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

Black Grass Bug Activity Expected in Coming Weeks

Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.

Two adult wasps side-by-side. The left is black and yellow and is resting on a green leaf. The right is black, yellow and burnt orange in color and is resting on a piece of wood.

Wasp Activity Is Ramping Up

With their distinctive black and yellow stripes and tendency to hang out in groups, wasps receive attention no matter the time of year. As the weather warms up and spring progresses, you may notice more wasp activity in your yard or around your house.

Two insects. The left is a wasp with a dark head, reddish brown thorax (the segment behind the head), and a black and yellow banded abdomen. The right is a hornet with a yellow head, dark brown thorax (the segment behind the head), and a brown and yellow banded abdomen.

No, It’s Not a Murder Hornet.

By now, you’ve probably read headlines about the Asian giant hornets (aka “murder hornets”) that were spotted in Washington state and across the border in Canada. It is important to note that Asian giant hornets have only been confirmed in a small area of Washington and Canada. These wasps have not been observed in South Dakota or our neighboring states.

A farmer watching the sun rise in a bare, unplanted field.

Crop Tolerance to Soil Herbicide Residual

Some herbicides can persist in soil, especially dry soil. Herbicide carryover could be an issue in 2021 across the state depending upon last year’s moisture levels and field conditions.

Two mosquitoes, the one on the left being darker in color and the one on the right having a white band on its extended mouthpart. The white band is indicated with a red circle drawn over the picture.

Will Mosquitos Be an Issue During This Summer?

Although it may seem like mosquitos won’t be an issue this year due to drought conditions, it is important to remember that they don’t require large bodies of water to reproduce. Mosquitos can utilize standing bodies of water, small puddles or even stagnant water in containers or old tires.

Young woman applying insect repellant before an evening hike.

Enjoying the Outdoors Without Tick and Mosquito Bites

Outdoor activities seem extra inviting this time of year, and many people are already enjoying the long days and warmer temperatures. Ticks and mosquitoes share the outdoors with us, but there are things you can do to prevent bites from both.

Black, yellow, and brown wasp in a clear container

Huge Wasps on My Tree! No, Those Still Aren’t Murder Hornets.

Another insect that has been mistaken for the Asian giant hornet (also known by its media-popularized name of ‘murder hornet’) is the horntail wasp. Horntail wasps are wood-boring insects that are harmless to humans, as they do not have venom and cannot sting.

Mosquito resting on a dandelion seed head.

West Nile Virus Update: Aug. 2, 2021

As of Aug. 2, 2021, the South Dakota Department of Health indicated that West-Nile-virus-positive mosquitoes were detected in Brookings, Codington, Hughes, Lincoln and Brown counties in South Dakota.

small group of cattle grazing on cover crops

Cover Crops & Livestock Integration: A Profit Opportunity for S.D. Farms

Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation.