Monthly sweep net and light trap samples were used to examine seasonal changes in the abundance of insects in subtropical, warm and cool temperate rain forest in New South Wales. Maximum insect abundance, especially of phytophages, coincided with leaf flushing in the canopy trees. Cool temperate insect numbers were highest during the month just following the beech leaf flush, a rapid and synchronous growth event. Conversely, numbers of subtropical insects fluctuated over a longer period, in a pattern similar to the continuous growth of leaves that occurred throughout spring and summer there. The warm temperate was intermediate in its vegetation growth phenology and insect patterns. Rainforest insect abundance varied both temporally and spatially.