In biological monitoring, deploying an effective standardised quantitative sampling method, optimised by trap design and sampling effort, is an essential consideration. To exemplify this using dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae) communities, three pitfall trap designs (un-baited (TN), baited at ground level (flat trap, TF), and baited above the trap (hanging trap, TH)), employed with varying levels of sampling effort (number of traps=1, 2, 3 … 10; number of days=1, 2, 3), were evaluated for sampling completeness and efficiency in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Modelling and resampling simulation approaches were used to suggest optimal sampling protocols across environmentally diverse sites. Overall, TF recovered the greatest abundance and species richness of dung beetles, but behavioural guilds showed conflicting trends: endocoprids preferred TH while paracoprids and telocoprids preferred TF. Resampling simulation of trap type and the two components of sampling effort suggested that six TF traps left for three days was most efficient in obtaining a representative sample and allowed differentiation between trap types, allowing the improved efficiency to be recognised. The effect of trap type on non-target specimens, particularly ants, was also investigated. TF and TH caught almost no by-catch, which is ethically desirable.