Effect of orange oil extract on the formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)

J Econ Entomol. 2007 Jun;100(3):880-5. doi: 10.1603/0022-0493(2007)100[880:eoooeo]2.0.co;2.


The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermesformosanus Shiraki (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), accidentally brought into the United States, has become a major urban pest, causing damage to structures and live trees. Because of increasing restrictions on the use of conventional termiticides, attention is focused on finding safer alternative methods for termite management. Oil from citrus peel, referred to here as orange oil extract (OOE), contains -92% d-limonene, and it is generally known to be toxic to insects. In laboratory experiments, 96 and 68% termites were killed in 5 d when OOE at 5 ppm (vol:vol) was dispensed from the top or bottom, respectively, with termites held at the opposite end of a tight-fitting plastic container. Apart from high mortality, workers exposed to vapor consumed significantly less filter paper than controls. However, when termites were exposed to OOE vapor, even at 10 ppm, in the void of a model wall, there was very little mortality. Termites did not tunnel through glass tubes filled with sand treated with 0.2 or 0.4% OOE. Sand treated with OOE was extracted each week for 8 wk to determine the remaining amount of d-limonene. Results indicated that there was a sharp decline in the quantity of d-limonene during the first 3 wk to a residual level that gradually decreased over the remaining period. With a suitable method of application and in combination with other control practices, OOE can be effectively used for the control of subterranean termites.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclohexenes* / chemistry
  • Cyclohexenes* / isolation & purification
  • Fumigation
  • Insect Control
  • Isoptera*
  • Limonene
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis
  • Pesticide Residues / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Terpenes* / chemistry
  • Terpenes* / isolation & purification
  • Volatilization


  • Cyclohexenes
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Limonene
  • orange oil