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A. M. Varela, icipe
Is this a Minor Pest?
Minor Pest Title

Termites (Microtermes spp., Ancistrotermes spp., Trinervitermes spp., Macrotermes spp., and Odontotermes spp.).

Minor Pest Description

Termites, also known as white ants are common pests of upland rice in West Africa where they may cause serious damage during dry periods. They may also occur in lowland areas in light texture soils. They generally attack plants in their later growth stage by hollowing out their root system and filling it with soil resulting in the lodging of the rice plants. The attacked plants are then predisposed to further damage by ground-dwelling pests such as rodents, ants, and secondary infection by fungi and bacteria. Damaged plants can easily be pulled up by hand because the roots are severed.


Minor Pest What to do.
  • Plant resistant varieties whenever available. "LAC 23", "NERICA 1", "NERICA 5" and "NERICA 14" are resistant to termites. In experiments in Nigeria "NERICA 5" and "NERICA 1" had lower levels of termite attack than other rice varieties tested ("NERICA 2", "NERICA 3", "NERICA 4", "NERICA 6" and "NERICA 7", "LAC 23" and "OS 6"). "NERICA 2" and "NERICA 3" showed some levels of tolerance (WARDA; Nwilene et al., 2008)
  • Use neem products. They provide effective control of termites on rice fields. In experiments in Nigeria 2 litres of neem seed oil (Cobeneem) mixed with 1 litre of water and 10 g of detergent soap (OMO) applied in an area of 900 m2 gave the best protection against termite attack, followed by neem powder (800 kg per ha). Applications were done close to the rice hills along the rows (Nwilene et al., 2008). For more information on Neem click here
  • The application of red palm oil mixed with pawpaw is an indigenous control practice. The mixture attracts soldier ants that attack and drive away the termites.
Minor Pest Position
Minor Pest Firstcontent
Pest Type
Local names; white ants, mchwa (Swahili); Harvester termite ([i]Hodotermes mossambicus[/i]); Bark-eating termites ([i]Macrotermes[/i] spp., [i]Odontotermes[/i] spp.).
Host Plants