A survey using face to face semi-structured interviews and farmer’s participatory discussion was administered to 360 and 504 farmers, respectively in major maize growing areas of Hadiya and Silte zones, for investigating indigenous methods and practices used by famers in protection of their maize grains against insect pests in the years 2013/2014 and 2015/2016. Survey results revealed that farmers used various methods of harvesting from November to January, of which picking the cobs by hand was the most commonly used method, and December was the most commonly used period. Farmers used different traditional storage methods, form of maize grain stored, period of storage and management practices to preserve and protect their grain from pests. Of which, outdoor Gotera, unshelled form of maize, 7-9 months period and use of no control measures were the most commonly used. From different type pests in the area, insect pests were found to be the major problem. Among different type of pests in the area, insect pests were found to be the major problem. Regarding insect infestation, high level of infestation happened when maize grain in shelled forms stored for both 6-9 and 10-12 months periods, as compared to in unshelled form in which it occurred in 10-12 months period only.. High level of infestation of insects was also occurred when farmers used no management measures, botanical and cultural methods in 7-9 months storage period. Thus, various traditional methods and practices were inefficient for providing sufficient protection against insect pests of stored maize, but their improvement could lead to better protection.
Keywords: insect pests, level of infestation, storage methods, storage form, management practices.