Insect Pests of Cereals in Ethiopia

Insect pests of cereals in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is an agricultural country in the tropics which, because of large variation in altitudes, can grow a wide variety of tropical and temperate crops. Cereals are the most important crops as almost 90% of the agricultural production is from this group. Common cereals grown are tef, maize, barley, sorghum, wheat and millets.

Tef (Eragrostis tef) is the most important cereal crop in the country as it is used to prepare "injera", the basic diet for the majority of the population. Ethiopia is the only country where tef is grown on a large scale for human consumption. In few other countries which grow tef it is used for hay production or as a green fodder. Also the other cereals can be used, often mixed with tef, to prepare injera, but they are regarded to be of less quality.

As in all tropical countries, insect pests are major problems in Ethiopia, often causing considerable crop loss. A correct identification of a pest is the first step which leads to effective control or management of the pest. This website is intended to serve as a recognition guide for research workers and extension agents on the most important insect field pests of cereals in Ethiopia.

A checklist of about 70 insects which have been recorded as major, minor, or sporadic pests of cereals in Ethiopia is included. In this list the insects are grouped according to order and family.

The most serious pests and some commonly found species are discussed individually with information on host plants, importance in Ethiopia, damage, distribution and biology. See Table 1 for the importance of these pests for each of the various cereals. Click on the insect name for more information.

Black Tef Beetle, Erlangerius niger, on wheat

 

Table 1    The most important insect pests of cereals in Ethiopia (excluding storage pests) and their importance.

Barley

Maize

Sorghum

Tef

Wheat

Agonoscelis pubescens

+

Atherigona soccata

+++

Busseola fusca

+++

+++

Chilo partellus

+++

+++

+

Chrysodeixis acuta

+

+

Contarinia sorghicola

+++

Decticoides brevipennis

+

+++

+++

Delia arambourgi

+++

+++

+

Diopsis sp.

+

Diuraphis noxia

+++

+

+++

Chnootriba similis

+

+

+

+

Erlangerius niger

+++

Helicoverpa armigera
  (Heliothis armigera)

+

+

+

Locusta migratoria migratorioides

+

+

Macrotermes subhyalinus

+

+

+++

+

Mentaxya ignicollis

+++

Nezara viridula

+

+

+

Pachnoda interrupta

+++

Rhopalosiphum maidis

+

+

+

+

+

Schistocerca gregaria

+

+

+

+

+

Schizaphis graminum

+

+++

Spodoptera exempta

+

+

+

+

+

+        = minor pest
+++    = major pest

Text adapted from:

INSECT PESTS OF CEREALS IN ETHIOPIA identification and control methods by Hein Bijlmakers, FAO/UNDP Project ETH/86/029 Crop Protection Phase II, Addis Ababa, October 1989