Beet cyst eelworm

Beet cyst eelworm are 1 to 2 mm-sized, nearly invisible worms – roundworms – that live off plants.

Also known as:
Sugarbeet nematode
Beet cyst nematode

recognize damage in beets by beet cyst eelworm
Excessive development of roots, photo: Franca en Jos Hulst

Beet cyst eelworm (Heterodera schachtii, Heterodera betae). Nematodes are 1 to 2 mm-sized, virtually invisible roundworms. Most roundworms live off bacteria and fungi, but there are some that live off plants: they suck up the sap, causing damage. The beet cyst eelworm lives on beets and on brassicas.

Where to find


Difficult to control. Once you notice beard growth, it is too late to do anything about it.


Apply crop rotation of beets with cruciferous plants liberally. Timely sowing (before Aug. 1) of green manure crops such as yellow mustard and leaf radish reduces the number of roundworms in the soil.