Orange Oil for Pest Control
If you are like many today, you are looking for ways to replace toxic chemicals in your home and the environment. If you have pests like termites, fire ants, fleas, moths, house crickets, and paper wasps, you might be looking for a natural way to rid yourself of them. The good news is that orange oil is an excellent alternative to chemicals that have been proven to kill or deter many of these insects. Let’s see how it works.
What Insects Does Orange Oil Kill?
Orange oil is extracted from the grated peel of oranges that are a by-product of the orange juice industry. The compound that is responsible for the insecticidal effects is d-limonene, which is a nerve toxin. It can kill some insects within minutes of application, and then it quickly evaporates and does not leave a residue. It also has a pleasant citrusy scent.
Orange oil is recommended under the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program to control fire ants in food crops. You can use it to kill entire mounds of fire ants at once. To do this, you mix equal parts of orange oil, cattlemen’s molasses, and compost tea to equal about two ounces total.
You can mix this in a gallon of water and drench the anthill. One application is about 80% effective when used properly. A second application should rid you of the problem completely.
Orange oil has also been found to be effective against cockroaches, ticks, and bed bugs. The acid in the oil penetrates the waxy coating on their exoskeletons and allows the d-limonene to penetrate their tissues.
Also, the oil clogs the pores used for breathing in their skin. Orange oil is one of few natural oils that kill the adults, larvae, and eggs of cockroaches and bed bugs.
Not only does orange oil kill many insects on contact, but it will help to keep them away too. Like any other essential oil, it will evaporate, so you have to reapply it frequently. Many hikers spray their socks or clothing with orange oil to keep ticks and fleas away.
Using Orange Oil on Plants
Orange oil can also be used as effective pest control in the garden. It is excellent against aphids, mites, and many other types of garden pests. You should not use the oil full-strength on plants, as this can damage the leaves. Before using it on plants, you should dilute about two ounces of orange oil to a gallon of water.
You can also add a few drops of castile soap to make it better able to penetrate the outer shells of the insects. It is good to test one leaf and wait for 24 hours before spraying the whole plant because some plants are more sensitive.
Orange Oil & Termites
Orange oil has been proven to be a safe and effective solution for termite extermination. If you have termites, you might consider hiring a company that uses a combination of orange oil and heat as an alternative to harmful chemicals. One of the drawbacks of conventional termite extermination is that it uses toxic chemicals, and you must leave the house for a certain time. If you have children or pets, potential exposure to these substances can be a concern. With orange oil, you can remain in the home and not have to worry about harmful chemicals.
If you have termites, it is best to call a professional rather than kill them with orange oil yourself. If you do not get all the hiding places and know how to do it properly, it will not be as effective, and you will have a reinfestation. When applied by a professional, this method is about 70-90% effective on the first application.
Other Oils That Repel Insects
Orange oil is an effective way to rid yourself of many household and garden pests. It is backed by studies that have proven it to be safe and effective. Other natural oils have also been found to be effective against insects. Here are a few of them.
- Tea Tree Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Lemon Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Cinnamon Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Neem Oil
- Cedar Oil
- Citronella oil
One final word of caution is necessary. Orange oil can be an eye and skin irritant for some people and pets. When applying the oil, you should wear protective eye gear and clothing. Wash any oil off the skin immediately with soap and water. For the most part, it is an effective and safe alternative to harmful chemicals.