Surveys were completed in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar to assess the lepidopteran stem borer species diversity on wild host plants. A total of 24,674 larvae belonging to 135 species were collected from 75 species of wild host plants belonging to the Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Typhaceae. Amongst them were 44 noctuid species belonging to at least nine genera, 33 crambids, 15 pyralids, 16 Pyraloidea species not yet identified, 25 tortricids and three cossids. The noctuid larvae represented 73.6% of the total number of larvae collected, with 66.3, 3.5 and 3.8% found on Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Typhaceae, respectively. The Crambidae, Pyralidae, Tortricidae and Cossidae represented 19.8, 1.9, 2.5 and 0.1% of the total larvae collected, respectively, with 90.4% of the Crambidae and Pyralidae collected from Poaceae, and 99.7% of the Tortricidae collected from Cyperaceae. The lepidopteran stem borer species diversity in the wild host plants was far more diverse than previously reported.