Bug catching, as its name suggests, refers to the act of using a net to catch bugs, an action that has always been featured through the Animal Crossing series, allowing the player access to another category to fill in the museum by donating what they catch, or another source of Bells by selling them to Tom Nook. While not as expensive as some fish, bugs prices might range from 5 to 12,000 Bells.
Catching the bugs
Successfully catching a bug requires patience and constantly deciding whether to act fast or much slower depending on the species to be caught. Bugs like snails, pillbugs, ladybugs, and some butterflies like the common butterfly and yellow butterfly are usually the easiest to catch without needing to run.
Other bugs that stick to trees, like the cicadas and beetles, tend to fly away easily in presence of the player, and they leave even faster if the player runs near them, thus being slow near these bugs is a must. On the other side, the harder to catch bugs are some of the fastest in the game, like the banded dragonfly, the tarantula, and the scorpion. Despite the difficulties these might present, all of them can be caught with any net.
Note that some of the bugs that can be caught in every game usually contain other species among them that aren't actually insects, but crustaceans or arachnids. Crabs and spiders are some examples of that, respectively, and while they are included in this category, they require tactics different to those used with insects in order to be caught.
The only way to catch bugs is by using the net tool, as is impossible otherwise to catch one. Yet, there are times where shaking a tree, hitting a rock with a shovel or digging on the ground will be extra steps needed for a bug to appear. There are four main types of nets: the flimsy net, the net, the silver net and the golden net.
- Flimsy net: This net is only available in New Horizons, and it can be crafted or bought from Nook's Cranny. Its durability is lower than the regular net.
- Net: This is a common tool that can be brought for 500 Bells, or in the case of New Horizons, crafted using a flimsy net and a iron nugget.
- Silver net: This net has a wider net size and can also be bought at Tom Nook's store. Although it is rarer, the silver net can be bought for 500 Bells, the same as the regular net. However, the silver net is not very rare in Animal Crossing: New Leaf; the silver net is available for purchase in the Museum Shop for 600 Bells after the player has donated 30 bugs. It is not available in New Horizons.
- Golden net: This net provides the largest net size to make catching bugs easier, and can only be obtained by catching all bugs. In the case of New Horizons however, the golden net provides the most durability out of the other nets in the game, and needs to be crafted using a net and one gold nugget, with its DIY recipe obtained from catching all bugs.
In addition to these four, Animal Crossing: New Horizons adds three stylized nets: the colorful net, the star net, and the outdoorsy net. These are functionally identical to the regular net, with the only difference being their design. These nets are available from the upgraded Nook's Cranny. Additionally in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the player has to catch a certain number of bugs before being able to catch rarer bugs, but it should also be noted that in this game, the normal net can break after catching a certain number of bugs.
Depending on the species, there are several locations where bugs can be caught:
|On trees||Bugs appear the most on trees than anywhere else, but usually only during the summer.||The player must walk up slowly to the tree to avoid scaring the bug off, especially if it is a rare variety.|
|On tree stumps||In City Folk and 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 their 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, which 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 Doubutsu no Mori e+.||It is recommended to start growing as many palm trees as possible near the beach to increase their spawn rate. Then, to catch them, these bugs must be approached extremely slowly to avoid scaring them off.|
|On the ground||Crickets, grasshoppers, stunners, and a few others are found on the ground. Ground bugs never appear during rain, except for the walking leaf.||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.|
|In the air||All butterflies and dragonflies are found flying around, together with the Firefly, Honeybee, Mosquito, and Moth.||The player will often need to run after these bug to catch them, and avoid luring them out of town or where the sea is. Also, to catch the Peacock butterfly, needs to be hybrid flowers in the town. All air bugs disappear on rainy days.|
|On flowers||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.||These bugs just need to be approached slowly by the player to catch them.|
|On garbage||The Ant and Fly are found near/on trash or candy. The fly is also near Rafflesia.||These usually undesired bugs are easy to catch, and require no strategy at all. Ants move similar to Pillbugs, while Flies move alike to mosquitoes.|
|Near snowballs / Balls||The Dung beetle pushes snowballs around in winter, and in Doubutsu no Mori e+, it can be found during other seasons pushing the balls that appear around the town.||The player should approach the moving snowball slowly and swing the net at it to catch the bug, but they should also be careful near the water, as both the snowball and the Dung beetle can fall in it.|
|Underground||The only bug that lives underground is the mole cricket.||It can be found by following the buzzing noise that the insect makes when the player is near. Then, to make it come out, the shovel should be used to dig holes trying to guess its location based on how loud the buzzing is. Once found, the mole cricket pops out from the ground and start crawling around, only disappearing if it leaves the screen or falls into a body of water.|
|Under rocks||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.|