March 2, 2021 | 21:14 GMT +7

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Wednesday- 14:01, 24/02/2021

Black-headed caterpillars causing great loss for coconut farmers in Ben Tre

According to Ben Tre Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the black-headed carterpillars have attacked about 50 hectares of coconuts across the province in districts of Binh Dai, Mo Cay Nam, Chau Thanh.

Mr. Dang Cong Giang in Hamlet 1, Huu Dinh Commune, Chau Thanh District, Ben Tre Province, said that all 6 coconut tracts about to bear fruits have died after 3 months of being attacked by black-headed caterpillars. As Tet approached, coconut leaves dried, and it spread very quickly from trees to trees, from gardens to gardens.

The black-headed caterpillars are spreading rapidly, damaging many coconut gardens in Ben Tre. Photo: Minh Dam.

The black-headed caterpillars are spreading rapidly, damaging many coconut gardens in Ben Tre. Photo: Minh Dam.

"Despite being instructed by engineers to spray, it didn’t work because the trees were too high. We lost the whole coconut garden", Mr. Giang said about the coconut garden that has been cut down almost completely.

The black-headed caterpillar, having a scientific name of Opisina arenosella Walker, used to harm coconut trees in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand ... They can attack many parts of the coconut tree from being planted until bearing fruits.

Ben Tre currently has more than 72,000 hectares of coconut land, with an output of over 600 million fruits/year. This is the main source of income for the majority of farmers. Therefore, since this pest was detected (mid-July 2020), the Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection of Ben Tre province has issued a leaflet to guide farmers with the most effective use of biological drugs.

Black-headed caterpillars broke out in Ben Tre from July 2020. Photo: Minh Dam.

Black-headed caterpillars broke out in Ben Tre from July 2020. Photo: Minh Dam.

In addition, the Department also coordinated with the Nong Lam University - Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Plant Protection Center to study and find its natural parasites to control this black-headed caterpillar. However, this pest continued to appear in some other coconut growing areas in Chau Thanh and Mo Cay Nam districts.

According to the Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection of Ben Tre province, the Department has now discovered many types of natural enemies of the black-headed caterpillars, including parasitic bees in Phu Long commune, Binh Dai district.

VAN

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