Termite Abundance and Damage in Traditional Maize-Cassava Intercrops in Southwestern Nigeria

Abstract

During surveys conducted in 40 maize-cassava intercrops in the humid forest zone of southwestern Nigeria, the following termite species were identified from soil samples: Microtermes spp., Macrotermes nigeriensis (Sjöstedt), Macrotermes subhyalinus (Rambur), Amitermes evuncifer (Silvestri) and Anoplotermes quietus (Fr. Muller). High incidence of Microtermes and Macrotermes spp. was observed. The population density of predominant species was generally higher in the rainy seasons than in the dry seasons, indicating the role of moisture in their spread. The soil texture of surveyed farms did not influence the presence of the subterranean species Microtermes. The level of weeds in the surveyed farms also did not affect the population density of termites. However, Microtermes population increased significantly (P < 0.05) with increase in crop residues and its presence in farms partly depended on the presence of maize in such farms. Microtermes and Macrotermes species inflicted most of the damage observed on maize crops, while that caused by Amitermes evuncifer waslow. No termite attack was observed on growing cassava during the surveys. The presence of live cassava in the intercrop did not influence damage by termites. Nasutitermes and Microcerotermes species which attack economic trees such as cocoa, citrus, oil palm, and forest trees did not attack cassava or maize.

Résumé

Les échantillonnages effectués sur 40 champs de maïs associés au manioc dans la zone agroécologique de la forêt humide dans le sud-oeust du Nigeria indiquaient la présence des espèces de termites suivantes sur les prélèvements du sol: Microtermes spp., Macrotermes nigeriensis (Sjöstedt), Macrotermes subhyalinus (Rambur), Amitermes evuncifer (Silvestri) et Anoplotermes quietus (F. Muller), Une haute présence des espèces de Microtermes et Macrotermes a été constatée. La présence ainsi que la population des espèces prédominantes étaient généralement plus hautes pendant la saison pluvieuse que pendant la saison sèche, indiquant le role de l’humidité sur leur propagation. Les textures du sol des champs échantillonnés n’avaient pas d’effets significatifs aux présences des espèces souterraines, Microtermes. Les niveaux de mauvaises herbes dans les champs échantillonés n’avaient pas aussi d’effet sur la densité des termites. Néanmoins, la population de Microtermes augmentait significativement (P < 0, 05) selon la quantité de résidue des plantes restant aux champs, et leur présence dans les champs dépandait de la présence du maïs. Les espèces de Microtermes et Macrotermes infligaient les pluparts des dégâts observés sur les cultures de maïs. Les dégâts causés par Amitermes evuncifer au maïs étaient faibles. Aucune attaque par les termites n’a été constatée sur les cultures du manioc pendant les échantillonnages. Les espèces de Nasutitermes et Microcerotermes qui ont attaqués les arbres économiques comme les cacaos, les agrumes, les palmiers à huile et les arbres forestiers n’ont pas attaqués le manioc ni le maïs.

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Correspondence to V. C. Umeh.

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Umeh, V.C., Ivbijaro, M.F. Termite Abundance and Damage in Traditional Maize-Cassava Intercrops in Southwestern Nigeria. Int J Trop Insect Sci 17, 315–321 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1017/S1742758400019123

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Key Words

  • farm sanitation
  • Macrotermes nigeriensis
  • maize damage
  • Microtermes
  • cassava

Mots Clés

  • condition sanitaire du champ
  • Macrotermes nigeriensis
  • degât de maïs
  • Microtermes
  • manioc