African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Preliminary studies on termite damage on rural houses in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Daniel Getahun Debelo
  • Daniel Getahun Debelo
  • Department of Biology, Adama Science and Technology University, P. O. Box 1888, Adama, Ethiopia.
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Emana Getu Degaga
  • Emana Getu Degaga
  • College of Natural Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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  •  Received: 07 March 2014
  •  Accepted: 07 September 2014
  •  Published: 23 September 2014


Termites are serious pests of agricultural crops and rural houses in Ethiopia. Some attempts were made to control termites on crops. However, termite problem on rural houses is a neglected area regardless of the intensity of the problem which at times results in total collapses of newly constructed houses. To collect preliminary information on status of termite infestation to rural houses, surveys were conducted in three districts of the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia in 2012.  Data were collected by direct observations and through semi-structured interviews. A total of 58 houses were inspected in the three districts of which 91% were termite infested at deferent levels. About 81% of the houses aged less than 10 years. Over half of the homeowners used pre-construction preventive measures such as plastic sheet cover and painting with used engine oil. Even though termite infestation was common and serious, only 35% of the homeowners took post construction preventive measures mainly because of lack of knowledge on the problem. The post construction termite control methods used in the study area were removing or scratching mud tubes from the infested parts and painting of the houses with used engine oil. There was no evidence of using synthetic chemicals for the management of termites on rural houses. The local government officials or Development Agents were not aware of termite problems in rural houses as the problem was only seen as a secondary problem. Termite samples were collected from houses, wooden fences and mounds built attached to the exterior walls of the houses. The collected termites were only from the genera Macrotermes and Odontotermes where about 79% was found to be from the former genus. This study explicitly indicated that termites have a great impact on local houses leading to frequent repairing and rebuilding. This damage will eventually lead to deforestation and environmental degradation in addition to its economic impact and spread of the termites. According to key informants of the study areas termite resistant tree species became rare and/or went extinct since they are used for all types of construction. In this study, preliminary information which can clearly demonstrate the level of termite infestation on local houses was obtained which can serve as an important input for the government both for awareness creation and developing best termite management practices.


Key words: Macrotermes, Odontotermes, rural houses, survey, termites, termite control measures.