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Adam Varenhorst

Adam Varenhorst


Associate Professor & SDSU Extension Field Crop Entomologist

Office Building

Berg Agricultural Hall



Mailing Address

Berg Agricultural Hall 308
Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science-2100A
University Station
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.


Adam Varenhorst CV.docx(98.27 KB)


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

Academic Interests

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

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.

Extension Responsibilities

As the SDSU Extension Field Crop Entomologist I serve South Dakota stakeholders by addressing insect pest issues in field crops. I conduct applied research that focuses on corn, soybean, wheat and sunflower. I also assist the other extension entomologists to address questions pertaining to insect questions for the home and garden, urban insect pests and general entomology questions. Tasks that I am responsible for include:
Development of insect related identification guides, fact sheets and timely electronic articles.
Identification of insects related to field crops.
Provide insect and insecticide safety content for the commercial applicator trainings held throughout South Dakota.

Awards and 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.


Total Competitive Grant Funding: $3,096,962

Professional Memberships

Entomological Society of America
National Association of County Agricultural Agents

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.

Area(s) of Research

Insect Pest Management
Insect Ecology

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.



Adam Varenhorst SDSU Extension Profile PageSDSU Extension Insects Twitter