A high density of termite mounds is common in the Maki-Batu area of the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. To determine whether farmers consider termites as one of their problems in growing trees and practices they use to manage termites, short semi-structured questionnaires were distributed to farmers selected randomly. To evaluate the efficacy of some non-chemical control methods, Eucalyptus camaldulensis seedlings of five months were transplanted from nursery beds at two experimental sites. The seedlings were planted in three blocks each containing 6 treatments with 3 replicates laid out in randomized complete block design (RCBD). The treatments were: wood ash, cow dung, maize stalk, wood ash + cow dung + maize stalk, Untreated/control and Diazinon 60% EC applied at 2 l/ha as spray on the soil surface and a soil pit drench as a standard check. Plant mortality assessment was recorded once every month for one year. Mortality data were analyzed by analysis of variance (ANOVA) with SAS at 5% probability level. To find out the impact of termites on tree seedlings after transplanting in the area, mortality assessment was conducted at five sites on 11 species of tree seedlings transplanted from nursery beds. Termite damage on the seedlings was recorded once every month. After 12 months, seedlings of each plant species damaged during each month were summed and results were computed as percentages. To assess farmers’ perceptions of termites as pests, unstructured questionnaires were distributed to 64 farmers randomly selected. Eucalyptus seedling mortality was very low and there was no significant difference among the treatments (P > 0.05) except at one site in which wood ash + manure + maize stover showed higher mortality. Seventy-eight percent of the farmers mentioned that they had planted tree seedlings for different purposes and 72% of them considered termites as the major cause of seedling mortality. Although, higher density of Macroterems termite mounds were found in the area and most farmers considered termites as one of the major constraints in growing tree seedlings, this study showed very low termite damage to the tree seedlings studied for one year after transplanting.
Key words: Eucalyptus, farmer, Maki-Batu, mortality, pest.
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