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Content by Adam Varenhorst

Two dandelions side by side. The left has a bee foraging on it. The right has a hover fly foraging on it..

Why Those Dandelions in Your Yard Aren’t So Bad

While research has shown that pollinators, specifically honey bees, can’t survive on dandelion pollen alone, this doesn’t mean that the dandelions aren’t still important for pollinators.

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.

Green beetle larvae with a white stripe running down its body.

Alfalfa Weevil Activity Prediction Update: May 4, 2020

Temperatures continue to increase across South Dakota and the degree days are rapidly accumulating. With the exception of areas around Selby, Sisseton and Brookings, alfalfa weevil activity is likely in South Dakota.

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.

Green beetle larvae with a white stripe running down its body.

Alfalfa Weevil Activity Prediction Update: April 27, 2020

It is finally warming up across much of South Dakota and that means the degree days are beginning to accumulate more rapidly. Alfalfa weevil activity is likely in areas around Rapid City, Hot Springs, Cottonwood, Mission, Pierre, Winner and Vermillion.

A yellow beetle with a black head, and square black markings on its back standing on a soybean leaf.

2020 South Dakota Overwintering Bean Leaf Beetle Predicted Mortality

Although bean leaf beetles won’t be emerging for a while yet, it is important to be prepared for potential early season defoliation. Once soybean are planted and begin emerging, the overwintering population of bean leaf beetle adults will move into soybean fields and begin feeding on the seedlings.

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.

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.

Green beetle larvae with a white stripe running down its body.

Alfalfa Weevil Activity Prediction Update: April 20, 2020

During the last week, the colder weather that we experienced across South Dakota resulted in very little degree day accumulation. However, in some areas enough degree days have accumulated to potentially lead to adult activity within alfalfa fields.

Green beetle larvae with a white stripe running down its body.

Alfalfa Weevil Activity Prediction Update: April 14, 2020

The alfalfa weevil is a major spring insect pest of South Dakota alfalfa. Before 2018, this insect was reported as having large populations throughout much of South Dakota. However, during 2018 and 2019, we received fewer reports of alfalfa weevils, which may have been a result of the cooler and wetter spring conditions that were observed.