Molecular Assay for Early Detection of Hemp Russet Mite

Real-Time PCR Assay and Novel Primers

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed novel primers to selectively identify and quantify Hemp Russet Mite (HRM) with a common PCR assay. The rapid and accurate identification of HRM infestations is important for diagnostics and phytosanitary measures.


HRM is a common and highly damaging pest of both indoor and outdoor hemp production. Due to its size, HRM are difficult to identify, allowing build-up of populations and movement of infested plant material across borders. Hemp russet mite is a microscopic arthropod which feeds on all parts of developing hemp plants. Due to its minute size, HRM can proliferate undetected for a long time, complicating management efforts and causing serious economic losses. With few current options for HRM management, early detection is key. DNA sequencing and PCR assays can facilitate accurate identification and early detection of the pest.


The real-time PCR assay is rapid, detects all life stages of the mite, and does not react with non-target species commonly found in hemp, including two-spotted spider mite and western flower thrips. The primers were designed to be as specific as possible.


  • Rapid PCR Assay (under 2 hours)
  • Detects HRM at all life stages
  • Species specific amplification and detection
  • Common methods using novel primers


  • Agricultural biosecurity for hemp crossing borders
  • Early detection of HRM
  • Allows timely deployment of management tactics to manage and prevent further outbreaks
Last Updated: May 2023
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Biological Material


Punya Nachappa
Olivia Carter
Jacob MacWilliams

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Jessy McGowan