On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Jen Zavalnitskaya. Jen is a second-year master’s student in the Department of Entomology in the Vegetable Entomology lab. She studies insect ecology throughout agricultural landscapes and how more sustainable pest management strategies can be created in commercial agriculture. Most commercial vegetable cropping systems rely on chemical insecticides to suppress insect pests which can often be detrimental both economically and environmentally. Jen’s research focuses on using habitat management within agriculture to better control insect pests. Her current work is focused on the overwintering biology of a key pest of asparagus, the asparagus beetle. Michigan is the top producer of asparagus in the nation. Thus, control of this pest is incredibly important to Michigan’s asparagus farmers and economy. Jen hopes that by understanding more about the overwintering biology of asparagus beetles, Michigan’s asparagus farmers can better understand how to manage habitat for more sustainable and effective pest management.
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