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Glug, Glug, Glug… [Sound of Orange Oil] … Aaaaaargh! … [Sound of Termites Dying]

Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. ()

January 23rd, 2008 · 8 Comments

Fellow 3 Oceans contributor and South Bay Keller Williams Realtor Bart Marchioni forwarded me a rather entertaining newsletter from National Building Inspectors. “Entertaining” and “Building Inspectors” aren’t normally found together…but — perhaps due to my macabre sense of humor — I couldn’t help laughing at this imagery…

Imagine a colony of termites infesting your home . Now imagine pouring orange juice on them. . Termites start drinking . Termites start dying.

Here’s what it might look like:

Orange oil and termites

Ok, actually, the orange substance isn’t orange juice, but rather orange oil, or Limolene, a “terpene hydrocarbon colorless liquid with an extremely strong smell of oranges.”

And NBI is a reputable firm, so no, they wouldn’t recommend dousing your home with OJ in hopes of killing your termite housemates.

According to the NBI newsletter, they’ve been asked by many people about whether orange oil is effective at killing termites. A summary of their opinion:

  • Yes, termites will be killed on contact by orange oil. (Of course, they would also be killed on contact with my foot!) Getting termites to come in contact with said orange oil, however, would be nigh impossible in the hidden wooden structures of the home — ie. in the vast majority of where you would find termites. A handy little diagram from NBI:orange-oil-and-termites-2.png
  • Yes, orange oil will “defy gravity” — ie soak in all directions, including upwards — but, for that matter, so does water. The key problem is that orange oil apparently biodegrades after only 4 days.

The personal opinion of the newsletter’s author is that NBI “would never certify a home as being ‘free and clear’ of a drywood infestation that was treated with orange oil.”

Disclaimer: I am not a termite inspector. More importantly, I am not your termite inspector. If you have termite issues, or questions about termites, please ask your friendly professional termite inspector. Above all, do not pour orange juice over your home in an attempt to kill your termite housemates. ‘Nuff said.

Tags: , , , Limolene, , , , ,
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Tags: Buyer · Consumer · Industry · Inspections · Seller

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 arn cenedella // Jan 23, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Great drawings and diagrams.
    I am also suspicious about the true benefit of treatment with orange oil. I would save have your house fumiagted about every 15 years or so and everything should be fine. Termite nibble very slowly.

  • 2 Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. () // Jan 23, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Arn, you’re probably the first person EVER to compliment me on my drawing…my artistic skills peaked in 3rd grade!

    Termites are indeed a fact of life here in northern California. One of the pest inspectors I use regularly likes to say, “There are two types of homes in northern California: Those that have termites, and those that will have termites.”

  • 3 Sam Benson // Jan 24, 2008 at 5:05 am


    Orange oil works, but Napalm not only works, but throws off a wonderful small in the morning.

  • 4 Michael Folkins // Feb 11, 2008 at 11:15 am

    On average less then 1/2 percent of a home is infested with drywood termites, then WHY DO WE POISON 100% OF THE HOME WITH FUMIGATION?
    With true optics we can find headen areas of infestation and kill the colonys and eggs of drywood termites. Sense orange oil

  • 5 Alex Del Toro // Feb 11, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I was not going to respond untill i noticed that Mr Folkins left a comment. Mr Folkin is the producer and distribtutor of Orange Oil and needs to defend his worrthless product. However, it is funny that Mr boer a Real Estate Broker has enough common sense to see the shortcomings of a local treatment with anything.
    Here is a link (http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/The.Termite.Guy./2008/1/Is-Orange-Oil-Good-For-Orange-County-by-Alex-Del-Toro/58586) to a article that was published in the Orange County Association of Realtors newsletter.
    Bravo Kevin, being able to see thru the maze of marketing makes you an better Realtor.

  • 6 Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. () // Feb 11, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for dropping by. I’m by no means a termite expert. Your point that “less 1/2 percent of a home is infested with drywood termites, why do we poison 100% of the home?” makes sense.

    However…unless you have X-ray vision how can you see where that 1/2 of one percent is? I still don’t get it.

  • 7 Alex Del Toro // Feb 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Boy wouldn’t that be a perfect life if all homes maintained a 1/2 percent infestation quota. The fact is that I have inspected over 30,000 homes in the last 18 years and it is all over the board from 0% to 40%. I have also completed over 45 remodels and every time we do are initial demo we find termite infestations that I would of never of found during an inspection. I think it is irresponsible to throw a 1/2% number around, because we all now this can never be verified and that all homes are different.

  • 8 [Sound of Orange Oil] … [Sound of Termites Dying] | Pest Identification // Mar 14, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    [...] Oil] … [Sound of Termites Dying] Published in March 14th, 2008 Posted by Pest Control in Pests gpest2 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptYes, termites will be killed on [...]

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