On July 11, 2008, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a Federal Domestic Quarantine Order to prevent the spread of Panicle Rice Mite, Steneotarsonemus spinki (PRM). Specifically, this Federal Order restricts the interstate movement of all Oryzae spp. plants or plant parts, including O. sativa, cultivated paddy rice, O. latifolia weedy red rice, and plants or plant parts of Cyperus irea originating from Puerto Rico.
The 2008 National PRM Survey conducted by APHIS’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program and the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture (PRDA) confirmed the presence of PRM on May 20, 2008, during field sampling in Lajas. Detections were found at an educational facility, as well as a rice research center. Both facilities produce rice seed for research only, not consumption. APHIS notified PRDA of this confirmed detection and is currently conducting surveys to delimit the infestation.
Due to PRM’s detection, interstate movement of regulated articles originating from Puerto Rico may only be allowed if: (1) the requirements of the Federal Order are met in full and (2) the owner or agent of the premises enters into a compliance agreement.
The PRM is a serious rice pest. Yield losses can range from 30 to 90 percent.
Under IPPC standards Steneotarsonemus spinki is considered to be present in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, but only in some areas where host crops are grown.