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Animal Crossing: New Horizons — Bug catching guide

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching
Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching (Image credit: iMore/Casian Holly)

Any fan of the Animal Crossing series knows that an important part of the game is catching, collecting, and selling bugs. From the common and harmless butterflies to the rare and dangerous scorpions, there are many insects and creepy crawlies to catch in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and good reasons to do so. Lucky for you, we here at iMore know where all these bugs are hiding, how to catch them, and what to do with them once you do!

Bug catching in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching (Image credit: iMore/Casian Holly)

One of the things you'll want to do every day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is catch bugs. You can earn achievements, fill your museum, and make a ton of Bells by catching bugs. Plus, the bugs you can catch change throughout the day and year so you can fill out your Critterpedia.

How to catch bugs

To catch most bugs, all you need is a net, a bug, and some patience.

  1. You can craft a Net at a DIY crafting table.
    • A Flimsy Net only takes five Tree Branches. You can upgrade it to a regular Net with one Iron Nugget. Eventually, you'll even be able to craft a Golden Net, but to start with, a Flimsy Net works just fine. It will break eventually but since Tree Branches are an unlimited resource, you can easily replace it.
  2. Alternatively, you can buy a Flimsy Net from Timmy and Tommy Nook for 400 Bells.
  3. Once you have your net, you need to find a bug. This part is pretty easy. There are bugs all over your island. Some will be crawling on the ground, some resting on flowers, while others are flying around.
  4. When you have a bug in sight, get close and press the A Button to swing your net.
  5. Alternatively, you can hold the A Button while inching closer to the bug, so as not to scare it away while you line up the perfect shot.

Where to catch bugs

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Stump

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Stump (Image credit: iMore/Casian Holly)

Different bugs can be found in different places throughout your island. Many bugs will be flying around, while others crawl around on the ground. Others are more particular. You can find bugs in the following places:

  • Ground: These bugs can be found crawling anywhere on the ground.
  • Flying: These bugs can be found flying anywhere.
  • Flowers: These bugs are only found close to or on flowers. Some might even prefer certain color flowers.
  • Rocks: These bugs can be found by hitting or even breaking rocks.
  • Wet Rocks: These bugs can be found resting on rocks when it's raining.
  • Beach Rocks: These bugs can be found on the rocks on the beach.
  • Beach: These bugs can only be found on the shoreline in the sand.
  • Trees: These bugs can be found by shaking trees.
  • Tree Trunks: These bugs can be found clinging to tree trunks.
  • Tree Stumps: These bugs can only be found on tree stumps left behind from cutting down trees.
  • Itchy Villagers: These bugs can only be found when one of your villagers has an itch.
  • Rotten Fruit, Turnips, or Garbage: These bugs can only be found when fruit, turnips, or trash have been left on the ground.

Hiding bugs

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Tree (Image credit: iMore/Casian Holly)

Not all of the bugs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be out in the open. There are a few places where bugs can hide that require a little more effort to catch:

  • Trees: Sometimes bugs hide in the leaves or needles of a tree. To catch these hiding bugs, you'll need to shake trees until you find one. Be careful though! Wasps also hide in trees!
  • Rocks: Some bugs hide in the soil beneath rocks. To catch these hiding bugs, you need to hit rocks with a shovel or axe until one scurries out. You need to be fast though, because these bugs don't like the light and will quickly disappear into the ground.
  • Underground: One bug in particular likes to hide under the ground. You'll have to dig to find these ones.
  • Tree Trunks: There are some bugs that blend right in with tree trunks. If you move too quickly past these hiding bugs, they will fly away, so always keep your eyes peeled and walk carefully.
  • Sea Shells: Hermit crabs live inside sea shells, so be vigilant when you're collecting your treasures from the beach. If you have your net handy, you can catch hermit crabs before they crawl away.

When to catch bugs

While some bugs, like ants or common butterflies, can be found anytime of the year, most bugs can only be found during certain months. These months are similar to when these bugs would be around in the real world and are different based on which hemisphere you live in. Because the seasons are reversed in the different hemispheres, so too are the times of year when you can catch your bugs.

Likewise, not all bugs will be out at all times of day. Moths, for example, are found when it is dark out, while dragonflies are out during the day. Most bugs have specific time windows when you can catch them so if you're hunting a particular creepy crawly, make sure you've got the right time window to catch it.

Dangerous bugs

Animal Crossing New Horizons Safely Catch Bugs

Animal Crossing New Horizons Safely Catch Bugs (Image credit: iMore)

While most bugs will scurry or fly away if you're not careful, there are some bugs that are especially dangerous. The following bugs can hurt you, cause you to faint, or leave your face swollen and in need of medicine:

  • Wasps hide in Ttees. If you don't manage to catch a wasp quickly, it will sting you and fly away!
  • Scorpions and tarantulas can be found on the ground. They are very aggressive. If you get stung or bit by one, you will faint!
  • Mosquitos are less dangeous than the others, but they will bite you if you stand near them for too long.

To read more on how to catch dangerous Bugs, read our guide on how to catch trantulas, wasps, and scorpions.

Why do I want to catch bugs anyways?

Aside from bug catching being a significant part of the game, there are lots of reasons to be on the hunt. You can earn Nook Miles for catching specific bugs and lots of them. You can sell them for lots of Bells. You can even fill a museum.

Blathers' Museum

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Museum

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Museum (Image credit: iMore/Casian Holly)

For fans of the Animal Crossing series, you already know Blathers. This bug-averse owl will come to your island and build a museum where one of every fossil, fish, and bug can be put on display. Blathers might dislike the bugs, but he still wants one of each of the 80 species found on your island. Not only is this a fun way to keep track of your achievement in bug hunting, but you can also go through the museum and see the different bugs you've caught. Blathers will even tell you fun facts about the bugs — much to his dismay!

Bells, Bells, Bells!!!

Probably the most compelling reason to catch bugs is to earn Bells. Bells, the currency of the Animal Crossing world, are necessary to build your home, purchase clothing and decor, and otherwise progress in your game. Like most anything else you can gather in New Horizons, bugs can be sold at Nook's Cranny for a lot off Bells. The rarer the bug, the more Bells you'll get.

To read more, see our fish, bug, and shell Bells guide.

Nook Miles

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Nook Miles

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bug Catching Nook Miles (Image credit: iMore/Casian Holly)

Another big benefit to catching bugs is the Nook Miles achievments. Nook Miles are a secondary currency used in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. These Miles can be exchanged for clothing, DIY Recipes, furniture, and most importantly, Nook Miles Tickets. Nook Miles Tickets are your pass to fly to a completely new, random island. On these islands, you can find fruit and plants that you might not already have, additional rocks to smash for iron nuggets and stones, and even new potential villagers.

You earn Nook Miles by doing all sorts of things in game, and that includes catching bugs. There are achievements for catching specific bugs, for catching certain numbers of bugs, and even for catching certain bugs multiple times. Since you need Nook Miles Tickets to unlock certain features in the game, you should always be catching bugs.

To read more, see our Nook Miles guide.

The Golden Net

There is one other reason to catch bugs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and that is the Golden Net. The Golden Net is a special, nearly unbreakable net. While it is possible to break a Golden Net, it takes a very long time. However, you can only craft this incredible tool after you've caught one of every single bug in the game. Without time traveling, this will take many months, since certain Bugs are only available during certain seasons. Trust me, it'll be worth the effort!

Every bug available in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Thus far, there are 80 different insects, bugs, and other creepy crawlies to be caught on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons islands. While some, like ants can be found year round and any time of the day, others are limited to specific months and times. These various bugs can also be caught in different ways. The following are all 80 bugs so far, where and when they can be caught, and how much you can sell them for:

BugMonths*HoursLocationBells
Agrias ButterflyApril to September8 AM to 5 PMFlying3,000
Atlas MothApril to September7 PM to 4 PMTree Trunks3,000
AntAnyAnyRotten Fruit/Turnips80
BagwormAnyAnyShaken Trees600
Banded DragonflyMay to October8 AM to 5 PMFlying4,500
Bell CricketSeptember to October5 PM to 8 AMGround430
Blue Weevil BeetleJuly to AugustAnyPalm Tree Trunks800
Brown CicadaJuly to August8 AM ro 5 PMTree Trunks250
CentipedeSeptember to June5 PM to 11 PMHit Rocks430
Cicada ShellJuly to AugustAnyTree Trunks10
Citrus Long-Horned BeetleAnyAnyTree Stumps350
Common BluebottleApril to August4 AM to 7 PMFlying300
Common ButterflySeptember to June4 AM to 7 PMFlying160
CricketSeptember to November5 PM to 8 AMGround130
Cyclommatus StagJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks8,000
DamselflyNovember to FebruaryAnyFlying500
Darner DragonflyApril to October8 AM to 5 PMFlying230
Diving BeetleMay to September8 AM to 7 PMRiver800
Drone BeetleJune to AugustAnyTree Trunks200
Dung beetleDecember to FebruaryAnySnowballs2,500
Earth-Boring Dung BeetleJuly to SeptemberAnyGround300
Emperor ButterflyDecember to March June to September5 PM to 8 AMFlying4,000
Evening CicadaJuly to August4 AM to 8 AM 4 PM to 7 PMTree Trunks550
FireflyJune7 PM to 4 AMFlying300
FleaAnyAnyItchy Villagers70
FlyAnyAnyRotten Fruit or Garbage60
Giant CicadaJuly to August8 AM ro 5 PMTree Trunks500
Giant StagJuly to August11 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks10,000
Giant Water BugApril to September7 PM to 8 AMPonds and Rivers2,000
Giraffe StagJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks12,000
Golden StagJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks12,000
Goliath BeetleJune to September5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks8,000
GrasshopperJuly to September8 AM to 5 PMGround160
Great Purple EmperorMay to August4 AM to 7 PMFlying3,000
Hermit CrabAny7 PM to 8 AMBeach1,000
HoneybeeMarch to July8 AM to 5 PMFlying near Flowers200
Horned AtlasJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks8,000
Horned DynastidJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks1,350
Horned ElephantJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks8,000
Horned HerculesJuly to August5 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks12,000
Jewel BeetleApril to AugustAnyTree Trunks2,400
LadybugMarch to June October8 AM to 5 PMFlowers200
Long LocustApril to November8 AM to 7 PMGround200
Madagascan Sunset MothApril to September8 AM to 4 PMFlying2,500
Man-Faced Stink BugMarch to October7 PM to 8 AMFlowers1,000
MantisMarch to November8 AM to 5 PMFlowers430
Migratory LocustFebruary to May8 AM to 7 PMGround200
Miyama StagJuly to AugustAnyTree Trunks1,000
Mole CricketNovember to MayAnyDig Underground500
Monarch ButterflySeptember to November4 AM to 5 PMFlying140
MosquitoJune to September5 PM to 4 AMFlying130
MothAny7 PM to 4 AMLit Windows130
Orchid MantisMarch to November8 AM to 5 PMFlowers2,400
Paper Kite ButterflyAny8 AM to 7 PMFlying1,000
Peacock ButterflyMarch to June4 AM to 7 PMNear Black, Purple, or Blue Flowers2,500
Pill BugSeptember to June11 PM to 4 PMHit Rocks250
PondskaterMay to September8 AM to 7 PMRivers130
Queen Alexandra's BirdwingMay to September8 AM to 4 PMFlying4,000
Rainbow StagJune to September7 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks6,000
Rajah Brooke's BirdwingDecember to February April to September8 AM to 5 PMNear Black, Purple, or Blue Flowers2,500
Red DragonflySeptember to October8 AM to 7 PMFlying180
Rice GrasshopperAugust to November8 AM to 7 PMGround160
Robust CicadaJuly to August8 AM to 5 PMTree Trunks300
Rosalia Batsei BeetleMay to JuneAnyTree Stumps3,000
Saw StagJuly to AugustAnyTree Trunks2,000
Scarab BeetleJuly to August11 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks10,000
ScorpionMay to October7 PM to 4 AMGround8,000
SnailAnyAnyRocks in Rain250
SpiderAny7 PM to 8 AMShake Trees600
StinkbugMarch to OctoberAnyFlowers120
TarantulaNovember to April7 PM to 4 AMGround8,000
Tiger BeetleFebruary to OctoberAnyGround1,500
Tiger ButterflyMarch to September4 AM to 7 PMFlying240
Violin BeetleMay to June September to NovemberAnyTree Stumps450
Walker CicadaAugust to September8 AM to 4 PMTree Trunks400
Walking LeafJuly to SeptemberAnyGround600
Walking StickJuly to November4 AM to 8 PM 4 PM to 8 AMTree Trunks600
WaspAnyAnyShake Trees2,500
Wharf RoachAnyAnyBeach Rocks200
Yellow ButterflyMarch to June and September to October4 AM to 7 PMFlying160
  • Note: The months listed are for players in the Northern Hemisphere.

Questions?

Do you have any questions about catching Bugs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Got any tips for your fellow players? Just want to show off your latest catch? Drop them in the comments below, and be sure to check out our many other Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides!

Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.