Surveys were conducted in two different ecological zones (semi-arid and arid) of Kenya to monitor egg, larval and pupal populations of the sorghum shootfly, Atherigona seccata, on a wild host, Sorghum arundinaceum. Populations were found to be usually higher on wild sorghum than on local varieties of Sorghum bicolor, the cultivated host. During dry periods, shootfly eggs and larvae were still found on wild sorghum, especially in moist areas such as beds of temporary streams or river banks. Population levels seem to be related primarily with the availability of susceptible stems, which in itself is determined by rainfall, soil conditions, density of other vegetation and by the phenology and the distribution of the host plant, Sorghum arundinaceum, being a pioneer species which colonizes recently disturbed areas and is subsequently replaced by other grass species. Since no evidence of the existence of an aestivation diapause has been found, it is reasonable to assume that Sorghum arundinaceum is a major reservoir for A. seccata, especially during the dry season.