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

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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.
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Vol. 9(39), pp. 2901-2910, 25 September, 2014
DOI: 10.5897/AJAR2014.8670
Article Number: AA1919847521
ISSN 1991-637X
Copyright © 2014
Author(s) retain the copyright of this article
http://www.academicjournals.org/AJAR
African Journal of Agricultural
Research
Full Length Research Paper
Preliminary studies on termite damage on rural houses
in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia
Daniel Getahun Debelo1 and Emana Getu Degaga2*
1Department of Biology, Adama Science and Technology University, P. O. Box 1888, Adama, Ethiopia.
2College of Natural Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Received 7 March, 2014; Accepted 7 May, 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.
INTRODUCTION
Termites are social insects which belong to the insect
order Isoptera. Termites are an essential member of the
soil ecosystem and are found throughout the world
(Abdel and Skai, 2011). They are the most important and
most efficient lignocellulose decomposers. Though
termites have beneficial values such as organic matter
2902 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
recycling, improving soil fertility and serving as food
sources for other animals, they have also harmful effects
which include damage to crops, forestry and wooden
structures (Changlu et al., 2009; UNEP, 2000). Damage
may extend to household furniture, paper products, many
synthetic materials and food items. Each year hundreds
of thousands of structures such as bridges, dams, decks,
homes, retaining walls, roads, utility poles, and
underground cables and pipes require treatment against
termites (UNEP, 2000).
Of about 2800 described species of termites, 185
species are known as pests of agricultural settings and
housing structures (Krishna and Weesner, 1970). The
number of species causing damage to building is
between 70 and 80 out of which 50 species are serious
pests that require management (Edwards and Mill, 1986;
Pearce, 1997).
More than 1,000 of the 2,600 recognized species of
termites are found in Africa (UNEP, 2000). Some of the
most economically important wood feeding species of
termites found in the tropics, sub-tropics and temperate
regions are in the genera Coptotermes, Odontotermes,
Macrotermes, Microcerotermes, Microtermes,
Reticulitermes Ancisrotermes, Schedorhinotermes and
Pseudacanthotermes (Abdurahman, 2000; Ahmed and
French, 2008).
Within the wide limits of their geographical distribution,
termites will destroy all unprotected timber used in
construction work or as fittings, unless it has been
rendered toxic, unpalatable or is naturally resistant to
termites (Harris, 1971). Termites may attack timber
anywhere in a building from below floor level to the
highest point in the roof. The workers of most
subterranean species enter from the soil, either directly
into timber, through cracks in concrete flooring or by
constructing shelter tubes over brick or concrete footings
and walls (Edwards and Mill, 1986).
The annual economic cost of structural damage to
buildings from termites in urban areas is about $ 15-20
billion dollars worldwide (Geer, 2005; Abdel and Skai,
2011).
In the majority of the local houses in developing country
like Ethiopia, the wall is made of mud, while the roof is
grass thatched which is conducive for termite infestation.
Thatching in African houses can be expected to last 5 to
6 years (Pearce, 1997). The wood/straw thatch buildings,
characteristics of farming communities in Ethiopia and
much of sub-Saharan Africa are susceptible to termite
damage, particularly in the tropical savanna areas where
Macrotermitinae are abundant. Abdurahman (1990)
reported that in western Ethiopia thatched roof huts are
destroyed in less than five years and corrugated iron roof
houses in less than eight years.
The Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia is among the termite
prone regions of the country probably next to western
Ethiopia. However, no information is available on the
severity of termites particularly on the local houses from
this part of the country. Hence, the current study was
initiated with the following objectives:
(a) To survey termite damage to rural wooden houses;
(b) To collect information on public opinion concerning
termite damage to local houses and control practices
used by the local people, and
(c) To identify termite species infesting local houses.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Description of the study sites
Surveys of termite infested houses were conducted in four Peasant
Associations (PAs) of three districts of the Central Rift Valley of
Ethiopia. The PAS were Tuqa Langano (08°16'N, 38°55E,1686
masl) in Bora District, Oda Boqota (08°10'N, 38°50'E, 1666 masl)
in Dugda District, Warja Washgula (07°56'N, 38°41'E, 1652 masl)
and Garbi Widana Boramo (07°53'N, 38°41E, 1650 masl,) in Adami
Tullu Jiddo Kombolcha District (Figure 1). The Central Rift Valley is
well-known for its biodiversity and the vegetation is characterized by
Acacia trees or species (Huib and Herco, 2006). The study sites
were characterized by semi-arid climates. The average annual
precipitation was about 700 mm of which 42% falls between June
and September. The monthly maximum temperature varies from 25
to 30°C and the minimum temperature ranges between 10 and
20°C (Huib and Herco, 2006). The mean annual temperature was
20°C. The driest months were November and December, while May
is the hottest month with a mean maximum temperature of 28°C.
December is the coldest month with a mean minimum temperature
of 10°C. The greatest proportion of the land is grown with maize
and haricot bean (Mengistu, 2008).
The surveys were carried out from September 2012 to January
2013 just after the long rainy season which is said to be the highest
termite activities period. Selection of the districts was proposed by
the Agricultural Bureau at zonal and district levels based on termite
abundance and accessibility.
Survey methods and data collection
The surveys were conducted using an open-ended semi-structured
questionnaire and interviews with the homeowners, and
observation of termite infested houses. The questionnaire was
dispatched to 51 farmers selected randomly from the four PAs of
the three districts and the respondents’ filled the questionnaire with
the help of Development Agents. Short training was also given to
the farmers on how to fill the questionnaire. A total of fifty-eight
homeowners, different from those who filled the questionnaire, were
selected randomly and their houses were assessed for termite
infestation.Before carrying out the assessment and the interview,
each homeowner was asked whether his/her house was infested by
termite or not. Termite infestation assessment to houses comprised
of visual observation of signs such as termite galleries (mud tubes)
on walls, pores in walls, damaged parts such as roofs (wood and
*Corresponding author: E-mail: egetudegaga@yahoo.com, Tel: +251 911 019166.
Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License 4.0 International License
Debelo and Degaga 2903
Figure 1. Map of the study sites.
grass), window and door frames, wood in walls and wooden
furniture among others. Pieces of wood in the premises and
wooden fences were also inspected for those houses which had
wooden fences.
The age of the houses and when the wall was made of wood, the
type of plant from which the wood came were also recorded by
asking the owners. A house was said to be infested when there was
any sign of termite attack to the house itself, furniture found in it,
presence of mud tubes on walls or floors and spots of fecal
pelletamong others. When a house was found infested, its condition
was recorded as:
1. Slightly infested: Mud tubes on walls, roof, window and door
frames, presence of mounds found externally at the base of walls
and inside houses without any sign of damage or little damage.
2. Moderately infested: Woods in wall, window and door frames,
grass in grass thatched roofs or woods supporting roofs partially
eaten, but were not cut completely.
3. Severely infested but not collapsed: Window, door frames, some
of the woods in wall and/or roof were eaten and cut completely,
grass in roof thatched houses was eaten and the house drips as a
result, window and/or door frames were cut and left their original
normal position, or as a result of termite attack the house was tilted
and was about to collapse.
4. Collapsed: The house was highly damaged and as a result tilted
and the owner supported it by wooden pole to prevent it from
collapsing, or totally collapsed.
Preconstruction preventive methods and post construction control
measures used by the homeowners, type of wood in wooden wall
houses, resistance level of the wood to termites, availability of the
plants were recorded during the interviews. Termites were collected
and preserved in 80% alcohol and were later identified with the help
of taxonomic keys of Abdurahman (1991). Plant species used for
the construction of the houses were identified at the National
Herbarium of Addis Ababa University, using freshly collected plants
2904 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
Table 1. Percent termite infestation on rural houses as affected by age.
Age distribution of the
surveyed houses in year
(n=58)
Percentage of houses
belonging to each age
group
Percentage houses
infested by termites
1-3 20.7 19.0
4-6 44.8 39.7
7-9 17.2 15.5
10-12 10.3 10.3
13-15 5.2 5.2
16+ 1.7 1.7
Table 2. Percent termite infested houses in relation to construction materials.
Wall material
of the houses
Number of
houses
surveyed
Status of the houses in terms of
termite infestation
none infested Infested
Mud brick 35 8.6 51.7
Wood 23 0.0 39.7
Total 58 8.6 91.4
of the same species.
Data analysis
As the study was none replicated experiments descriptive statistics
such as mean and percentage among others were used to
determine termite infestation on rural houses. Data collected from
respondents and participants were qualitatively interpreted.
RESULTS
Table 1 depicts the effect of age on termite infestation.
Houses aging from 1 to 3 years were less infested than
old houses greater than 7 years. Over 65% of the studied
houses were less than 7 years old and the highest
percent termite infestation for this age group houses were
about 40%. Table 2 demonstrated that about 60% of the
surveyed houses were made of mud brick, while 40% of
them were wooden wall. Only 8.6% of the houses were
free of termite infestation (Table 2). About 55% of the
respondents indicated that within 1 to 2 years time newly
built houses can be infested by termites. Less than 5% of
the respondents indicated that newly built houses can be
infested by termites within 7 to 8 years (Figure 2). Over
50% of the respondents indicated that newly built houses
require repair within 3 to 4 years. Less than 5% of the
respondents indicated that houses may require repair at
greater than 8 years old (Figure 3).
Over 45% of the surveyed houses were 4 to 6 years
old, while only 3% of the surveyed houses were greater
than 16 years old (Figure 4). Nearly 50% of the surveyed
houses were rated as severely termite infested houses,
while 3% of the houses collapsed due to termites (Figure
5).
Samples of pictorial descriptions of termite infested
houses are shown in Plates 1 to 3. The plates
demonstrate a roof supporting timber completely cut by
termites (Plate 1), termite infested houses supported by
poles (Plate 2) and severely damaged door frame (Plate
3).
Both susceptible and resistant plant species were used
for the construction of the surveyed houses (Table 3).
Acacia tortillis, Eucalyptus spp., Acacia albida, Balantes
aegyptus and Croton macrostachyus were the
susceptible plant species used for the construction. The
resistant plant species used in the construction include
Acacia etbaica, Dichrostachys cinera, Flueggea virosa
and Acacia Senegal.
Plastic sheet cover followed by used engine oil before
construction and mud tube removal followed by wood ash
and used engine after construction were found to be the
major termite management options in the study areas
(Table 4). About 79% of the termites causing damage to
houses in the study area were the genus Macrotermes,
while the rest 21% consists of the genus Odontotermes.
DISCUSSION
The absence of very old houses, the infestation of most
of the houses, and severe damage recorded show
frequent rebuilding of houses and termite severity to rural
houses. Most of the farmers believed that houses would
collapse if they were not repaired within six years after
Debelo and Degaga 2905
Figure 2. Percentage respondents showing years after which newly constructed houses
can be infested by termites.
Figure 3. Percentage respondents showing years after which newly constructed houses
need repair due to termite infestation.
construction. Termite damage to buildings in tropical
countries is a serious concern which is in part due to the
diversity of termites in these areas and poor building
design (Abdel and Skai, 2011). Thatching in African
houses can be expected to last 5 to 6 years (Pearce,
1997). In western Ethiopia thatched roof huts are
destroyed in less than five years and corrugated iron roof
houses in less than eight years (Abdurahman, 1990).
Higher infestation of wooden wall houses than mud
brick houses could be attributed to the attraction of
termites to wood (cellulose) used in construction and the
woody debris left in soil and around houses after
construction. It is also more likely that infested wooden
wall houses have shorter life than mud brick houses
because as termites eat woods in the former, the walls
will lose support and eventually collapse. But in mud brick
walls, termites simply move through the walls to reach
the roof and thus they have little effect on the integrity of
2906 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
Figure 4. Percentage age distribution of surveyed houses.
Figure 5. Percent of houses fall under different termite infestation category.
Debelo and Degaga 2907
Plate 1. A roof supporting timber completely cut by termites.
Plate 2. Termite infested houses supported by poles.
the wall. But, once they have reached the roof, especially
iron corrugated roof houses, which contain only a few
roof supporting timbers, termites ring-cut the timbers at
their junction with the wall leaving the roof without being
fixed to the wall. As the damage is not usually visible, the
homeowners do not take action timely, and thus the
whole roof will be removed completely even by a slight
wind. Some participants told the authors that in Warja
Washgula Farmers’ Association, roofs of 20 iron
corrugated houses were removed by wind at the same
time in the year 2008.
The homeowners used different kinds of wood species
in building their houses and they were able to identify
susceptible and resistant woods to termites that were
used in their area for house construction. All farmers
regarded D. cinerea, A. etbaica, and F. virosa as highly
resistant to termites. Logan et al. (1990) reported that
many timbers contain chemicals or complex mixtures of
2908 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
Plate 3. Severely damaged door frame.
Table 3. Plant species used for the construction of the studied rural houses and their reaction
to termites.
Plant reaction Names of plants
Local name Scientific name
Susceptible
Dhaddacha/Ajoo Acacia tortillis (Forskk)
Muka Bargama/Barzafii Eucalyptus spp.
Garbii Acacia albida Del.
Badana Balantes aegytica (L.) Del
Bakanissa Croton macrostachyus Del.
Resistant
Doddota Acacia etbaica Schweinf
Geetoo/haxxee/jirmee Dichrostachys cinera (L.) Wight & Am
Daboobessa Flueggea virosa (Willd) Voigt
Saphanga/Qarxafaa Acacia Senegal (L.) Willd
Table 4. Numbers of homeowners used different control/management strategies identified during the survey,
Management options Preconstruction (%) Post construction (%)
No. of users % of users No. of users % of users
Synthetic termiticide (Malathion) 0 0.0 2 6.7
Herbicide 0 0.0 2 6.7
Wood ash 5 9.8 5 16.7
Decomposed cow dung and/or goat urine 1 1.9 2 6.7
Mound destruction/queen removal 0 0.0 2 6.7
Plastic sheet cover 24 47.1 2 6.7
Used engine oil 13 25.5 5 16.7
Mud tube removal (scratching) - - 8 26.7
Site selection 1 1.9 - -
Debris removal /sanitation 1 1.9 1 3.3
Use of grass free of termites 2 3.9 - -
Floor, perimeter – cement 1 1.9 0 0
Kerosine 0 0.0 1 3.3
Use of mud brick instead of wood 2 3.9 - -
Sand, gravel 1 1.9 - -
- = Not applicable.
chemicals that repel or kill termites or interfere with their
gut fauna. Factors affecting wood consumption by
termites are numerous and complexly related. Among the
most important of these factors are wood species and
hardness, presence of toxic substances, feeding
inhibitors or deterrents, presence or absence of fungi and
degree of fungal decay, moisture content of wood and
soil among others (Hickin, 1971; Getachew et al., 2003;
Regina et al., 2004; Behailu et al., 2011).
Over 90% of the houses were infested, although about
60% of the homeowners used preconstruction preventive
measures implying that the methods are ineffective.
Plastic sheets were the most popularly used method and
their inefficacy could be attributed to their non-termite
resistance and may be incorrect use. It is also practically
impossible to exclude the house totally from termites by
plastic materials. Hickin (1971) and Pearce (1997) have
reported that plastic materials are often eaten by termites
and their resistance depends mainly on their density, the
compounds they contain, thickness, and intrinsic
hardness. UNEP (2000) and Ahmed and French (2008)
also reported that when certain plastic materials are used
as exclusion or barrier they can be breached and bridged
over by foraging mud tunnels. Use of engine oil was also
ineffective in protecting houses from termite attack.
Behailu et al. (2011) noted that at field condition stakes of
different timber species, treated with used engine oil
using hot-and-cold dipping open tank thermal method,
were attacked by termites before the third year of staking
Farmers had awareness about the control of termites
by mound destruction and queen removal and most of
the homeowners believed that termites came out of the
mounds which were found around their homes.
Macrotermes termite mounds were recorded in the
vicinity of most of the infested houses. However, only a
very small proportion (3.5%) of farmers destroyed
mounds after their houses were infested. About 79% of
the termites sampled from infested houses belonged to
mound-forming Macrotermes while the rest belonged to
Odontotermes (21%). Therefore, the result of this study
indicated that Macrotermes was a serious pest to wooden
construction.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This research has revealed that termites were serious
pests of rural houses of resource poor farmers and the
farmers were well aware of the problem. Macrotermes to
a larger extent and Odontotermes to a lesser extent were
the only termite genera found causing damage to rural
houses. The farmers had attempted a number of
traditional control methods mostly plastic sheets and
painting of used engine oil, but they were ineffective.
Other than the traditional management options
attempted, the homeowners had no awareness regarding
what measures they may take or whom to contact in
order to safeguard their homes. Few persons realized
Debelo and Degaga 2909
that the safest and cheapest termite control measures
are dusting of borates, like 20 Mule Team Borax (2014).
Frequent repairing and rebuilding of houses within a
few years is uneconomical for subsistence farmers.
Besides, it has negative environmental impacts as plants
are the major source for building materials. Therefore,
farmers should be given awareness about the general
views of termites and ways by which they can protect
their homes from damage. Therefore, there is a need for
comprehensive termite control approaches, which should
involve both the local communities, concerned
government bodies and more use of resistant wood
species.
Conflict of Interest
The author(s) have not declared any conflict of interest.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors are grateful to Adama Science and
Technology University (ASTU) for funding the research.
Special thanks go to the communities that participated in
this research. They also extends their thanks to Urgessa,
Mohammed and Abdulakim for field assistance.
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... • Farmers attempt a number of traditional control methods to control termite infestation, mostly plastic sheets and painting with used engine oil, but they were usually ineffective. (Debelo & Degaga, 2014). • Eucalyptus, which is easily attacked by termites, is usually smoked and / or soaked in burnt oil. ...
... Where the termite problem is very accentuated, thatched roof huts are destroyed in less than five years and corrugated iron roof houses in less than eight years (e.g. in western Ethiopia). (Debelo & Degaga, 2014). • Once the termites have reached the roof, especially in CGI roof houses, which contain only a few roof supporting timbers, termites ring-cut the timbers at their junction with the wall leaving the roof with no fixation to the wall. ...
... As the damage is not visible, the homeowners do not take action timely, and thus the whole roof may be removed completely even by a slight wind. (Debelo & Degaga, 2014). Round verandah and stone plinth protecting a chikka house. ...
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Collaborating institution :- National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) of the Government of Ethiopia- Global shelter cluster- Shelter cluster Ethiopia- LabEx AE&CC / ENSAG / Université Grenoble-Alpes- International Organisation for Migration (IOM) - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies - CARE International UK
... The indications of termite attacks recorded in the present study included galleries (trails of termites covered by soil, wood particles, and/or feces), termite nests around houses, and parts of termite nests that were connected to the buildings. These signs were used to locate and indicate termite attack in the selected structures [31][32][33]. When a traditional house was found to be infested by termites, the condition was recorded digitally and manually. ...
... According to interviews with home owners, 72 houses (90%) were built using selected hard wood species (e.g., Shorea spp., Artocarpus spp., and Vitex spp.) depending on their culture, art, beliefs, and traditional knowledge of biological resources, as reported in Saudi Arabia [9], Malay Peninsula [10], and Africa [32]. Such wood species were common around the villages at the time of construction. ...
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Surveys of the conditions of termite attack were conducted in two regencies, Pidie and Greater Aceh, Aceh Province, Indonesia (40 houses in each location). Interviews were also conducted with home owners to collect data on the building history; culture, such as daily life in the house; the frequency and intensity of termite attacks; and traditional knowledge for avoiding and/or suppressing termite attacks. We found that 51% of traditional houses were infested by two termite species: Coptotermes gestroi and Nasutitermes matangensis. The lower parts of traditional houses were frequently attacked and severely damaged by termites. Previous land use and the ages of the traditional houses affected the intensity of the termite attacks. Several measures for avoiding and/or suppressing termite attacks on cultural heritage buildings are also proposed.
... A total of 106 houses were randomly assessed for termite infestation based on visual observation of signs such as termite mud tubes on walls, pores in walls, damaged parts such as roofs (wood and grass), windows and door frames, wood in walls, and wooden furniture among others. When a house was found infested, its condition was recorded as in Debelo and Degaga (2014): slightly infested-only mud tubes on walls, roofs, windows and door frames, and mounds (nests) at the base of walls and inside houses without any sign of damage or little damage; moderately infested-woods, walls, windows and door frames, roofs, or woods supporting roofs have been partially eaten, but not completely; severely infested but not collapsed-windows, door frames, some of the woods in walls and/or roofs eaten out completely, and windows and/or door frames cut off or slanted; collapsed-a highly damaged house, which is collapsed or had wood completely eaten out causing the collapse of the supported structure. Pieces of wood in the premises and wooden fences were also inspected for those houses which had wooden ...
... Materu, Jacob, and Bruno (2013) found Microtermes, Pseudocanthotermes, Macrotermes, and Odontotermes to infest coconut nurseries in Tanzania. Debelo and Degaga (2014) recorded 91% termite infestation in a rural community in Ethiopia due to Macrotermes and Odontotermes. According to the natives in Ase, during the wet season (around February to October), termites tend to be abundant in houses. ...
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Abstract Background Termites (Order Isoptera) are eusocial insects that are of great benefit and economic importance to humans. Despite its benefits and economic attributes to humans, it accounts for serious damage on buildings in Nigeria especially in the rural areas. The aim of this study was to collect preliminary data on termite infestation of the buildings in Ase, a local community in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Data was collected by direct observation of termites on the buildings, and a structured questionnaire was presented to respondents in houses with visual signs of infestation. Samples of termites were collected from parts of the houses with mud tubes or nests. Results A total of 106 houses were inspected with 35.85% infested with termites. The termites found were two species of Amitermes, one of Microcerotermes, three of Nasutitermes, two of Neotermes, and one of Odontotermes. Most infested homes (71%) were graded as moderate, severely damaged, and collapsed revealing a major problem. Percentage infestation of wood services revealed door frames 62.5% and wall (mud tubes) 87.75%, floor 18.85%, logs outside the house 56.25%, windows and roof 43.75%, ceiling 18.75%, and bathroom, furniture, and kitchen 6.25%. Respondents were 30–90 years old and did not attribute mud tubes to termite infestation. Seventy-two percent of the buildings were less than 60 years, and preventive measures used by respondents were Solignum and used engine oil. Most of the buildings were severely infested, and a
... Although effort has been made to ensure quality construction of engineering structures within the recent years, very little attention has been paid to the effects of biological activities of plants and insects on these structures. According to Debelo and Degaga [6] termites problem on rural houses is a neglected area regardless of the intensity of the problem which at times results to total collapse of newly constructed houses. And it is estimated that the annual economic cost of structural damage to buildings from termites in urban areas is about $15-29 Billion Dollars worldwide (Geer, 2005; [5,7] Adedamola [9] pointed out that while it is certain that buildings are prone to deterioration, it is important that the rate of collapse and associated loss should be greatly reduced. ...
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Engineering structures are constantly subject to damage caused by biological activities such as the action of insects, penetration of roots and fluids. Because of this, we conducted a critical study on how these activities contribute to the collapse of these structures in Nigeria. The damage caused by biological activities was evaluated in fifteen buildings in Cross River State, of these buildings six showed damage caused by termites, two of the failed engineering structures were linked to development of roots of plants, and the remaining seven were linked to poor quality building materials, poor compaction, lack of supervision, poor engineering design. Others ten structurally failed buildings were examined in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Nigeria, of these four were linked to biological activities of termites, with subsurface porosity showing evidence of surface water discharge zones, two of the failed structures were linked to the growth activities of roots of trees, and four to poor construction design. The road that links Cross River State to Abuja had more than 80 points of failure, the majority of which were linked to poor compaction of road foundation, root of plants and fluid interference. Such damage could be prevented through: thorough investigation of biological activities existing and likely to exist around the environment before the establishment of the engineering structure and over the years; use of bio-resistant materials, such as nano materials incorporated coatings with novel functionalities should be used in the construction of structures; protection of engineering structures from fluid penetration into foundations; and engineering structures must follow the global best practices guide lines, provided by ‘Society of Structural Engineers’. Keywords: Termites; animals; plants; environment; porosity; roots.
... Education, type of house and age of house have very strong drive on factors that influence termite infestation. This result corroborated the findings of Ghaly and Edwards (2011), Debelo and Degaga (2014), Ugbomeh and Diboyesuku (2019), Novita et al. (2020). ...
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From forests to human dwellings, infestations of woods by termites are on the increase. Despite the increasing occurrences of termite infestations in human dwellings in the Niger Delta region, there is still insufficient information about the preventive and remedial measures towards house termites by house-owners (HOs) in the region. Through a survey of Omuoko [n = (50%) = 82] and Omuihechi [n = (50%) = 57] communities in the Ikwerre area of Port Harcourt, this study analyzed a 139-house owner samples using standard methods. Data obtained show that 64.7% of HOs use preventive measures which include chemicals (43.2%), chemicals and non-wood materials (20.9%), and non-wood materials (0.6%). A sub-total of 73 HOs representing 52.5% of the total respondents use remedial measures with chemicals (34.2%) being dominant, followed by Chemicals and replacement (27.4%), Replacement (17.8%), Scraping (12.3%), Chemical and scrapping (6.8%), and cement (1.4%). This study indicates that old, wooden, and thatched houses are highly susceptible to termites' infestations, thus deserving periodic preventive and remedial treatments through expert consultations and/or do-it-yourself methods.
... Although only 185 of 2600 termite species are considered pests, however, these pests have a huge negative impact on economy. The expenditures for damage and preventative treatment run about $15-20 billion dollars worldwide [8,9] and $ 2-3 billion dollars in Unites States alone annually [10]. Termites consume diet rich in cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and lignin derivatives [11]. ...
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The present study reports a sustainable source of lignin, from termite frass. Lignin was extracted using Klason’s method and subjected to polarization studies to check the inhibition efficiency and measured the electrochemical performance of the coated sample on the carbon steel using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The anticorrosive property was determined in a simulated corrosive environment (0.1 M NaOH and 0.5 M NaOH). The morphological analysis of the surface of both bare metal and the lignin-coated ones, before and after exposure to the corrosive environment, was recorded using atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy-dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy (EDX). The lignin showed maximum inhibition efficiency at 600 ppm in 0.5 M NaOH solution. Moreover, the lignin coated on carbon steel exhibited about 70% corrosion inhibition efficiency as recorded by potentiodynamic polarization studies and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The AFM and SEM analyses further corroborated the protection of the metal surface from corrosion when coated with lignin. Hence, the study suggests lignin from termite frass as a sustainable biological source suitable for anticorrosive applications. Graphic abstract
... Termites are social insects belonging to the order Isoptera, they are essential in the ecosystem of the soil and are found throughout the world (Abdel and Skai, 2011). Although by their activities they have beneficial values, they also have harmful damaging effects on their targets (Debelo and Degaga, 2014). The undesirable change in the properties of a material caused by the vital activities of living organisms like termites different from physical, chemical and mechanical influences is referred to as biodeterioration. ...
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The paper reviewed the control measures against damage caused by termites. The objective was achieved using baseline published literature and data. This is particularly important because of the ever present destructive effect and presence of termites in every area of life worldwide. Multiple effective measures, ranging from chemical treatments to independent pest management procedures were identified. The right choice and application of termite preventive and control measures will be a great reprieve to stakeholders all over the world.
... This finding is supported by Jones (2004), who found the highest termite infestation rates in the oldest buildings (Jones 2004). Debelo and Degaga (2014) also demonstrated that houses over 7 years after construction were more frequently infested by termites than new houses. Compared with temperate and subtropical areas, tropical areas are more susceptible to termite damage since the diversity of termites in those areas is high (Kirton 2005). ...
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This study aimed to map the distribution of termites in buildings in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Forty-four infested buildings in Pontianak were chosen randomly as samples. Out of the buildings inspected, 10 buildings were aged less than 15 years, 13 buildings 16-30 years, 17 buildings for over 31 years, and 4 buildings were of unknown age. The altitude of the survey area was from 0.1 to 1.5 m above sea level. Soil types were clay, alluvial, humus, and organosol. The average temperature, average relative humidity, and annual precipitation at the survey site were 27.3°C, 84% and 340.6 mm, respectively. By direct observations, ten termite species were found: Coptotermes curvignathus, Coptotermes kalshoveni, Cryptotermes sp.1, Cryptotermes sp.2, Cryptotermes domesticus, Cryptotermes cynocephalus, Nasutitermes havilandi, Schedorhinotermes medioobscurus, Microcerotermes havilandi, and Globitermes globosus. N. havilandi was the most common species found in 26 buildings, followed by Cryptotermes sp.1. (9 buildings), C. domesticus (8 buildings) and C. curvignathus (8 buildings). © 2017, Society for Indonesian Biodiversity. All rights reserved.
... Termites of the genus Macrotermes are the most common termites in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia responsible for lodging of maize plants which cut the plants at ground surface (Daniel and Emana, 2015). Rural houses in the area are mostly damaged by Macrotermes (Emana and Daniel, 2014). The genus Macrotermes includes several important pests of a wide range of field crops and trees. ...
... The replacement of damaged wood and rebuilding of new houses is uneconomical for the farmers and has serious impacts on natural vegetation as it demands additional use of wood. It is therefore of high importance to further spread the knowledge regarding the use of mound soil in making bricks as construction material in a sustainable approach for the future (Emana and Daniel, 2014). The high clay content, the chemical and physical properties and mineralogical composition of termite mound soils which are different from adjacent soils make them useful for making bricks for buildings and contribute a lot in constructions (Pearce, 1997;Akutse et al., 2012). ...
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Termites are well -known for their capacity to damage and destroy wood and wood products of all kinds in the tropics and subtropics. A field test was undertaken to evaluate variations in wood consumption of Pinus sp. and three species of Eucalyptus by subterranean termites. The test consisted of wooden stakes of each species being initially submitted to water immersion for 0, 24, 48 and 72 h, and buried in the ground to natural infestation by subterranean termites for an exposure period of 30, 45 and 60 days. Three species of subterranean termites were identified: Heterotermes longiceps (Snyder), Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), and Nasutitermes jaraguae (Holmgren) (Isoptera: Termitidae). This is the first record of occurrence of H. longiceps in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Although the wood-consumption rates were not correlated significantly with their wood densities, there was a tendency of the softwoods (E. robusta and Pinus sp.) to be more consumed by subterranean termites than the woods of intermediate hardness (E. pellita and E. urophylla). Among the eucalyptus, E. robusta showed to be more susceptible to attack by subterranean termites than E. pellita and E.urophylla.
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Subterranean termites ('termites') are a major pest of human structures throughout tropical and sub-tropical regions, causing billions of dollars in damage to timber-in-service worldwide. Most control systems, in the past, relied almost solely on the use of extensively applied organochlorines as the major termiticides. These chemicals were banned for use as termiticides through out most of Australia in 1995. The banning of organochlorin es stimulated a fresh look and wholly biorational approach to termite control. The focus of research is now directed to finding more "environmentally friendly" termite control methods. In order to develop new possibilities for more acceptable termite control, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of their biology, including reproduction, division of labour, foraging, intra-specific and inter-specific interactions, hindgut microbial community and environmental influences. Improved understanding may lead to more efficient and more effective control strategies. The purpose of this review is to review the current research on Australian termites highlighting ongoing research related to development of alternative control methods and to identify areas in need of further study and funding
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In total, 289 termite samples were collected from 45 counties in Indiana during 2002-2004. Approximately 89% of the collection sites were associated with artificial structures, and almost half of the samples were from inside homes. The rest of the samples were from forested areas. Termite samples were identified based on their morphological characteristics, molecular characteristics, or both. Five species from the genus Reticulitermes were identified, and the relative abundance (percentage of the total collections) of these five species was Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) (90.0), Reticulitermes virginicus (Banks) (7.6), Reticulitermes arenincola (Goellner) (1.0), Reticulitermes tibialis (Banks) (1.0), and Reticulitermes hageni Banks (0.3). Based on the distribution map, R. flavipes was the dominant and the most widely distributed species in Indiana (44 counties); followed by R. virginicus (13 counties). The three other Reticulitermes species, R. arenincola, R. tibialis, and R. hageni, were encountered in only five counties. R. arenincola is considered a rare species and its distribution has been limited to sand dunes near Lake Michigan. However, in this study, two of the three R. arenincola samples were collected outside of its type location. R. tibialis was found in three counties, whereas R. hageni was only found in Evansville, IN. To complement the morphological identifications, a 389-bp region of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced from all five Reticulitermes species. Based on species-specific polymorphisms exhibited in mtDNA sequences, a polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism-based diagnostic tool was developed to identify samples lacking of diagnostic morphological characters.
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The volume is divided into seven chapters: termites as insects (what is a termite?, evolution, relationships to cockroaches, castes of termites, classification of termites); distribution (World distribution, pest distribution, factors affecting distribution); termite biology and behaviour (commuinication, feeding, water requirements, defence, foraging, nest building); nest systems (nest types, termitophiles); termite ecology (soil type, vegetation types, benefits to the environment, environmental factors, predators and parasites); termites as pests (food preferences, damage recognition and detection, damage assessment); and control methods (chemical control, physical and cultural control, biological control, safety). Four appendices provide information on: collection and identification; culture methods; monitoring methods; and laboratory tests using termites.
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The sustainability of irrigated agriculture is questioned and the challenge is to increase simultaneously land and water productivity in the face of the limited availability of land and water in the CRV, the Central Rift Valley. The aim of this research is to assess the social-economic performance of two communitybased small-scale irrigation schemes in Adami Tullu Jido Kombolcha Woreda (ATJK) and to identify options to improve irrigation performance and resource management
Keys to the Genera of Ethiopian termites
  • A Abdurahman
Abdurahman A (1991). Keys to the Genera of Ethiopian termites. Crop Protection bulletin No.1. Ministry of Agriculture. Addis Ababa. P.15.