Authorities in the northern Vietnamese province of Son La will spend over VND2 billion (US$89,581) to combat a large swarm of bamboo locusts that have been ravaging local crops.
The locust swarm, suspected to have migrated from Laos, has devoured over 40 hectares of paddy and corn fields in two communes of Soc Cop District, Son La, as well as another area of nearby forest.
A representative from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the number of grasshoppers had not yet reached alarming levels, determined as between 100 and 150 locusts per square meter, meaning the situation might only be under control by next year.
According to the official, the bamboo locusts mainly eat the leaves of bamboo trees, sugarcanes, and corn plants and cannot be killed by direct exposure to insecticides.
To control them, a chemical solution must be sprayed onto the crops that the insect consumes, which can damage the plants themselves, he continued.
For this reason, the Son La Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has decided to implement a more viable approach, which is to burn the grasshopper eggs during their breeding season in the winter.
About VND2.3 billion ($103,018) to VND2.9 billion ($12,989) will be required to fund the locust control effort, one local leader said, “but we probably won’t use all of the money.”
According to local authorities, bamboo grasshoppers have destroyed crops since late 2015, creating immense challenges for farmers.