Termites in maize plantations

Termites infestations in a maize plantation can be very costly to a farmer. These not only attack young plants but also grown plants.

Plough termite mounds prior sowing to destroy the termite queen and expose the termites to predators.

Saw seeds at a slightly higher rate to compensate for losses of seedlings through termites.

Remove plant debris around the plant basin/hole before planting

Apply ashes around the plant in the planting basin/hole

Ensure development of strong healthy plants that can tolerate some termites. For irrigated crops, maintain regular watering

After maturity, cut tassels and lay them in the inter-rows to allow the termites to feed on while the maize matures.

Rotate or intercrop maize with leguminous crops like beans.
Practice mixed cropping by planting trees into maize field to reduce termite damage.


Scout for the presence of termites once a week.

Monitor the field more frequently (twice a week) during dry spells.

Observe the presence of stems with galleries packed with soils or tunnels made of thin sheets of soil which are built by the termites.

Consider using direct measures if 5-10 plants are affected in 1 field and if the crop is still far from maturing.

Physically remove and drop the soil sheets of the termites from the plants during the early stage of infestation

Spray with extract of neem leaves or neem fruits on the round and apply wood ashes around the plant. Use 1kg
crushed neem leaves and/or fruit in 5l water, and 2 handful of ash per plant.

Spray with extract of Lantan camara (Tusepo) leaves. Boil 2 kg crushed leaves in 5 litre for 30 minutes.

Spray onto the affected area on the ground of the field
When using a pesticide (even a botanical home-brew), always wear protective clothing.

Follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, pre-harvest interval, max number of sprays, restricted re-entry interval.

Do not empty into drains.

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