Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 327–341 | Cite as

Vertical and horizontal distribution of bark and woodboring beetles by feeding guild: is there an optimal trap location for detection?

  • Thomas N. SheehanEmail author
  • Michael D. Ulyshen
  • Scott Horn
  • E. Richard Hoebeke
Original Paper


Bark and woodboring beetles include some of the most economically important forest pests. Understanding how these species are distributed in forests is critical for optimizing detection strategies. We placed traps at three heights above ground level at the edge and in the interior of two forests and focused on two groups: phloem/wood-feeding beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, and some Curculionidae: Scolytinae) and ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae and Platypodinae). We recorded temperature, humidity, and canopy cover for each trap. Species richness increased with height for phloem-/wood-feeding beetles and decreased with height for ambrosia beetles, even when microclimatic variables were included in the models. Community composition differed greatly among heights but little between horizontal placements. Indicator species analysis found eight species (seven of which were phloem/wood feeders) to be significantly associated with traps at 15 m and eight species (six of which were ambrosia beetles) associated with traps at 0 m. Only one species was significantly associated with the forest edge and one species associated with the interior, but a total of thirteen species were associated with particular combinations of horizontal placement and height. While distance from the forest edge was an important factor for some species, trap height more strongly influenced the species of phloem-/wood-feeding and ambrosia beetles captured and is a more important consideration with respect to optimizing trapping programs.


Bark and ambrosia beetles Saproxylic Microclimate Non-native species Invasive 



We thank Mike Hunter and Mike Wharton for permission to conduct this study at Whitehall and Tallassee Forests, respectively. We are also grateful to Carl Jordan and Chris Canalos for facilitating access to Tallassee Forest. We thank Conor Fair, Tommy McElrath, and Brad Hounkpati for assistance with fieldwork and Courtney Brissey who helped with species identification and field work. We are grateful to Joe McHugh for access to resources from his laboratory. We thank Dan Miller and Chris Crowe for access to a reference collection and advice on the project, as well as Mengyao Li, Xianyan Chen, and Funing Chen for statistical consultation. We also thank Jeremy Allison for advice on trap design and three anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved the manuscript. This study was funded by the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. The use of product names does not imply endorsement by the United States Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia, or the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas N. Sheehan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michael D. Ulyshen
    • 3
  • Scott Horn
    • 3
  • E. Richard Hoebeke
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at IchauwayNewtonUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Southern Research StationAthensUSA
  4. 4.Museum of Natural History and Department of EntomologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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