Eelworm is a worm belonging to the phylum Nematode. There are many worms belonging to this group of phylum. Theyare called eelworm due to their resemblance to small eels. Length of an eelworm is between 0.1 to 1.5 mm. Their food source is mostly plant in origin. Some of the eelworms are free-living also. These free-living forms of eelworm are seen in moist soil, salt, fresh water. The parasitic forms of eelworm are the ones that are troublesome for the humans because they act as pests in agriculture.
Eelworm species are seen everywhere in the world. There are thousands of species of eelworm, and the ones that attack the plants are known to cause eelworm disease. They commonly attack the leaves, stems, bulbs, roots and buds of the plant. Leaf and bud variety of eelworm are easily spread during irrigation. They also spread from one plant to another by direct contact. It is important to maintain good nursery hygiene to prevent this disease because; there are not many methods of chemical control that are recommended for controlling eelworm disease.
How to recognize eelworm disease
Eelworm can be seen by naked eye. Eelworm infestation of a plant can be identified by breaking the leaves of the plant and putting it in water for one hour. After one hour, eelworms can be seen at the bottom of the water wriggling around. These tiny worms can be more easily visualized against a dark background and under a microscope. They can be confirmed by the presence of a blunt head. Another variety of eelworm known as root, worm eelworm has a pear shape.
Symptoms of eelworm infestation
There will be discoloration of leaves and buds. Angular blotches on leaves are also characteristic of this disease. The ones that are infected become soft and when they are cut across brown discoloration can be seen.
Tips and comments
Green manure crops can be used to control eelworm infection. The most effective one is the plant belonging to the brassica family.
Nemat, has high levels of glucosinolate in their fruits, and this can trap root knot eelworm.
French marigold is used to treat land. They can be grown in between growing crops and these helps to clear the land from many types of eelworms. This is a very effective method of controlling eelworm infection.
Regular crop control is important to control the spread of eelworm disease. Many stock plants that are affected by eelworm can be cleaned up by hot water treatment.
The temperature required for hot water treatment should be carefully monitored so that it doesn't rise above the recommended temperature range. Recommended temperature range is 44°C for a maximum time of 15 min for most type of infection. If the infection is bulb type, hot water treatment can go up to 44° and for three hours.
An important step to prevent the spread of eelworm is to spread the plants, leaving spaces in between them. Also avoid excess moisture and propagation. All the tools that are used for planting and for agricultural activity should be routinely cleaned and disinfectedwithout fail. Following these guidelines, one can make sure that eelworm disease is always kept under control.
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