Camera traps are an effective tool for monitoring insect–plant interactions

Qaim Naqvi, Patrick J. Wolff, Brenda Molano-Flores, Jinelle H. Sperry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insect and pollinator populations are vitally important to the health of ecosystems, food production, and economic stability, but are declining worldwide. New, cheap, and simple monitoring methods are necessary to inform management actions and should be available to researchers around the world. Here, we evaluate the efficacy of a commercially available, close-focus automated camera trap to monitor insect–plant interactions and insect behavior. We compared two video settings—scheduled and motion-activated—to a traditional human observation method. Our results show that camera traps with scheduled video settings detected more insects overall than humans, but relative performance varied by insect order. Scheduled cameras significantly outperformed motion-activated cameras, detecting more insects of all orders and size classes. We conclude that scheduled camera traps are an effective and relatively inexpensive tool for monitoring interactions between plants and insects of all size classes, and their ease of accessibility and set-up allows for the potential of widespread use. The digital format of video also offers the benefits of recording, sharing, and verifying observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere8962
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Camera trap
  • detection
  • digital video recording
  • game camera
  • insect monitoring
  • pollination
  • pollination biology
  • pollinator monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology


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