1. Various kinds of traps have been employed to monitor and forecast population trends of the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann; Coleoptera: Scolytidae), but their accuracy in assessing pine-beetle abundance and sex ratio in the field has not been directly evaluated.
2. In this study, we used fluorescent powder to mark pine beetles emerging from 6 isolated infestations. We then compared estimates of total abundances and proportions of males emerging from within each infestation to the estimates from three types of traps: passive sticky traps (2, 5, 10 and 20 m away from the source of beetles), multi-funnel traps baited with pine beetle attractants (100 m away) and pine trees baited with attractants (also 100 m away).
3. We found that the proportion of males captured in traps was significantly affected by the type of trap used.
4. Within an infestation, equal proportions of males and females were marked (0.53 ± 0.02 males; mean ± se), but the proportions captured in trap trees and passive traps were more female biased (0.42 ± 0.03 and 0.46 ± 0.01 males, respectively). On the other hand, funnel traps provided an estimate of the proportion of males that was nearly identical to the proportion from within infestations (0.51 ± 0.03).
5. Numbers of marked beetles captured in traps were uncorrelated with the numbers of marked beetles emerging from the focal infestations. This suggests that traps positioned around an infestation may not be effective at estimating relative abundances of beetles within the infestation.