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Extract Express

One-inch long, insecticide-resistant beetles have invaded agricultural lands in Biche, leaving a trail of destruction among underground produce.

Several acres of yam, dasheen, eddoes and tannia have been destroyed by the beetles in recent weeks. The pests have now spread their destruction to banana and cocoa trees.

The beetles bore into the stems of the trees, curl up in the hearts or roots of the plants–and then begin eating. Some of the beetles are red and others black.

Ten farmers have lost almost 30 acres of produce because of the beetle attack.

The gardens are situated near the forests in Bhagaratee Trace, Biche.
Affected farmers include Thakoor Ramroop, Vernon De Leon, Micky Morales, Winston Richardson, Neville Ragoo, M Khan, John Nanhoo, Fitzroy Sambrano, Mukesh Ramroop and Bashuda Khan.

The farmers, who make a living by selling their ground provisions, are literally crying since the beetle attack.

Spokesman Thakoor Ramroop, 60, who has been planting dasheen for 30 years, said: “It’s the first time I have seen something like this in all my life. The beetles just eat themselves into the trees and then go down the root.

“One day the trees (are) strong, healthy and standing tall and the next day the trees just turn yellow, dry up and fall to the ground,” said Ramroop.

Ramroop said when he discovered the beetles in his fields he used a variety of chemicals including insecticide, sevin powder, disinfectant, even Gramoxone–but the beetles survived.

“I have called several places that sell chemicals and used everything I was told, but those beetles survived all that. I am at a loss to know what to do now,” said Ramroop.

Then fellow farmers started complaining about the beetle attack in their fields also. They have lost thousands of dollars because of the destruction of their crops.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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