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A vast, open rangeland with a few patches of weeds.

An identification guide to common Rangeland Insect Pests of South Dakota

The insects listed in this guide can be pests of rangeland in South Dakota. The best approach for preventing these pests from reaching damaging populations involves routine scouting.

An orange and black monarch butterfly resting on a purple flower.

Understanding the Critical Role of Broadleaf Pollinator Plants in Pastures

Generally speaking, ‘pollinators’ refers to the suite of plants that produce nectar and pollen (generally flowering broadleaf plants) and the insects and other animals (birds, bats, etc.) that spread the pollen for plant reproduction. In the last several years, the honey bee has been at the center of the pollinator discussion, as their populations have crashed – placing bee keepers and their fruit and nut producing clientele at risk.

grey to brown fly with large eyes and elongated mouthparts

What are Those Gigantic Flies?

As we progress later into the summer, we commonly see an increase in horse fly activity.

two black beetles rolling a ball of dung

Promoting Dung Beetles on the Range

In South Dakota, dung beetles help regulate rangeland health through dung dispersal.

an orange lady beetle with nine black spots

Lady Beetles of South Dakota

Lady beetles are one of the most familiar groups of beneficial insects. Farmers and gardeners appreciate them for devouring insect pests. Both adult lady beetles and caterpillar-like juveniles eat pests.

a downy woodpecker resting on a wooden pole

Woodpeckers Attacking Bur Oaks

Woodpeckers have been seen across the region chipping away at the bark of young bur oak. The woodpeckers can shred most of the bark from young trees, enough that the trees are killed by this injury.

Three bees on a wooden box.

Backyard Biodiversity: Nest boxes for native bees

Many of our native bee species are solitary. In order to ensure that these kinds of bees spend more time in our yards and gardens, it is important to make sure we include places for them to nest.

Image of western South Dakota where green triangles indicate areas with low grasshopper populations, orange squares indicate medium grasshopper populations, and red circles indicate high grasshopper populations that exceeded thresholds.

2019 South Dakota Grasshopper Forecast

The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service conducts an annual survey to monitor grasshopper populations in Western South Dakota. In 2018, SDSU conducted a survey to monitor populations in Eastern South Dakota. These previous-year surveys can be used as a prediction tool for where grasshoppers may be an issue during the upcoming season.

Grassy pasture with a small hill of dirt in the foreground. There is green grass at the base of the mound.

Are Ant Mounds in Pastures Bad?

We often receive reports of large ant mounds in a pastures and rangeland. These mounds are the creation of thatching ants, which are common in South Dakota. Although these mounds are often considered a nuisance, the ants may play an important role as predators of potential pest insects.

A small black bug with tan margins on the wings. This insect is resting on a blade of grass that is green with white spots.

Be on the Lookout for Black Grass Bugs

It’s time to begin scouting pasture and wheat for the presence of black grass bugs. Last year, we saw the highest populations in areas of Central and Southwestern South Dakota. If left untreated, black grass bug populations tend to increase year after year.