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Can you solve our eelworm problem?


Photo: Eelworm infested potatoes

Photo: Eelworm infested potatoes

We realised that we had an eelworm problem in Danny’s potato border when we started to harvest them. The little front doors to the eelworm condominium look pretty insignificant until you venture inside. I reckon that at least half the crop is infected. We can eat the parts of the potatoes where no eelworm has dared to wriggle but so much of the harvest is wasted.

The only benefit is that we are well exercised walking back and forth from garden shed to kitchen to find enough spuds to feed us both for a meal. The Min Pins enjoy this hunting trip especially at night – when we take a torch.

I’m desperate to find a cure for this pest. Does anyone out there have a remedy for exterminating eelworm? Apart from giving up growing potatoes.

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  1. Pete Walker

    Hi I have a Eel worm problem and have been told to grow mustard at same time as planting my seed potatoes not certain if this will work as don’t want mustard to go to seen
    Any thoughts

  2. Joyce Newbury

    Is it save to grow broad beans on infected soil by blight blackleg and Eelworm?

    • Michael Coyne

      I have set my potatoes on the 3rd of march, will I avoid eelworms by having them harvested so early.

      • Hi Michael – I don’t think planting date matters so much. This is a good source of info:

  3. ron mccabe

    Is Jeyes fluid any good

    • Toy dos Santos

      Eeelworm is very minute and cannot be seen except for the damage it does. I’m trying a lot of stuff as well as Jeyes Fluid which does help.

  4. try using a few bean cans with several 5 mil holes drilled about the base, fill can with carrot or potato peels and cover tin with slate, check a wek later and kill off the eel worms gathered. it works.

  5. growing season is soon to start and can’t wait. i grew Cara last year which i believe is resistant to worms and slugs and i noticed if we keep them in the soil longer than needed after they are ready for digging up then they will get eaten by eelworms so dig potatoe’s up in time and store in dry place.

  6. not an expert in mustard but I guess it must be the bitterness in the mustard plant that worms don’t like on their skin. best way could be to grow various strains, crush the grown plant to extract the juice and put over a living worm to see what are the effects, if the worm doesn’t like it then we can assume they won’t go near soil that contains it and we grow that and rotivate it in and see the results? Any opinions on this or don’t like the sound of ending up in EU court for torturing eelworms 😀 ?

    • romano barca

      What a stupid comment to make about the EU !

      Eelworms do not burrow potatoes. It is cut worm or slugs that do!

      Eelworms harbour in cysts attached to potato roots. They suck into a root causing a tubular to become constricted. It’s a bit like testicles being strangled!!!

      Eelworms survive in soil for more than ten years awaiting a new potato host. There is no cure other than to ensure at the end of a season, growing areas are properly sterilised either by, burning by way of spreading red hot cinders over the soil or by pouring heaps and heaps of boiling water onto it. You can also steam areas by adapting the use of a decorator’s steam wallpaper stripper for this method.

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