The majority of sorghum in Northern Nigeria is stored unthreshed in farmers' granaries made of dried mud or plant materials such as grass matting and cereal stems. During the course of survey work and insecticide trials in 1959–61 it was possible to examine many samples of unthreshed sorghum from granaries throughout Northern Nigeria. It was found that the distribution of insect species within the Region is not uniform. Sitophilus oryzae (L.) and Sitotroga cerealella (Ol.) are the major pests. Sitophilus zeamais Motsch. was found only in the southernmost area. Heavy infestations of Rhyzopertha dominica (F.), Lasioderma serricorne (F.), Cryptolestes ugandae Steel & Howe, Oryzaephilus mercator (Fauv.), Tribolium castaneum (Hbst.) and T. confusum Duv. usually occur. Attagenus gloriosae (F.), Ahasverus advena (Waltl), Palorus ficicola (Woll.), P. ratzeburgi (Wissm.) and P. subdcpressus (Woll.) are occasionally important.
R. dominica, Bruchidius sp., G. ugandae, Planolestes cornutus (Grouv.), S. oryzae, Brachypeplus sp., T. castaneum, Sitotroga cerealella (all of which occurred on the standing crop), L. serricorne, Typhaea stercorea (L.), O. mercator, Palorus spp. and Tribolium confusum were found in sorghum sampled before storage. Insects from infested stores were found to infest sorghum growing nearby. Prestorage infestation alone can result in subsequent heavy populations of insects in the store. Cross-infestation between granaries almost certainly occurs.
Under Samaru conditions, where sorghum is harvested in November–December, insect populations remain at a low level in granary-stored unthreshed sorghum until after June, when the moisture content rises in the rainy season. In sorghum stored for nine months in provincial trials, more damage occurred during the last three months than during the previous six months of storage.
Sorghum heads stored in granaries made of plant materials such as grass matting and cereal stems are more severely damaged by insects than those stored in dried-mud granaries. This is probably due to a higher rate of immigration in the former.
In threshed grain stored in a mud granary, moisture content and damage by the most abundant insect, Sitophilus oryzae, decreased with depth. The insect population rose to a peak in November, two months after the maximum moisture content. The numbers fell rapidly during the following dry season. The annual cycle of insect damage was also assessed by taking fortnightly samples of threshed grain from a local market. S. oryzae was the most numerous insect, but even this species was uncommon from December to May, during the dry season.