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Los Angeles Daile News Readers Favorite 2008


We have it.  We use it.  We even like it.  It smells nice.  Is it the miracle cure some companies claim it to be? 

As much as we’d like to say yes and hop on the fear-driven bandwagon and blast your house with orange oil until it smells like a fruit salad, the facts of the matter do not support claims of a termite-free home when only orange oil is used. 

Essentially, orange oil is the centerpiece chemical in what is known as a “repellent strategy” of termite control.  When the oil is made to penetrate wood, some termites are killed near the injection or treatment site, others are merely repelled and are driven into areas where the oil has no effect. 

Consequently, for orange oil to succeed as the sole treatment, well, you basically have to expose and treat each entire piece of infested wood.  Since dismantling your house is usually not possible and never economically feasible, a topical repellent strategy will leave some of the termites unharmed. Maybe it will disrupt the colonies and move them deep into hiding where they will escape notice until much later, (perhaps even after the control guarantee has expired) but it will seldom reach all the termites. And of course, any termites that are out of reach to begin with will remain safe and sound and continue to munch your house. 

So is orange oil useless?  No.  as a low-toxicity treatment for an exposed piece of wood, you can often get the sweet smell of success.  Is it a cure-all ?  Only on radio and TV commercials. 

I guess the main point here is that the best approach to termite control is a broad-spectrum approach, and the experienced professional chooses from a wide range of effective products to save your house from extinction. 

And here’s a news flash:  The companies who hawk orange oil as the greatest thing since purple Kool-Aid usually rely on the more effective methods too, in most cases.  As they should. 

Are there operators out there who stick to the fruit-salad method and offer nothing else?  We hope not.  There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all termite treatment.  No matter how good it smells.