Official Pest Reports

Official Pest Reports are provided by National Plant Protection Organizations within the NAPPO region. These Pest Reports are intended to comply with the International Plant Protection Convention's Standard on Pest Reporting, endorsed by the Interim Commission on Phytosanitary Measures in March 2002.

USA Flag Detections of Panicle Rice Mite, Steneotarsonemus spinki, in Brazoria County, Texas - United States
Date posted: 07/27/2007
Contact: Phil Mason, Regional Program Manager, at (970) 494-7565 or Valerie DeFeo, Staff Officer, at (301) 734- 4387
On July 13, 2007, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the detection of panicle rice mite (PRM), Steneotarsonemus spinki, at a rice research facility in Alvin, Brazoria County, Texas. This facility is operated by a private entity, where it conducts hybrid rice research. Since the initial detection within a greenhouse at the facility, additional positive PRM detections have occurred at three other greenhouses and five rice fields at the research facility.

APHIS and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) are conducting ongoing surveys to delimit this infestation on the grounds of the facility, which consist of approximately 100 acres of rice planted in various fields. APHIS and TDA are also assessing the surrounding rice acreage that is in close proximity to the research facility. Early estimates indicate that Brazoria County may have approximately 16,000 acres of rice production.

APHIS has issued Emergency Action Notifications to stop movement of all rice seed, rice plants and plant parts, and farm equipment from the affected greenhouses and fields. A trace-back and trace-forward investigation is underway to determine how the pest entered this research facility. This investigation includes all foreign sources of rice seed that were imported into the facility.

In addition, APHIS has established a technical working group of experts to discuss survey and control strategies in response to PRM. The group will continue to meet on a regular basis to address this developing situation and consider mitigation strategies.

The PRM is considered a serious rice pest. Interceptions of this pest have been reported at greenhouses in Ohio and Texas during the last 10 years. There are two main reported hosts of RPM, 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 surveillance in the United States.