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If Less Than 1/2 Percent Of A Home Is Infested With Drywood Termites, Then Why Do We Poison 100% Of The Home With Fumigation?

February 11th, 2008 · 9 Comments

First, an upfront disclaimer:  I am not a termite inspector, nor do I pretend to be one.  I neither give nor get referrals for getting termite work done on a client’s house.  I don’t own a termite company, nor do I have any stake, financial or otherwise, in the success or failure of any particular method of treating termites.  If your home has recently been treated with Orange Oil, or you are considering getting it treated by Orange Oil, you’ll need to do your own research about the product and its efficacy.  I can’t and won’t make a claim either way.

‘Nuff said.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the use of Orange Oil to kill termites.   Judging by the traffic to said article, many folks seem to have questions about it.  My content source — remember, I’m not a termite expert — was a newsletter from National Building Inspectors.  What they gave was, shall we say, a less than enthusiastic endorsement.  The precise words:

[NBI] would never certify a home as being ‘free and clear’ of a drywood infestation that was treated with orange oil.

A “Michael Folkins” — just dropped by and left a comment on said article and left his calling card:  a link to the XT2000 site, which appears to belong to the manufacturer/distributor of the Orange Oil product.  Michael’s comment raises an interesting question about traditional termite fumigation:

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

Fair question:  Why do we fumigate 100% of the home even though only 1/2 of one percent of it might be infested?  Michael would presumably have us use Orange Oil.

Here’s my understanding:  Yes, only 1/2 of one percent of the home might be infested, but how the heck are you going to find that 1/2 of one percent — which might be scattered in a dozen places — short of borrowing Superman’s power of vision?

As if one vendor dropping by wasn’t enough, Michael’s comment was followed up quickly by an Alex Del Toro — whose calling card points to TermiteGuy.com  Alex is not fond of  Orange Oil:

Mr Folkin is the producer and distribtutor of Orange Oil and needs to defend his worrthless product.

Alex also provides a link to an article he wrote for the — no joke — the Orange County Association of Realtors.

So the next time you hear the words “orange oil,” just remember that it only works on the termites that are accessible, detected and treated with the oil. Unfortunately, unless you live in a concrete slab home with 1920’s board and batten walls, then termite detection is the real issue.

Neither is Alex fond of termites:  he likens them to terrorists.

What say you?  Orange oil good?  Orange oil bad?

More of a perspective:

Marian Bennett, a Realtor in Half Moon Bay, educates us about termite remediation as she channels the words of Kevin Palmer of Premier Termite.

Articlemaniac weighs in on Orange Oil.

Tags: , Fumigation, , , Pest Inspection, , Termite remediation,

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Tags: Consumer · Industry

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

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