Prof Brett Hurley

Associate Professor


Zoology and Entomology
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Research Profiles

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My research focuses on insect pests of forest trees, examining the effect of these interactions and how these effects can be managed in the context of an integrated pest management program. Much of my research examines the use of biological control as a management strategy. Here, various approaches are used to understand factors affecting biocontrol, as well as the suitability of potential new biocontrol agents. These include bioassays, field trials, and molecular and microbial analysis. I have worked extensively on the Sirex-Amylostereum-Deladenus interaction, and more recently I have become involved with biological control projects on the eucalyptus gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa, the bronze bug, Thaumastocoris peregrinus, the red gum lerp psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombeii, as well as the use of entomopathogenic nematodes for the management of white grubs. My research also incorporates various other fields that are relevant to the understanding and management of forest insect pests, such as host resistance, insect-microbial interactions, genetic diversity and introduction history, risk assessment and pathway management. 


Guide on biological control of insect pests in forests published

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has published a “Guide to the classical biological control of insect pests in planted and natural forests”. The guide includes information on the processes leading to classical biological control (CBC), the implementation of CBC and post-release monitoring and evaluation of CBC agents.  

FABIan participates in FAO event on forest invasive species

Professor Brett Hurley of FABI was invited to participate and present in one of the side events organised during the COFO 24 session, titled “Towards a harmonized global approach for managing forest invasive species”.

Forest health in Southern Hemisphere commercial plantations

The inaugural meeting of IUFRO Working Group 7. FABI presentations: Hurley B. Fraser S. Hurley B. (Photos supplied by the organisers of IUFRO Working Group 7.

FABI celebrates two Associate Professor promotions for 2018

FABI congratulates and celebrates with two researchers who have reached remarkable milestones in their careers! Prof. Prof.

Insect pests of Eucalyptus in Rwanda

FABI researcher Dr Brett Hurley recently visited Rwanda, as part of a project funded by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

FABIANs attend International Symposium on Biological Control

Drs Brett Hurley and Michelle Schröder attended the 5th International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods (ISBCA), held in Langkawi, Malaysia from 11-15 September. The session topics included aspects of accidental introduction of biocontrol agents, pre- and post-release genetics, Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) policy, and successes and uptake of biocontrol in developing countries. Presentations from FABI included: Dr Brett Hurley – Investigating the complex gall community of Leptocybe invasa. Dr Michelle Schröder – Biological control of the Gonipterus scutellatus species complex: testing the species, climatic and phonological mismatch hypotheses In addition, a poster was submitted by Samantha Bush, titled ‘Host specificity testing of Psyllaephagus bliteus, an accepted biocontrol agent of Glycaspis brimblecombei, reveals a new host. Samantha’s poster, which was from her MSc work, won the Best Poster Award – congratulations Samantha!

Kenis M, Hurley BP, Colombari F, Lawson S, Sun J, Wilcken C, Weeks R, Sathyapala S. 2019. Guide to the classical biological control of insect pests in planted and natural forests. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations: Rome. PDF

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Book Chapters
Garnas JR, Hurley BP, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. 2016. Insects and Diseases of Mediterranean Forests: A South African Perspective. In: Insects and Diseases of Mediterranean Forest Systems. Paine TD, Lieutier F. (eds). Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp 397-430.
Hurley BP, Croft P, Verleur M, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. 2012. The Control of the Sirex Woodwasp in Diverse Environments: The South African Experience. In: The Sirex Woodwasp and its Fungal Symbiont: Research and Management of a Worldwide Invasive Pest. Slippers B, de Groot P, Wingfield MJ. (eds). Springer, pp 247-264.
Roux J, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ. 2012. Disease and pests of eucalypts, pine and wattle. In: South African Forestry Handbook. The South African Institute of Forestry, Pretoria, South Africa, pp 303-335.
Ryan K, Hurley BP. 2012. Life history and biology of Sirex noctilio. In: The Sirex woodwasp and its fungal symbiont. Slippers B, de Groot P, Wingfield MJ. (eds). Springer, pp 15-30.
Slippers B, Hurley BP, Mlonyeni XO, de Groot P, Wingfield MJ. 2012. Factors Affecting the Efficacy of Deladenus siricidicola in Biological Control Systems. In: The Sirex Woodwasp and its Fungal Symbiont: Research and Management of a Worldwide Invasive Pest. Slippers B, de Groot P, Wingfield MJ. (eds). Springer, pp 119-133.
Wingfield MJ, Slippers B, Hurley BP, Coutinho TA, Wingfield BD, Roux J. 2007. Eucalypt pests and diseases: Growing threats to plantation productivity. In: Proceedings, IUFRO 2007 Working Group 2.08.03 Meeting “Eucalypts and Diversity: Balancing Productivity and Sustainability”. pp .
Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP, Gebeyehu S, Slippers B, Ahumada R, Wingfield BD. 2006. Southern hemisphere exotic pine plantations threatened by insect pests and associated pathogens. In: Invasive Forest Insects, Introduced Forest Trees, and Altered Ecosystems: Ecological Pest Management in Global Forests of a Changing World. Springer, pp 53-62.
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Haavik LJ, Hurley BP, Allison JD. (2019) Effect of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) attack density on Pinus sylvestris (Pinaceae) survival. Canadian Entomologist 10.4039/tce.2019.12
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Hurley BP, Garnas J. (2019) Local antagonism and resource partitioning between two invasive pine plantation pests. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12330 PDF
Fitza KNE, Garnas JR, Lombardero MJ, Ayres MP, Krivak-Tetley FE, Ahumada R, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2019) The global diversity of Deladenus siricidicola in native and non-native populations. Biological Control 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2019.01.014
Meurisse N, Rassati D, Hurley BP, Brockerhoff EG, Haack RA. (2019) Common pathways by which non-native forest insects move internationally and domestically. Journal of Pest Science 10.1007/s10340-018-0990-0
Mlonyeni XO, Wingfield BD, Greeff JM, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2018) Population variation in traits of Deladenus siricidicola that could influence the biocontrol of Sirex noctilio in South Africa. International Journal of Pest Management 64(4):324-332. 10.1080/09670874.2017.1421327 PDF
Dittrich-Schröder G, Hoareau TB, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Lawson S, Nahrung HF, Slippers B. (2018) Population genetic analyses of complex global insect invasions in managed landscapes: a Leptocybe invasa (Hymenoptera) case study. Biological Invasions 20(9):2395-2420. 10.1007/s10530-018-1709-0
Abate BA, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ, Malan AP, Hurley BP. (2018) Diversity of entomopathogenic nematodes and their symbiotic bacteria in South African plantations and indigenous forests. Nematology 20(4):355-371. 10.1163/15685411-00003144
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Hurley BP. (2018) Parasitoid assemblage associated with a North American pine weevil in South Africa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 10.1111/afe.12246
Bush SJ, Dittrich-Schröder D, Neser S, Gevers C, Baffoe KO, Slippers B, Hurley BP. (2018) First record of Quadristichus mendeli, a parasitoid of Leptocybe invasa, in South Africa. Southern Forests 10.2989/20702620.2017.1318347
Rodas CA, Hurley BP, Bolaños MD, Granados GM, Wingfield MJ. (2018) Biology of Litosermyle ocanae in Colombian Pinus patula plantations. Southern Forests 10.2989/20702620.2017.1334175
Hurley BP, Slippers B, Sathyapala S, Wingfield MJ. (2017) Challenges to planted forest health in developing economies. Biological Invasions 19(11):3273-3285. 10.1007/s10530-017-1488-z
Faulkner KT, Hurley BP, Robertson MP, Rouget M, Wilson JRU. (2017) The balance of trade in alien species between South Africa and the rest of Africa. Bothalia 47(2):1-16. 10.4102/abc.v47i2.2157
Kenis M, Hurley BP, Hajek A, Cock MJW. (2017) Classical biological control of insect pests of trees: facts and figures. Biological Invasions 19(11):3401-3417. 10.1007/s10530-017-1414-4
Abate BA, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B, Hurley BP. (2017) Commercialization of entomopathogenic nematodes: should import regulations be revised?. Biocontrol Science and Technology 27(2):149-168. 10.1080/09583157.2016.1278200
Olivier-Espejel S, Hurley BP, Garnas J. (2017) Assessment of beetle diversity, community composition and potential threats to forestry using kairomone-baited traps. Bulletin of Entomological Research 107(1):106-117. 10.1017/S0007485316000699
Bush SJ, Slippers B, Neser S, Harney M, Dittrich-Schröder G, Hurley BP. (2016) Six recently recorded Australian insects associated with Eucalyptus in South Africa. African Entomology 24(2):539-544. 10.4001/003.024.0539
Wondafrash M, Slippers B, Garnas J, Roux G, Foit J, Langor DW, Hurley BP. (2016) Identification and genetic diversity of two invasive Pissodes spp. Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in their introduced range in the southern hemisphere. Biological Invasions 18:2283. 10.1007/s10530-016-1159-5
Hurley BP, Garnas J, Wingfield MJ, Branco M, Richardson DM, Slippers B. (2016) Increasing numbers and intercontinental spread of invasive insects on eucalypts. Biological Invasions 18(4):921-933. 10.1007/s10530-016-1081-x
Wingfield MJ, Garnas JR, Hajek A, Hurley BP, de Beer ZW, Taerum SJ. (2016) Novel and co-evolved associations between insects and microorganisms as drivers of forest pestilence. Biological Invasions 18(4):1045-1056. 10.1007/s10530-016-1084-7
Hajek AE, Hurley BP, Kenis M, Garnas J, Bush SJ, Wingfield MJ, Lenteren JCV, Cock MJW. (2016) Exotic biological control agents: a solution or contribution to arthropod invasions?. Biological Invasions 18(4):953-969. 10.1007/s10530-016-1075-8
Abate BA, Malan AP, Tiedt LR, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B, Hurley BP. (2016) Steinernema fabii n. sp. (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae), a new entomopathogenic nematode from South Africa. Nematology 18(2):235-255. 10.1163/15685411-00002956
Marzano M, Dandy N, Papazova-Anakieva I, Avtzis D, Connolly T, Eschen R, Glavendekić M, Hurley BP, Lindelöw Å, Matošević D, Tomov R, Vettraino AM. (2016) Assessing awareness of tree pests and pathogens amongst tree professionals: A pan-European perspective. Forest Policy and Economics 70:164-171. PDF
Rodas CA, Serna R, Bolaños MD, Granados GM, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP. (2015) Biology, incidence and host susceptibility of Pineus boerneri (Hemiptera: Adelgidae) in Colombian pine plantations. Southern Forests 77:165-171. 10.2989/20702620.2014.1001662 PDF
Slippers B, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ. (2015) Sirex Woodwasp: A model for evolving management paradigms of invasive forest pests. Annual Review of Entomology 60:601-619. 10.1146/annurev-ento-010814-021118 PDF
Hurley BP, Garnas J, Cooperband MF. (2015) Assessing trap and lure effectiveness for the monitoring of Sirex noctilio. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 17(1):64-70. PDF
Rodas CA, Serna R, Hurley BP, Bolaños MD, Granados GM, Wingfield MJ. (2014) Three new and important insect pests recorded for the first time in Colombian plantations. Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science 76(4):245-252. 10.2989/20702620.2014.965983 PDF
Dittrich-Schroder G, Harney M, Neser S, Joffe T, Bush S, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Slippers B. (2014) Biology and host preference of Selitrichodes neseri: A potential biological control agent of the Eucalyptus gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa. Biological Control 78:33-41. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2014.07.004 PDF
Degefu DT, Hurley BP, Garnas JR, Wingfield MJ, Ahumada R, Slippers B. (2013) Parallel host range expansion in two unrelated cossid moths infesting Eucalyptus nitens on two continents. Ecological Entomology 38:112-116. 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2012.01396.x PDF
Mutitu EK, Garnas JR, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ, Harney M, Bush SJ, Slippers B. (2013) Biology and rearing of Cleruchoides noackae (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae), an egg parasitoid for the biological control of Thaumastocoris peregrinus (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae). Journal of Economic Entomology 106:1979-1985. 10.1603/EC13135 PDF
Wingfield MJ, Roux J, Slippers B, Hurley BP, Garnas J, Myburg AA, Wingfield BD. (2013) Established and new technologies reduce increasing pest and pathogen threats to Eucalypt plantations. Forest Ecology and Management 301:35-42. 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.09.002 PDF
Wooding AL, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP, Garnas JR, De Groot P, Slippers B. (2013) Lack of fidelity revealed in an insect-fungal mutualism after invasion. Biology Letters 9(4):1-4. 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0609 PDF
Wooding AL, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP, Garnas JR, De Groot P, Slippers B. (2013) Lack of fidelity revealed in an insect–fungal mutualism after invasion. Biology letters 9(4):20130342. PDF
Boissin E, Hurley B, Wingfield MJ, Vasaitis R, Stenlid J, Davis C, De Groot P, Ahumada R, Carnegie A, Goldarazena A, Klasmer P, Wermelinger B, Slippers B. (2012) Retracing the routes of introduction of invasive species: The case of the Sirex noctilio woodwasp. Molecular Ecology 21:5728-5744. 10.1111/mec.12065 PDF
Dittrich-Schröder G, Wingfield MJ, Hurley BP, Slippers B. (2012) Diversity in Eucalyptus susceptibility to the gall-forming wasp Leptocybe invasa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 14:419-427. 10.1111/j.1461-9563.2012.00583.x PDF
Garnas JR, Hurley BP, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ. (2012) Biological control of forest plantation pests in an interconnected world requires greater international focus. International Journal of Pest Management 58:211-223. 10.1080/09670874.2012.698764 PDF
Hurley BP, Slippers J, Wingfield MJ, Dyer C, Slippers B. (2012) Perception and knowledge of the Sirex woodwasp and other forest pests in South Africa. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 14:306-316. 10.1111/j.1461-9563.2012.00570.x PDF
Hurley BP, Hatting HJ, Wingfield MJ, Klepzig KD, Slippers B. (2012) The influence of Amylostereum areolatum diversity and competitive interactions on the fitness of the Sirex parasitic nematode Deladenus siricidicola. Biological Control 61:207-214. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2012.02.006 PDF
Kelly J, La Salle J, Harney M, Dittrich-Schröder G, Hurley BP. (2012) Selitrichodes neseri n. sp., a new parasitoid of the eucalyptus gall wasp Leptocybe invasa Fisher & La Salle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae). Zootaxa 3333:50-57. PDF
Hurley BP, Slippers B, Wingfield BD, Govender P, Smith JE, Wingfield MJ. (2010) Genetic diversity of Bradysia difformis (Sciaridae: Diptera) populations reflects movement of an invasive insect between forestry nurseries. Biological Invasions 12(4):729-733. 10.1007/s10530-009-9509-1 PDF
Croft P, Hurley BP, Verleur M. (2009) The management of Sirex noctilio in South Africa: Standard operating procedures for monitoring and biological control operations. ICFR Bulletin (20-2009):1-23.
Hurley BP, Slippers B, Croft PK, Hatting HJ, van der Linde M, Morris AR, Dyer C, Wingfield MJ. (2008) Factors influencing parasitism of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) by the nematode Deladenus siricidicola (Nematoda: Neotylenchidae) in summer rainfall areas of South Africa. Biological Control 45(3):450-459. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2008.02.010 PDF
Wingfield MJ, Slippers B, Hurley BP, Coutinho TA, Wingfield BD, Roux J. (2008) Eucalypt pests and diseases: Growing threats to plantation productivity. Southern Forests 70(2):139-144. 10.2989/SOUTH.FOR.2008. PDF
Hurley BP, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ. (2007) A comparison of control results for the alien invasive woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, in the southern hemisphere. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 9:159-171. 10.1111/j.1461-9563.2007.00340.x PDF
Hurley BP, Govender P, Coutinho TA, Wingfield BD, Wingfield MJ. (2007) Fungus gnats and other Diptera in South African forestry nurseries and their possible association with the pitch canker fungus. South African Journal of Science 103(1-2):43-46. PDF
Hurley BP, Slippers B, Coutinho TA, Wingfield BD, Govender P, Wingfield MJ. (2007) Molecular detection of fungi carried by Bradysia difformis (Sciaridae: Diptera) in South African forestry nurseries. Southern Hemisphere Forestry Journal 69(2):103-109. 10.2989/SHFJ.2007. PDF
Slippers B, Vasiliauskas R, Hurley BP, Stenlid J, Wingfield MJ. (2006) A collaborative project to better understand Siricid-Fungal symbioses. Proceedings of SNS Meeting :65-68. PDF
Carnegie AJ, Matsuki M, Haugen DA, Hurley BP, Ahumada R, Klasmer P, Sun J, Iede ET. (2006) Predicting the potential distribution of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae), a significant exotic pest of Pinus plantations. Annals of Forest Science 63:119-128. 10.1051/forest:2005104 PDF
Gebeyehu S, Hurley BP, Wingfield MJ. (2005) A new lepidopteran insect pest discovered on commercially grown Eucalyptus nitens in South Africa. South African Journal of Science 101(1-2):26-28. PDF