Nematode threaten U.S. farmers

Robert Szostek
U.S. European Command Customs

Europe is home to many agricultural pests not found in the United
States. Soil is a natural hideout for them. This is why cleaning
everything that collects dirt before you send it stateside is so
important. These pests can cause great damage to the U.S. farming

“You can unwittingly introduce voracious pests into the USA,” said
William Manning, U.S. Department of Agriculture attaché to the U.S.
European Command. “It only takes one little bit of soil on your car,
lawn furniture, bicycle, shoe, boot or field gear.” Vehicles and
military equipment are especially prone to infestation by dirt, mud and
soil, he added.

“It is so important to clean everything you ship or mail home,” Manning
said. It is also why the U.S. European Command has a border clearance
program that checks personal property and military shipments destined
for the U.S. to prevent any pests from spreading.

“The burrowing nematode is a tiny worm not native to the States,”
Manning said. “But it could hide in the mud on your boots. If you took
that mud stateside, the nematode eggs could later hatch and attack the
roots of citrus trees.”

Losses on infested trees cost approximately $2.5 million annually. The
golden nematode attacks potatoes and tomatoes reducing yields by as
much as 80 percent. It threatens annual crop yields of more than $1
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