The pale cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, is a major pest of potato crops in cool-temperate areas. It primarily affects plants within the potato family including tomatoes, eggplants, and some weeds. If left uncontrolled, pale cyst nematodes can cause up to 80 percent yield loss in potato fields.
The pale cyst nematode is widely distributed in many potato-growing regions throughout the world. In North America, besides the current find in Idaho, the nematode is also known to be present on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Pale cyst nematode infestations may be associated with patches of poor growth in potato fields. At high nematode populations, affected potato plants may exhibit yellowing, wilting or death of foliage - none of which has been observed in Idaho potato fields.
Early detection of pests minimizes agricultural production costs and enhances product quality and marketability. Lengthy crop rotation and nematicides (fumigants or granular systemic compounds) are an effective and practical means of control. The current recommendations for rotations are 7 to 15 years without potatoes or host crops. The integration of these methods can be used to manage the nematode population levels below economic thresholds.
APHIS Program Publications
National Policy Manager
Telephone: (301) 851-2128