Bugs are a large part of the Animal Crossing series games. The act of capturing a bug is called bug catching. Bug catching has featured in all the Animal Crossing games. Bugs are one of the four items that can be donated to the museum; the others are fish, fossils and paintings. Despite the most expensive bugs selling for less than the most expensive fish, the bug is more diverse in prices, from 5 Bells to 12,000 Bells. Like fish, not all bugs are actually insects, for example the snail or spider. Bugs can be found in several different places in an Animal Crossing town, by far the most common is on trees. This makes it difficult to catch every type of bug, because some require specific tactics in order to be caught. Bugs are caught with the net or its upgrades: the silver net and the golden net.
Catching the bugs
Sold (rarely) in Tom Nook's Store (Nook 'n' Go and above) for 500 Bells (City Folk) and sold in the Museum Shop for the same price (New Leaf). It is a little bigger than the regular net, so it is better at catching bugs. The silver net only appears in City Folk and New Leaf.
Given to the player by Tortimer when the player has caught all the 40 (Animal Crossing), 56 (Animal Crossing: Wild World), 64 (City Folk), or 72 (New Leaf, given by Nat during the Bug-Off). This net makes it much easier to catch bugs.
Where can bugs be caught?
There are several locations where bugs can be caught:
Many bugs appear on the trunks of trees. The player must walk up slowly to the tree to avoid scaring the bug off, especially if it is a rare variety. More bugs appear on trees than anywhere else, but usually only during the summer.
On tree stumps
In Animal Crossing: City Folk and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the Violin beetle and Longhorn beetle reside on tree stumps. While not difficult to catch, the player must make sure they have some stumps in town, by cutting down at least one tree without removing the stump.
On palm trees
Six rare bugs can be found on the palm trees, so growing them near the beach is worthwhile. All must be approached extremely slowly to avoid being scared off. Palm tree bugs include the Goliath Beetle (6,000 Bells), the Golden Stag (12,000 Bells), the Hercules Beetle (12,000 Bells), the Atlas Beetle (8,000 Bells), the Elephant Beetle (8,000 Bells), and the Cyclommatus (8,000 Bells). There is also a Coconut Crab, but it is found only in Animal Forest e+.
On the ground
Crickets, grasshoppers, stunners, and a few others are found on the ground. They usually hop around, so the player should think ahead to where the insect is going to be and then swing the net in that location. The player should also avoid luring them into water, otherwise the bug will not be able to be caught. Ground bugs never appear during rain, except for the walking leaf.
In the air
All butterflies and dragonflies are found flying around, and the Firefly, Honeybee, Mosquito, and Moth are also. Air bugs disappear during rain. The player may need to run after the bug to catch it and avoid luring it out of town where the sea is. Also, to catch the Peacock butterfly, hybrid flowers need to be present.
A few bugs are found on flowers; these also disappear during rain. The Snail, Ladybug, Spotted Ladybug, Mantis, and Orchid Mantis are the five flower bugs. The player needs to approach these bugs slowly to catch them.
The mole cricket lives underground and makes a buzzing noise when the player is near. The player should use their shovel to dig holes where the buzzing is loudest and after a few attempts, the mole cricket may pop out and start crawling around. The player should immediately switch to the net and catch the insect before it leaves the screen or falls into a body of water.
When the player hits a rock with a shovel, a pill bug, centipede, or house centipede (Animal Crossing: New Leaf only) may come out. If this happens, the player should quickly switch to the net and catch the bug. The slow speed of these bugs makes this a straightforward task.