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A steer standing in a feedlot. Its middle back has a visible bald spot due to lice.

Winter Lice Control

Seeing cattle rubbing hair off due to lice infestations can be extremely frustrating. Not only are the cattle damaging fences and equipment, there also can be performance losses and health issues not to mention that the cattle are simply not as visibly appealing, which can be very important for seedstock producers or feeders selling backgrounded feeders.

A teardrop shaped tan tick with eight legs and brown markings on a white background.

Winter Ticks in South Dakota

Winter ticks, also called moose ticks, are unlike other tick species because they are active during the winter months.

Teardrop shaped tick with a dark brown body and legs and an elongate white patch behind its head.

Ticks Becoming Active in South Dakota

The arrival of spring in South Dakota means warmer weather and more outdoor activities. However, it also brings an increase in tick activity.

A brown and black cow standing in a feedlot with flies on its face.

Summer Fly Control in Feedlots

Just as longer days mark the beginning of summer, so does the arrival of increased number of flies in feedlots. Flies are not only are an annoyance, they can reduce performance and worsen heat stress. Successful control strategies start with sanitation.

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.

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.

Two flies side-by-side. The left fly is a Western horse fly. The right fly is a deer fly.

Horse Flies and Deer Flies Becoming Abundant

The above-average precipitation this year has led to increased numbers of horse flies and deer flies across South Dakota. Widespread flooding and an overall abundance of available water has made conditions perfect for these flies.

A patty of dung with several holes in it and grass growing through it. It has been broken down by dung beetles.

Dung Beetles and Other Insects Can Help Breakdown Dung and Control Pests

This article summarizes findings related to dung beetle ecology and how dung beetles advance the breakdown of dung pats.

Small black fly on pale skin.

Monitor Livestock, Pets and Yourself for Eye Gnat Activity

While being outside this week, I noticed a lot of small gnats flying around my legs and really bothering my dogs. I caught a few and identified them as eye gnats. Although this pest is considered a nuisance in most cases, it is capable of transmitting diseases and pathogens.

A male and femail dung beetle rolling a ball of dung in a pasture. Courtesy: Beverly Skinner/USFWS (CC BY 2.0)

Managing Livestock for Dung Beetles and Other Beneficial Species

South Dakota researchers have taken a closer look at the function of dung beetles in Eastern South Dakota over the last few years. This article summarizes findings related to management of livestock grazing and chemical pesticides in relation to dung beetle and insect community health.