Hoy’s research has focused on the use of genetic tools to improve biological control of pests in agriculture. She and her graduate students developed strains of the predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis that are resistant to pesticides or are unable to diapause. One pesticide-resistant strain was used in an IPM program for spider mites in almond orchards in CA. Other natural enemies were selected, as well, but the limits of artificial selection led to Hoy turning to transgenesis as a possible tool for improving natural enemies. Her release of a transgenic strain containing a marker gene in 1996 helped to define some of the risk issues associated with releasing transgenic arthropods into the environment.
Dr. Hoy conducted classical biological control programs directed against invasive pests of citrus in Florida between 1992 and 2008, introducing parasitoids for the citrus leafminer, Asian citrus psyllid and brown citrus aphid. Currently, she and colleagues have sequenced the transcriptome and genome of the predatory mite M. occidentalis and are analyzing the massive amounts of data.
Hoy teaches Agricultural Acarology and Insect Molecular Genetics and published textbooks (Insect Molecular Genetics, now in its third edition, and Agricultural Acarology: Introduction to Integrated Mite Management). She has published over 300 scientific papers. Hoy has been an invited speaker in countries around the world and has been consulted by the Pew Charitable Trust, the USDA, the FDA, the FAO/IAEA, and the FDA. She served on the National Academy of Sciences Agricultural Bioterrorism Committee 2001-2002. Hoy presented the Founders Memorial talk in 1992, was awarded the ESA Bussart award in 1986, was elected a fellow of the AAAS in 1990, the FL Dept. of Agriculture award in 1995, received the USDA Honor Award in 1997, the National Agri-Marketing Award in 1998, the Charles A Black award (CAST) in 2004, and the International Organization of Biological Control award in 2004.