New Crop Pest Identified in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE – A new pest that attacks certain crops grown in Louisiana has been identified.

The root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne enterolobii (M. enterolobii), is a serious pest which has a high rate of reproduction and a wide host range that includes soybean, sugarcane and sweet potato.  It has also been known to attack varieties of tomato, soybean and sweet potato that are considered resistant to the Southern root-knot nematode species which is common in Louisiana.

M. enterolobii, also called the guava root-knot nematode, was first identified in the U.S. in Florida on ornamental nursery stock in 2001. In 2011, it was identified in North Carolina. It was recently confirmed in Morehouse Parish.

The LSU AgCenter will begin a statewide nematode survey to determine if M. enterolobii is in other areas of the state. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is currently working with the producer to reduce the spread of the nematode and monitor the situation.

“The nematode species is often transported by equipment,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “Cleaning soil off of equipment, including tires and footwear before going to another field is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of this nematode.” 

If you suspect this pest is on your property, please contact your local county agent’s office or the LDAF at 225-952-8100.