SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It may feel as if we walked outside the bugs were suddenly there.

It kind of happened that way, said Amanda Bachmann, an entomologist with the South Dakota State University Extension based in Pierre. But the bug expert said the arrival of bugs, or insects, came when the temperatures started warming up.

“I can safely say when the weather is nice and it’s not too windy…you are going to see more (insects) on the patio, on a screen door and more when driving at night,” said Denise Patton, the city entomologist and health program coordinator for the city of Sioux Falls.

The bugs hitting a car’s windshield or grill are small bugs right now, Bachmann said. “There’s not anything super big yet,” Bachmann said.

Most of the bugs are small flies or midges, she said.

“I noticed earlier this spring that the flies seemed to be active early. We’re also seeing some moths, cabbage white (moths)…,” Bachmann said.

Sioux Falls keeps 20 mosquito traps across the city. Mosquitos are captured and tested to determine the possibility of the spread of West Nile Virus.

Patton said, “we’re finding them.” Some mosquitos, midge, small flies, gnats, “all of those are pretty normal,” Patton said of what’s found this time of year in the traps.

Weather has a big role when it comes to bug activity.

“Weather patterns can move insects,” Bachmann said. Crop pests migrate every spring and summer, she said.

And the winds of the past several months can carry insects to South Dakota, Bachmann said.

Aphids in particular can be “sucked up” and carried in the wind. “It can move them farther than on their own violation,” Bachmann said.

Although Bachmann and Patton said it’s too early to fully predict the entire insect season, they do have an idea of the bugs that should be out during the coming months.

A black-legged tick. Photo from the SDSU Extension via USDA.

“All insects have their own biology,” Patton said. “Some may be more active in the day or night, some like open areas or grass…”

Ticks may be out now and they like to live in longer grasses, Patton said.

Ticks can carry diseases and some that do are creeping into South Dakota.

The black-legged tick carries Lyme’s Disease and the Lone Star tick can cause an allergy to red meat in some people.

“They are slowly increasing their range as the climate becomes more favorable (in the north),” Bachmann said. “The mild, open winters aren’t killing things off like they used to.”

Those two species of ticks have been found in southeastern South Dakota.

The bug outlook includes gnats and mayflies and praying mantises

“You’re going to see mayflies in the next few weeks. They come in a big surge but they only live 48 hours,” Patton said.

Biting flies and the insects that people often call “no see ums” which can cover small flies or gnats, depending, will also arrive, Patton said.

Gnats breed in flowing water and flood water is ideal for gnats, Patton said.

“Mosquito activity is going to start to get going,” Bachmann said. Mosquitoes like wet and warm weather and the population can vary across the state, she said.


“There are 43 species of mosquitoes in South Dakota,” Patton said.

Benign mosquitoes don’t bite people, Patton said.

The Sioux Falls mosquito traps are part of a public health program to determine the risk of West Nile Virus in the city, Patton said.

“If we get a lot of rain events, we will have more heavy biting mosquitoes,” Patton said. “But the chances of West Nile Virus are low. Heavy biting ones aren’t good at carrying the West Nile Virus.”

A dry, warm summer is more fitting for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus, she said.

If it is hot and dry this summer it will be the third drought summer. Historically, there isn’t any information on West Nile Virus and a consecutive three-year drought, Patton said.

Bachmann has worked in South Dakota for nine years. She hasn’t seen an increase in the overall number of insects but has noted an increased awareness in the public.

People were alarmed by the reports of the murder hornet in the U.S. in 2020. More recently, the reports of the Joro spyder in Georgia created some concerns.

Although they may share worries with her about such insects, “It’s cool to see folks more engaged,” Bachmann said.

The positive side is people are paying more attention to growing plants and keeping plants safe for pollinating insects such as bees.

“They’re fantastic,” Bachmann said of insects.

Not only do insects help pollinate plants they are also part of the food change. “Bird species feed insects to their young,” Bachmann said. Game birds such as pheasants feed insects to their chicks.