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Grad Student Spotlight

Erica Moretti

Research Interests: As a graduate student of Entomology, I study integrated pest management (IPM) in commercial onion systems. Specifically, my research attempts to understand how abiotic factors, like management and weather, influence the distribution of the early-season pest, onion maggot.  In addition to this work, for the past 3 summers, I have monitored susceptibility of onion thrips, the most important pest of onion, to insecticides used in its control.  Onion thrips is a small pest (1-2 mm) that feed on the leaves of onions, ultimately reducing bulb size and transmitting pathogens among plants. The primary way these pests are controlled is with pesticides; however, this pest is notorious for developing resistance to insecticides. In order to manage resistance and maintain the efficacy of reduced-risk products, annual monitoring of thrips susceptibility to insecticides is essential. The goal of my EOA project is to continue monitoring thrips susceptibility to insecticides, to prepare protocols that can be used in the future by others to monitor thrips, and to deliver this information to growers through extension publications.