It has only taken two years after its arrival in Vietnam for a new species of larva to wreak havoc on thousands of hectares of grapefruit and orange crops in the Mekong Delta.
The larvae, locally called ‘sau hong’ (reddish larva) and scientifically known as citripestis sagittiferella, have consumed hundreds of billions of dong worth of investments from local farmers, while what most concerns the latter is the insecticide capable of killing these creatures is yet to be found.
While traders are paying high prices for grapefruits, local farmers in Ben Tre and Tien Giang say they have no fruit to sell due to the “reddish larva epidemic.”
The pests have destroyed the grapefruits from inside, causing the fruit to drop, and leaving farmers upset with their destroyed crops.
Phan Thi Thuong, a farmer in Mo Cay Bac District, said the larvae has eaten away 80 percent of her 150-tree grapefruit plantation.
“I have tried every possible preventive solution but still cannot get rid of the larvae,” she lamented.