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Adam Varenhorst

Photo of Adam Varenhorst
Title Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist-Field Crop Entomologist
Office Building Berg Agricultural Hall
Room Number 220
Mailing Address South Dakota State University
Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science
SAG 220, Box 2207A
Brookings, SD 57007

Dr. Adam Varenhorst is an assistant professor and Field Crop Entomology Extension Specialist in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department at South Dakota State University, where he oversees research related to the management of insects in South Dakota's major agricultural crops. His overall goal is the development of integrated pest management programs that are economically sustainable for South Dakota producers. To achieve this goal, he explores that ecology of insects pests with their host plants, natural enemies and the impact and efficacy of insecticide treatments. This research has contributed to the management of major insect pests including: soybean aphids, bean leaf beetles, wireworms, and numerous other sporadic insect pests in South Dakota. More recently his lab is exploring efficacy of insecticides in soybean and sunflower and evaluating insecticide resistance issues in several major crops. Dr. Varenhorst has published 10 scientific papers and one book chapter. As an extension specialist, Dr. Varenhorst has authored or co-authored over 100 extension articles, 42 pest management and chapters, and 10 insect identification guides for South Dakota stakeholders. He is also a a member of the Graduate Student Faculty and serves on several committees outside of the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department.

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Applications of Research

The research conducted has direct applications to South Dakota crop production. The results provide information on the efficacy of insecticidal management tools and also on on crops that are resistant to pests.

Professional Memberships

Entomological Society of America
National Association of County Agricultural Agents

Area(s) of Research

Insect Pest Management
Insect Ecology

Committee Activities

Graduate Faculty Representative on four graduate student committees at South Dakota State University.
Advisor to one Ph.D. student and three M.S. students.

Work Experience

The Field Crop Entomology Lab is responsible for conducting research related to insect pest management on corn, soybean, wheat, sunflower, alfalfa and field peas. The lab has one technician, four graduate students, and employees numerous hourly undergraduate students throughout the year.


Total Competitive Grant Funding: $3,096,962

Awards & Honors

International IPM Award of Excellence: Soybean Entomology for North Central Soybean Research Project. 2017.
National Association of County Agricultural Agents Communication Award: Newsletter by a Team. 2017.
Griffith Undergraduate Research Award. 2016.
Iowa State University Teaching Excellence Award. 2015.

Specialty Area

  • Insect Ecology
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Field Crops Entomology
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services


Ph.D. Iowa State University, Entomology, 2015.
M.S. Iowa State University, Entomology, 2011.
B.S. Briar Cliff University, Biology, 2009.

Extension Responsibilities

Development of insect related identification guides, fact sheets and timely articles that are published on iGrow.
Insect identification of insects related to field crops.
Provide insect and insecticide safety content for the commercial applicator trainings held throughout South Dakota.