Methods of Termite Control in Nigeria

by Nate on May 1, 2011

Methods of Termite Control in Nigeria

Termites cause the most serious damage when compared with other wood-feeding insects. They attack timber and wood products as well as growing trees, leather, wool and agricultural crops. Man-made materials such as polythene, plastics, some metal foils, as well as books, furniture, wooden electric/ telephone poles and railway sleepers, are equally severely attacked by termites.

Effects of these damages are enormous and call for a systematic control of these termites.

 Termite Control on the Farm

 Good Agricultural Practices/ Farm Hygiene

Observations made on Cocoa farms in two locations in Ghana some years back, revealed that various species of termites were causing serious damages to Cocoa farms under poor hygienic conditions in Amanokrom (near Aburi), while they cause insignificant damages to the Cocoa farm estates of the Cocoa Research Institute at Tafo. This is because of the comparatively better hygienic conditions maintained at Tafo. Therefore farm hygiene plays a crucial role in reducing termite damage to crops and other woody materials.

Attacks on crops may also be reduced by close spacing of crops, especially Cotton seedlings, while growing different varieties of crops may equally be effective in reducing termite attacks. A number of farmers utilize well composted materials during planting to curtail the activities of termites.

 The usual and most common control methods utilize by farmers involve the destruction of mounds to remove the primary reproductive. It is assumed that the elimination of such castes terminates the life of the colony. This method is laborious and ineffective, because the supplementary/replacement reproductives are common in such ground dwelling termites, and they immediately take over the work of the removed reproductives.

Other control methods used by farmers in Nigeria include, burying broken pieces of used torchlight batteries, dead animals, viscera of raw fish, in the soil to serve as barriers against termite invasion. Seed pieces cut from stored yams are bathed with palm oil, to prevent fungal attacks. However some farmers have reported that this also protects the growing yams against termite attacks. Termites are known to be attracted to infestation by certain fungi.


 Baiting is well suited to social insects because of their foraging, food exchange and grooming habits. However, not until recently that the comparative advantage of baiting is being fully utilized for the control of termites. The long lasting effectiveness of termiticidal soil insecticides and wood preservatives seemed adequate to protect wood used by man. Therefore, the need for new termite control methods was not apparent. However, the concern about the human and environmental hazards of persistent pesticides created doubts about the continued availability of long lasting chemicals for termite control. Coinciding with such doubts was the report that subterranean termites were strongly attracted to wood infested with brown rot fungus, Geophyllum trabeum. This stimulated development of termiticidal baits as new termite control method. This aims at attracting the termites to a reservoir of insecticides (e.g. Dieldrin or Aldrin, or Ch;ordane in corrugated fibre boards), with the aid of G. trabeum in decayed wood. The slow acting stomach poison, Mirex seemed a better choice for the bait insecticide because it will allow time to for the foragers to transport the insecticide to the nest for distribution to other members of the colony.

 Chemical control on the Farms

 Three chemical control methods may be employed on the farm:

Direct attack on the termite colonies General application of insecticides to the soil before planting Local application to the individual plants

 Direct Attack Method: To destroy a termite colony, make three holes on top of a large termite mound (90cm high and over) and pour in 27.3 litres of water containing 71ml. of Aldrin or Aldrin emulsifiable concentrate (9.1 litres per hole). Smaller mounds (less than 90cm high) can be poisoned effectively using 4.5 litres of the same dilution per hole. Direct attack method may only apply to and effective against mound-build termites.

 General Application Method: General application of insecticides has the advantage of well proven effectiveness, having been successfully used in many parts of the Country. A mixture of 250ml. of dieldrin (Dieldrex 20) or aldrin is prepared with 68.2 litres of water, and 4.5 litres of this mixture can be sprayed over 33 sq.m. of soil. This method is effective against both mound-building and underground termites.

 Local application Method: This method is expected to form a protective barrier around each plant, and prevents the possibility of long term adverse effects on the soil. It also has the advantage of saving costs, as much less quantity of insecticide is required. This is carried

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