In agricultural production, insect pollinators play a significant role in the quality and quantity of agricultural production. Use of chemical pesticides affect insect pollinators, which improve agricultural yields for farmers. Farmersâ€™ perception on insect pollinators may have influence on how they conserve them. The objective of this study was to investigate and document farmersâ€™ pesticide use practices and their perception on insect pollinators. A survey was conducted in farming villages surrounding Ngangao Forest, Taita Hills between March and April 2018. Seventy farmers were randomly sampled within ten farming villages and a written questionnaire administered to them. A total of 29 pesticide active ingredients belonging to 14 chemical groups were used by farmers against different pests and diseases. The most commonly used chemical groups were pyrethroid and organophosphate with 49.2% and 20.7% frequency use, respectively. Over 80% of the farmers follow the recommended rates of chemical application as stated on the label. Empty and used pesticide containers are disposed mainly through; burning 47.1%, burying 24.3%, disposing in pit latrine 15.7%. More than half of the farmers, 61.4% have no training on using pesticides. Majority of the farmers, 90% were aware of beneficial insects including insect pollinators. More than half of the farmers 62.9% were aware that insect pollinators are important in agriculture enhancing fruit, seed and pod set. Conservation of insect pollinators by farmers is mainly through crop intensification, spraying pesticides early, and late evening.
Keywords: Insect pollinators, Perception, Pesticides, Conservation, Taita Hills