Garlic Bloat Nematode
Garlic bloat nematode has become a serious pest issue for garlic growers in the northeastern U.S. Once infected, fields must endure a rigorous eradication program before any alliums should be grown there again. The problem affects all alliums, but is especially an issue for growers of garlic seed stock. We at Fedco Bulbs take this pest infestation seriously because we really don't want to chance infecting your precious gardening or farming ground.
Fedco Bulbs requires our growers and suppliers to test each lot of garlic for garlic bloat nematode using reputable independent labs. Each lot must test negative before we receive delivery and must arrive with documentation.
The pest, Ditylenchus dipsaci, causes stunted and/or
misshapen plants, and results in poor quality bulbs. Only when
an infected plant has run out of resources for this pest to
consume will the nematode try to move to other
They primarily move to neighboring plants that touch each other, whether still in the ground, after harvest in the curing stage, on display at market or later in storage.
Pull and destroy any infected plants. Do not add them to any compost pile as the pest may later infect the ground where that compost gets spread. If allowed to grow to maturity, infected plants may get large enough for table stock, but in no circumstance should they be used as seed stock.
Fact sheets on Garlic Bloat Nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci):
- The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service - Bulletin #1205, Bloat Nematode in Maine Garlic
- Cornell University proceedings - Bloat Nematode Problem on Garlic (pdf)
- Cornell University fact sheet with testing form (testing for NY only) - Bloat Nematode on Garlic (pdf)
Download a form for submitting your garlic for testing. The lab can also test for other garlic diseases, such as white rot and botrytis.
- The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab provides a link to a form for submitting samples.
- Instructions for submission.