The yellow flowers of spring are coming. The dandelions are running a couple of weeks behind normal but they are starting to show.
In the last few weeks, we have received numerous reports of cucumber beetle infestations in areas of South Dakota. Cucumber beetles are common throughout the state during this time of year and can cause severe injury to cucurbits if large populations are present.
With the end of summer approaching, we are beginning to receive many reports of squash bugs appearing throughout South Dakota. These insects are a common pest in gardens from mid-summer until the first frost.
2017 has been a busy year for home-invading insects. One of the invaders we have been receiving numerous reports of are small, black insects that are often observed crawling up bathroom walls, hanging out in basements, or otherwise finding their way inside.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have received reports of large, menacing wasps appearing in residential yards and gardens. The wasps in question are commonly referred to as cicada killers (Sphecius speciosus). These wasps become active at approximately the same time as cicadas, which are used as a food source for the larvae of cicada killer wasps.
With the rainfall that we have been receiving in areas of Eastern South Dakota, one of our summer nuisance insect pests is starting to show up again. We have started to receive reports regarding earwigs in and around homes near Brookings, S.D.
Flea beetles are a common pest in South Dakota vegetable gardens. This spring was relatively warm and dry throughout much of the state, making ideal conditions for flea beetle activity. Recent weather, especially in areas affected by drought, has caused flea beetle populations to increase rapidly and become more of an issue than usual for many gardeners.
Many gardeners like to save some plants from Jack Frost by bringing some plants in from the flower garden or moved some of those container gardens indoors. Others took cuttings of their favorite plants, get them rooted and continue to enjoy them on their windowsills over the winter. Whatever you like to do, it probably means that your limited indoor gardening spaces will become more heavily populated with plants than they were during the summer months. As plants are more closely packed together, the greater the likelihood that pest problems may spread from one plant to another and also a plant that had a minor pest problem outdoors, may suffer a more significant infestation inside the home.
Fall is here, but many insects are still active, especially on unseasonably warm days. During the fall, insects that spend the winter as adults begin looking for shelter. These are the critters most commonly finding their way inside, and generating questions about their identity and motives.
Wasps receive attention no matter the time of year, but they are especially noticeable in late summer and early fall. Wasps such as yellow jackets and paper wasps have annual nests, so the majority of the individuals that are active now will not survive the winter. Only the newly produced queens will find a sheltered location to overwinter and begin a new colony in the spring.