Termites? Green Termite Control – Consider Orange Oil
Posted by Norman Fong
Termites are a terrible problem to have. We recently found some dead swarmers near our windows and were reminded of the toxic chemicals used to eradicate termites. Additionally, a house in our neighborhood became tented with a truck labeled with a poison logo – Inhalation hazard # Two. Figuring out termite control can be equally confusing. Traditional house tenting and using poisonous chemicals like sulfuryl fluoride – Vikane is now competing with using Orange Oil (XT-2000) which does not require tenting and moving out. There are tradeoffs with each.
Problems with traditional Vikane Tenting
There are several issues with traditional termite eradication methods.
- Vikane is a poisonous gas
- You need to pack away all your food, pets, and vacate your house for several days
- Vikane released into the atmosphere becomes a greenhouse gas that can last 30 years in the atmosphere
- One kg of Vikane has 4800 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide
- Modern buildings are so tightly sealed that some areas may go untreated, resulting in repeat tenting
- The number of people that have died due to encounters with Vikane is not public information
- Adjacent homes to ones being fumigated have caused poisoning to their occupants
Orange Oil Treatment
Orange oil for termites contain the active ingredient, 95% pure d-limonene. D-limonene is extracted from the rinds of oranges. Boroscopes with fiber optic technology are used to see through walls looking for termites. Orange oil treatment will only kill termites in the infested areas treated as it is a localized spot application. They will treat the area by drilling into the infested wood and injecting the Orange Oil into the termite galleries. It is effective for drywood termites, not subterranean termite infestations.
Orange Oil vs Vikane Tenting
There is an ongoing battle over the efficacy of orange oil for termite control. This article covers a UC Berkeley Dow Chemical funded study that fumigation companies are using to counter orange oil and push for toxic chemicals like Vikane against termites. If you have used it, make sure you hire a professional cleaning crew to completely clean your home after fumigation. The chemical Chloropicrin is used as a warning agent, before the Vikane gas is used. This is a powerful teargas used to make sure the house is devoid of pets and people, before the actual fumigation. Exposure to it have 119 ppm for 30 min. is lethal. Do you want your home filled with this kind of stuff?
Alternative like sodium borate are also available. We found an old pocket of termite damage when we did remodelling and use Bora-Care on it.
Tenting vs Spot Treatment
Not every house needs to be fumigated. Determining factors will include areas of infestation, level of infestations, size and age of the colonies, type of termites. A trained professional should take all these into account when doing termite control.
Dampwood termites have their entire company inside the wood, so spraying is ineffective. You need to solve the moisture problem first.
If you are considering using Orange Oil for termites be sure to locate a licensed and qualified termite control company that offers traditional treatments and fumigation as well as Orange Oil. This way you can receive an unbiased analysis.
Greenbug for Localized Termite Control
Recently, the Bugman, an expert in eco friendly green pest control, recommended the use of Greenbug pesticide for the control of drywood termites. This will not work for subterranean termites. Drywood termites need soil contact and live in dry, sound wood located near the surface. You can recognize these termites from their fecal pellets which are often the same color as the wood that they consume.
Termite Inspector Licensing
In California, termite inspectors need a state license that is governed by the Structural Pest Control Act. People that purchase homes have to get a termite inspection done from one of these licensed professionals. They will issue a clearance stating that the home is free from infestation.
Licensed Termite companies can perform these inspections, utilize pesticides to eradicate the bugs, and also repair any structural damage done by the infestation.
Be sure to read our articles Orange Oil Termite Pest Control – XT-2000 Orange Oil – Eco Friendly Green Pest Control
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