Termite damage can be a major problem when growing trees. It is a concern for many small-scale farmers who want to plant trees on their land.
Using chemicals to control termites can be expensive. But there are tested, local techniques to improve the survival rate of your tree seedlings. And they are less costly and less harmful to the environment than chemicals.
You can create conditions that repel termites. For example, add poultry manure to the soil used for transplanting tree seedlings. Or try spreading ash from wood fires or burnt cereal stalks on the soil around the base of the seedlings. These methods help to discourage termites.
You can also try to attract predatory ants that will eat the termites.
Crush bones into powder and mix the powder with the soil when transplanting tree seedlings. Or use the water you have used to cook food, particularly cereals, to water the seedlings. Both the crushed bones and the cooking water will attract the predatory ants.
If you use these techniques properly you will reduce the amount of termite damage to your tree seedlings.
By Yussif Sulemana, Ghana
Adapted from Baobab magazine, No. 15, November 1994, page 20. Baobab is available from Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Casier Postal 3, Dakar-Fann, Senegal.