Farmer’s knowledge of termite species and infestation in eastern Uganda

Girma Hailu, Nathan Ochatum, Philip Nyeko, Saliou Niassy


Termites are very well recognized by farmers as pests and beneficial insects. To develop management options suitable to the needs of the farmers, it is essential to understand their management experience. This study was aimed at understanding farmer’s perception about termite management in eastern Uganda. The study covered over 84 villages located in seven districts of eastern Uganda. There were 420 respondents for the survey and a focus group discussion (comprised of eight to 15 participants) specifically with push-pull technology adopters found in four districts. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed using STATA (version 13). Respondents were diverse in terms of age, gender, level of education and marital status.  According to the respondent’s termite damage can cause food insecurity and poverty. The prevalence of termites and damage potential varies across districts and type of crop and growth stage. Some are vulnerable at germination, some at vegetative and some at maturity stages. Averaged over three districts, farmers claimed that maize is more vulnerable to termite attack causing about 40% yield loss followed by beans, soybeans, and sorghum. Push-pull technology adopters stated that green leaf desmodium intercropped with maize to control major lepidopteran pests and a parasitic weed striga was vulnerable to termite attack. Although pesticide application can be an effective option, they claimed it is either expensive or not a lasting solution.


Termites, Indigenous technical knowledge, Tororo, Busia, Mbale, Bugiri, Iganga, Bukedea, Pallisa


Akutse K. S., E.O. Owusu, K. Alfred-Nuamah, (2011) Perception of farmers’ management strategies for termite control in Ghana. Journal of Applied Biosciences 49:3394-3405

Banjo A. D., O. A. Lawal, O. E. Fapojuwo, and E. A. Songonuga ( 2003) Farmers’ knowledge and perception of horticultural insect pest problems in southwestern Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology 2:434–437

Coaston W.G. H. (1958) The Hototermitid Harvester Termites of South- Africa. Union of South Africa, Department of Agriculture, Entomological series No. 43, Bull. 375

Ferrar, P. and J.A.L. Watson, (1970) Termites (Isoptera) associated with dung in Australia. Aust Entomol. 9, 100-2

Karbo, N., Bruce, J. Malex, A., E.O. Otchere (1999) The role of livestock in sustaining soil fertility in northern Ghana. ILEIA newsletter: 49–50

Khan, Z.R., A. Hassanali, W. Overholt, T.M. KhamisA.M. Hooper, A. J. Pickett, L.J. Wadhams, C.M. Woodcock (2002) Control of witchweed Striga hermonthica by intercropping with Desmodium spp., and the mechanism defined as allelopathic. J. Chem. Ecol. 28, 1871-1885

Legesse, H., H., Taye, N. Geleta, K. Swaans, D. Fikadu, E. Zziwa, and D.Peden (2013) Integrated termite management in degraded crop land in Diga district, Ethiopia. In: Wolde Mekuria. (ed). 2013. Rainwater management for resilient livelihoods in Ethiopia:proceedings of the Nile Basin Development Challenge science meeting, Addis Ababa, 9-10 july 2013. NBDC Technical report 5. Nairobi, Kenya: international Livestock Research Institute

Lepage M. G. (1981) The impact of foraging populations of Macrotermes michaelseni (Sjostedt) (Isoptera: Macrotermitinae) in a semi-arid ecosystem (Kajiado-Kenya). II- Food gathered, in comparison with large herbivores. Insects sociaux 28, 309-319

Logan J. W. M., R. H. Cowie, T. G. Wood (1990) Termites (Isoptera) control in agriculture and forestry by non-chemical methods: A review, Bulletin of Entomological Research, Vol. 80, No. 3, pp. 309–30

Loko L.E.Y., Azize Orobiyi, Paterne Agre, Alexandre Dansi, Manuele Tamò and Yves Roisin (2017) Farmers’ perception of termites in agriculture production and their indigenous utilization in Northwest Benin. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2017) 13:64

MAAIF Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (2010) Agriculture for Food and Income Security. Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan: 2010/11-2014/15

Malaret, L., and F. N. Ngoru (1989) Ethnoecology: a tool for community based pest management farmer knowledge of termites in Machakos district, Kenya. Sociobiology 15:197– 211.

Mugerwa S., M. Nyangito, J. Nderitu, C. Bakuneta, D. Mpairwe, and E. Zziwa. (2011) Farmers’ ethno-ecological knowledge of the termite problem in semi-arid Nakasongola. African Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 6(13), pp. 3183-3191, Available online at

Mugerwa S, Mpairwe D, Mutetikka D, Kiwuwa G, Zziwa E, Owoyesigire B, D. Peden (2008). Effect of cattle manure and reseeding on pasture productivity. Paper presented in the Challenge Programme on Water and Food” workshop held between 10th- 15th November 2008, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Nkunika, P. O. Y. (1998) Termite survey, identification, damage and control in southern province. Land Management and Conservation Farming, Soil Conservation and Agroforestry Extension Report, Lusaka, Zambia

Norton G. W., E. G. Rajotte, V. Gapud (1999) Participatory research in integrated pest management: Lessons from the IPM CRSP. Agriculture and Human Values, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 431–9.

Nyeko P. and F. M. Olubayo (2005) Participatory assessment of farmers’ experiences of termites problems in agroforestry in Tororo District, Uganda. Agricultural Research & Extension Network. Paper No. 143. Overseas development institute, London, UK.

Paul B., M. A. Khan, S. Paul, K. Shankarganesh, S. Chakravorty (2018) Termites and Indian Agriculture. In: Khan M., Ahmad W. (eds) Termites and Sustainable Management, Sustainability in Plant and Crop Protection, Springer, Cham., 2018, 52–86

Riekert H. F., and J. Van den Berg (2003) Evaluation of chemical control measures for termites in maize, South African Journal of Plant and Soil, 20:1, 1-5,

Sekamatte M. B (2001a) Options for integrated management of termites (Isoptera: Termitidae) in smallholder maize-based cropping systems in Uganda. PhD thesis. Kampala: Makerere University

Sekamatte, M. B. (2001b) Termite situation on crops and rangelands in Nakasongola district. A report submitted to Environmental Protection and Economic Development (EPED) Project. 20pp

Sileshi, G. W., P. Nyeko, P. O. Y. Nkunika, B. M. Sekematte, F. K. Akinnifesi, and O. C. Ajayi (2009) Integrating ethno-ecological and scientific knowledge of termites for sustainable termite management and human welfare in Africa. Ecology and Society 14(1): 48.URL: vol14/iss1/art48/

Sileshi, G., E. Kuntashula, P. Matakala, and P. O. Nkunika (2008) Farmers’ perceptions of pests and pest management practices in agroforestry in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Agroforestry Systems 72:87–101

Sileshi G., P.L. Mafongoya, F.Kwesiga, P. Nkunika (2005) Termite damage to maize grown in agroforestry systems, traditional fallows and monoculture on nitrogen limited soils in eastern Zambia. Agric. For. Entomol 7:61-69

Taye, H., K. Swaans, H. Legesse, D. Fekadu, N. Geleta, and D. Peden (2013) Uptake of integrated termite management for the rehabilitation of degraded land in East Africa: A research into use baseline study in Diga, Ethiopia. Nile BDC Technical Report 6. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI

Tenywa, G. (2008) Thousands homeless as termites turn Nakasongola into a desert. The New Vision, 24 June 2008.URL:

Wood, T.G., R.A., Johnson, C.E., Ohiagu (1980) Termite damage and crop loss studies in Nigeria: review of termite (isoptera) damage, loss in yield and termite (microtermes) abundance at Mokwa. Tropical Pest Management 26:241 – 253

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.33687/008.03.3261


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Girma Hailu, Girma Hailu, 2. Nathan Ochatum, Philip 3. Nyeko, Saliou Niassy

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.