Controlling the upconversion luminescence (UCL) intensity ratio, especially pumped at 808 nm, is of fundamental importance in biological applications due to the water molecules exhibiting low absorption at this excitation wavelength. In this work, a series of β-NaYbF4:Er microrods were synthesized by a simple one-pot hydrothermal method and their intense green (545 nm) and red (650 nm) UCL were experimentally investigated based on single particle level under the excitation of 808 nm continuous-wave (CW) laser. Interestingly, the competition between the green and red UCL can be observed in highly Yb3+-doped microcrystals as the excitation intensity gradually increases, which leads to the UCL color changes from green to orange. However, the microcrystals doped with low Yb3+ concentration keep green color which is independent on the excitation power. Further investigations demonstrate that the cross-relaxation (CR) processes between Yb3+ and Er3+ ions result in the UCL competition.