❌ Need to have direct access to the wood.

❌ Prolonged exposure can cause skin, eye and lung irritation.

❌ Product is flammable once absorbed into the wood.

❌ There is no residual protection against future infestations.

How to Use Orange Oil?

Using orange oil to treat termites involves injecting the liquid into the wood.

This method is also known as the drill and fill method.

Here’s how:

1. Find Active Termite Galleries

Unfortunately, there are no standard devices that make it easy to detect termites.

The most common way to inspect for drywood termites is to look for visual signs.

To do this, you can use a metal probe or screwdriver to probe wood for termite galleries.

If the wood crumbles or falls apart as you probe it, there are likely termite galleries behind it.

You can also go around your house and look for the following evidence:

  • Drywood droppings (pellets)
    Kickout holes
  • Uneven or Bubbling Paint
  • Tunnel markings on the wall
  • Flying termites in your home.

2. Drill The Wood

Once you find possible termite galleries, drill holes into the infested wood.

You can tell once you hit a gallery, you will feel less resistance.

Create holes for every 8-12 inches on wood.

3. Inject The Essential Oil

Inject the essential oil solution using a pressurized sprayer.

Spray the essential oil solution into the wood holding for 2-5 seconds.

The solution will seep through the wood and kill any termites located inside.

4. Apply Coating Outside

You can also apply the outside wood to repel termites.

I recommend only applying a coating to the outside of your home rather than the inside.

Indoor painted wood will not absorb the orange oil. 

On the other hand, orange oil on the exterior of your house will repel any termites from approaching. 

Types of Orange Oil

Orange oil insecticides come in different concentrations.

The most effective against termites are the ones that are at least 80% D-Limonene.

For this, I recommend the XT-2000 Orange Oil. It is 95% pure d-limonene and fatal to termites.

How Much does Orange Oil Treatment Cost?

In the US, oil Treatment can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred to several thousand dollars.

The cost will vary depending on how large and spread out your infestation is.

Small, localized infestations generally cost between $250 and $500.

For multiple or large areas of infestation, treatment can cost between $850 and $1,000.

And whole-house orange oil treatment can cost upwards of $2,000.

Because of the high-cost, orange oil is not a standard method for whole-house treatment.

Other methods, such as heat and chemical treatment, are much cheaper and effective for treating an entire house.

Orange Oil Recipe for Termites

To treat your home with orange oil, I recommend using XT 2000.

This solution is complete and ready to be used.

All you have to do is add the solution to a pressurized sprayer, and you can begin injecting it into the wood.

If you want to create your solution, I recommend combining two parts water for every one part of 95% orange oil.

Doing so will make sure your solution is effective by keeping it above 80% concentration.

Shake the solution well before adding to a pressurized spray bottle.

Is Orange Oil Treatment Safe for Humans?

Orange Oil Treatment is safe for humans but fatal to termites.

It is non-toxic, and a much safer alternative to other chemical treatments used to terminate termites.

The essential oil use to treat termites has a high concentration and should not be ingested or touched on bare skin.

That said, orange oil may come with minor side effects.

The fumes have a strong smell and may cause headaches and nausea to some.

The acid may also cause allergic reactions and skin irritation in some individuals.

To reduce side effects, keep windows and doors open for 6-12 hours after treatment.

Orange Oil vs. Other Termite Treatments

Orange Oil is proven to be an effective method of eliminating termites.

When compared with other termite treatments, only Optigard and Termidor have a higher mortality rate.

Optigard and Termidor also have a higher transfer effect and residual effect than orange oil.

That said, both Optigard and Termidor are more toxic than orange oil.

Local Treatment Smell / Odor Type Transfer Effect Residual Effect Mortality Rate











Orange Oil Vs Fumigation

The most significant difference between orange oil treatment and fumigation is that it is effective only as a localized treatment.

Fumigation, on the other hand, is an all-encompassing treatment. It can address large infestations and reach inaccessible areas.

While there is evidence that orange oil can kill termites when used in fumigation, it’s only truly effective with direct contact.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Long Is the Smell of Orange Oil Present?

In most cases, the smell of orange oil treatment will last for 4-5 days after.

Although it typically dissipates much faster when done outdoors.

Is Orange Oil Flammable?

Yes, orange oil is highly flammable.

Wood treated with orange oil should avoid an open flame.

Also, store you orange oil in a safe location and avoid any open flames. 

Does Orange Oil Repel Termites?

Orange oil does repel termites, but the repellency does not last very long.

To repel termites with orange oil, you’ll need to reapply at least once a week.

Does Orange Oil Stain Wood?

No. Orange oil treatment will not stain wood.

It will leave a temporary stain on exposed wood that goes away once the solution is dry.

What does Orange Oil Smell like?

Orange oil smells like citrus.

It is extracted from the rind of an orange fruit.

Since it’s derived from oranges, it has the chemical limonene, which gives it the smell of citrus.

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