On August 1, 2007, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the detection of panicle rice mite (PRM), Steneotarsonemus spinki, at a rice research facility in Lajas, Puerto Rico. This facility, which is used to produce rice seed, is operated by the same private entity that operates the PRM-affected rice research facility in Brazoria County, Texas. The affected Puerto Rico facility does not produce commercial rice for consumption.
APHIS has notified the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture of this confirmed detection and is currently conducting surveys to delimit this infestation on the grounds of the facility, where approximately one acre of rice was affected. APHIS is also assessing surrounding rice acreage that is in close proximity to the research facility. In addition, APHIS’ PRM technical working group, which was established in response to the PRM detection in Texas, is considering survey and control strategies in response to PRM in Puerto Rico.
APHIS has issued an Emergency Action Notification to stop movement of all rice seed, rice plants and plant parts, and farm equipment from the affected field. A trace-back and trace-forward investigation is underway to determine the means of this pest’s introduction at this research facility. Managers of the research facility are being fully cooperative in this investigation.
The PRM is considered a serious rice pest and can cause substantial crop losses. The recent PRM detection in Texas was confirmed on July 13, 2007 (See PAS Official Pest Report posted July 27, 2007). There are two main reported hosts of PRM, Rice, Oryza sativa, and the weedy red rice, Oryza latifolia.
Under IPPC standards, the panicle rice mite is considered to be a pest that is transient, actionable, and under surveillancein the United States.