Wheat Root-knot Nematode Pest Management in Wheat: Symptoms, Treatment, Chemical, Biological, Natural, and Organic Control

Wheat Root-knot Nematodes, Meloidogyne incognita, belonging to the Family Heteroderidae of the Order Tylenchida, also known as southern root-nematode or cotton root-knot nematode, are a type of plant-parasitic nematode that can cause significant damage to wheat crops. The root-knot nematode is globally distributed and is one of wheat’s most economically important pests.

Wheat Root knot Nematode Pest Management in Wheat1

They can survive in various environments and cause serious yield losses. Root-knot nematodes feed on the roots of wheat plants, causing galls or knots to form. These galls stunt the growth of the plant and reduce its yield. Root-knot nematodes can also transmit bacterial and viral diseases to wheat plants, further increasing damage. Control of root-knot nematodes is essential for protecting wheat yields.

Cultural methods, chemical treatments, and biological control are all used to manage root-knot nematode populations in wheat crops. To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview and discussion of the Wheat Root-knot Nematode Pest in wheat crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.

Wheat Root-knot Nematode Pest Management in Wheat

Life Cycle of Wheat Root-knot Nematode Pest in Wheat Crop

The lifecycle of the wheat root-knot nematode pest in wheat crops begins with the egg stage. The female nematodes lay the eggs in the soil and can remain viable for several weeks or months, depending on soil conditions. During this stage, the eggs are dormant and do not move or feed. Once the eggs hatch, the juvenile nematodes emerge as first-stage larvae. Now, the larvae are ready to feed on plants’ roots and burrow into the soil. This allows them to find suitable plant hosts to feed on.

The larvae then feed on the plant’s root system, causing the roots to become swollen and distorted. This is known as root-knotting and can cause the plant to become stunted and produce an unhealthy crop. After a few weeks of feeding on the roots, the larvae mature into adult nematodes. The adult nematodes begin to reproduce, laying more eggs in the soil and repeating the cycle. This cycle can continue for several generations until the nematode population is large enough to cause severe damage to the crop.

Occurrence of Wheat Root-knot Nematode Pest in Wheatfield

  • Location of Wheat Root-knot Nematode: This pest is prevalent in warmer climates and is found to infect wheat crops in many countries, including the United States, Brazil, Chile, Peru, the United Kingdom, Africa, China, India, and Turkey.
  • Host range:  The wheat root-knot nematode can infect different crops, including corn, wheat, oats, barley, and other cereal grains.

Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Wheat Root-knot Nematode Pest in Wheatfield

  • Temperature – The wheat root-knot nematode thrives in warm climates, and development occurs rapidly when the range is between 21-27 °C.
  • Soil type – The root-knot nematode prefers sandy, loamy soils that are well-drained and have high organic matter content. These soils provide an ideal living environment for the pest.
  • Higher reproductive rate – Female root-knot nematodes can produce up to 200 eggs in their lifetime,