On December 23, 2008, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the detection of bamboo spider mite, Schizotetranychus bambusae, on dwarf bamboo, Pleioblastus viridistriatus, near a greenhouse in Summertown, Tennessee. There have been several detections of an unidentified mite in the genus Schizotetranychus at this location since 2004; however, in the absence of a male specimen, the prior detections could not be identified to the species level. All previous detections were treated as actionable/reportable by APHIS' National Identification Service and eradicated with chemical treatment.
The bamboo spider mite can spread rapidly via a wide range of dispersal methods and, therefore, containing this pest is highly improbable. This fact was confirmed by the conclusions of the USDA's New Pest Advisory Group report on the mite. Accordingly, APHIS has determined that regulatory action will be ineffective in preventing the pest’s spread. Subsequently, APHIS and State Regulatory Officials have decided that no regulatory actions be taken. APHIS and State cooperators plan to support the bamboo industry to develop control strategies to mitigate the impact of bamboo spider mite infestations.
Injury to bamboo is caused as the mites feed, bruising the cells as they ingest the sap. Damaged areas typically appear marked with many small, light flecks, giving the plant a somewhat speckled appearance. The mite appears to only feed and reproduce on young bamboo leaves. Schizotetranychus bambusae's host range consists of Poaceae - Arundinaria spp., Phyllostachys spp. (including Ph. aurea, Ph. nigra, Ph. pubescens, and Ph. reticulate), and Pleioblastus spp. (Pl. pumilus and Pl. viridistriatus).
Under IPPC Standards, Schizotetranychus bambusae is considered a pest that is present, only in some areas where host crops are grown (Summertown, Tennessee) in the United States.