What's An Agricultural Pest?
The term "Agricultural Pest" loosely describes an animal or insect species, for the purposes of the Wyoming Weed and Pest Control Act, which negatively impacts agricultural production.
Prevention is the first step in managing agricultural pests. There are several ways to implement a prevention program depending on which pest you are dealing with. Prevention measures can range from forest management practices for Mountain Pine Beetle, proper grazing practices for prairie dogs, or the use of preventative spraying for crop pests.
Management of current infestations involves the practice of reducing populations to levels that do the least economic impact for your operation. In many cases, there are several options for management.
Why Should We Care?
The economic impact a pest species can have on an agricultural producer can be devastating, however, the trickledown effect can be felt in communities as well.
Grasshoppers have the potential to inflict significant harm on Wyoming's rangeland and crops through their voracious feeding habits. During outbreak years, adult grasshopper densities can reach near 30 or higher per square yard, far surpassing the sustainable levels normal for most areas of the state.
Although there are various bark beetles species found in Wyoming, the Mountain Pine Beetle is the most widely recognized for its impacts. The mountain pine beetle kills pine trees through larval feeding and by introducing blue stain fungus into the sapwood. In 2011, aerial surveys estimated that over 3.3 million acres of federally managed forests in Wyoming were affected by the mountain pine beetle.