All About Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Bug-Offs!


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The most exciting competition this side of the mortal realm is beginning! Those skittery, chitinous, riotous messengers of love called bugs are finally getting their day to shine in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bug-Offs!

At least, we think that’s how Flick would describe it…

Get your bug nets ready, steel your courage, and rack up some points in this sister event to the Fishing Tourney!

If you know what the Fishing Tourneys are like, you’ll be in a great place for the event. If not, no worries! We’ll break it all down.

Starting now!

Event Overview

Like C.J. and the Fishing Tourney, Flick will be hosting a Bug-Off tournament on your island, tasking you (and your friends) to catch as many bugs as possible in 3 minutes!

Although Flick will be on the island as early as 5AM, the Bug-Off itself will not start until 9AM, and comes to a close at 6PM.

For participating in the event, players will accumulate points based on their performance, which can be be exchanged for exclusive Bug-Off rewards!

And if you’re chronically fighting for pocket space like I am, don’t worry about it! Your catches are automatically sent to the Bug Cage, where you may claim specific bugs at will, or sell them to Flick for a cool 50% higher than you’d get from the shop.

Just like the Fishing Tourney, this is not a one-time challenge; multiple runs are not only accepted, but encouraged!

Sound like a plan? Begin your journey to a scale-filled nirvana by conversing with Flick in the Plaza!

Bug-Off Preparation

While bugs aren’t as controllable as fish are, they are indeed ways to prepare for the Bug-Off whether it’s here or not! In fact, since bugs have a variety of ways to spawn, there are even more ways you can prepare for the event!

Here’s some I think would really make the Bug-Off as painless as possible!

Bring Nets Aplenty!

Since you’ll be doing some hectic runs back-and-forth, it never hurts to have a net, a backup net, and a backup backup net!

While Bugs might be less time-consuming to catch than fish, you’ll want to be as well-prepared as possible!

After all, who wants to spend time shaking trees or running to the store mid-round?

Grow a Garden!

Yep! If you haven’t been getting a green thumb, you’ll be at a slight disadvantage in this one!

There are more than a few bugs that spawn when you have a number of flower plants blossoming on your island, and generally speaking, the more you have, the better.

If you happen to have been playing around with hybrids, you’re in luck, as you’ll possibly see more valuable critters around, too!

Rotten Turnips? Fresh Ants!

Has your luck been terrible with the Stalk Market? Mine too! But instead of completely cutting your losses, how about making those bad investments work for you?

Rotten Turnips happen to be an exclusive spawner for the hardest working of the insects, the noble ant.

And ants swarm like, well, ants over rotten turnips! They almost always spawn over rotten turnips every time you leave the screen, so give your rotten turnips one last investment, and keep some on your island! …At least for the Bug-Off.

Save the Trees, Man!

As the months roll by, we’ve seen trees become more and more common a source for bugs.

Whether it’s shaking loose a Spider or Bagworm, inadvertently knocking down a Hornet’s Nest, or novel oddities like beetles and Atlas Moths, don’t forget to keep your trees!

Stumped? Great!

Ok, maybe trees are a little too situational for you. That’s fine, no biggie. But are you keeping stumps from when you chop down trees? They happen to be a frequent spawner of bugs!

If you’re stumped with how to get stumps, you’ll need to make use of a proper Axe, (not. Flimsy or Stone Axe), and give a tree three quick whacks.

Voila! Instant stump! Stumps also double as free and convenient natural seating in the game, so don’t be afraid to experiment with trees and stumps!

Infrastructure is Key!

Unlike the stationary fish, insects are far more mobile than their aquatic counterparts.

And some insects are far more flighty than others!

If you’ve got the bells, consider making as much infrastructure fo navigate your island as possible. You don’t want to have to abandon a chase over rivers, or be mocked by butterflies as they fly over cliffs!

Having to switch between your Nets, Vaulting Pole, and Ladder wastes away precious time, too! If you don’t have any bridges or inclines built, get started on those ASAP, and make sure you have a Tool Ring at the very least!

Which brings us to this last, crucial prep tip…

The Tool Ring: It’s still Essential!

It was essential to the Fishing Tourney, and it’s still just as relevant now!

For those of you who don’t know what the Tool Ring is, it’s an unlockable feature that allows you to hot-swap between 8 tools with ease!

You’ll need to redeem it for a mere 800 Nook Miles from the Nook Stop, another feature that gets unlocked once you pay off your moving fees and get a house.

Shameless plug: check out my world-famous guide on paying off your moving fees in 30 minutes or less if you need to do so!

Once you’ve unlocked the Tool Ring, you can register up to 8 tools as favorites, and switch between them by pressing up on the D-Pad when outside.

If you don’t have infrastructure built, the took ring saves quite a few seconds between switching from nets to vaulting poles and ladders.

And if you had to manually open your pocket inventory beforehand to pick and hold a tool, you’ll be elated with how much time the tool ring saves there, too.

But you can also turn the tables on your competition by having multiple nets registered to your tool ring, too! The moment one breaks, just switch to the next, and you’ll be back in action with no more than a second’s delay!

Bug-Off Tips

Catching bugs for the Bug-Off isn’t as nuanced as catching fish for the Fishing Tourney, but there are still definitely some tips to keep in mind before your runs!

Here are 6 tips that I think everybody should keep in mind before they begin their Bug-Off runs.

1. Get Your Sneak On!

For the most part, catching bugs is a much faster, simpler process than fishing! You don’t have to worry about angling any lines perfectly, waiting for a bug to see you, or any fake-outs, but you do need to be careful not to scare them off!

Some bugs are extremely flighty, and will flee the second they see you coming after them! Snails, Beetles, Stink Bugs and Mantises all fit this description.

So, if you want to make sure you get the drop on them, and y’know, the bugs don’t drop in terror of you, make sure to hold the A button while your net is equipped to sneak up on some of the more timid critters.

2. Observe, Then Swerve!

Because of the timed nature of the Bug-Off, it’s easy to feel you have to run around the Island looking for bugs.

While this is undoubtedly true, take a second to slow down and observe the screen, too!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scared off bugs because I was in a mad sprint to go somewhere, and this is before the Bug-Off!

You can run around the island if need be, but be careful around trees, stumps, flowers, and any leftover food sources… which is the bulk of bug spawns, really.

Just be mindful of your environment, and you’ll do well!

3. Quantity over Quality

At least with this event, it is far better to go for a higher number of bugs, as opposed to a higher value of bugs.

This means that things like Banded Dragonflies, Queen Alexandria’s Birdwings, and Agrias Butterflies should not be prioritized, while more common critters like Common Butterflies, Ants, and Bees should be a bigger concern.

A Bug-Off round only lasts three minutes, so while you don’t have to avoid the rarer critters, they can affect your scoring dramatically when you have to chase after them.

After the round is over? Chase to your heart’s content!

4. Neighbor Watch

This tip is a very sneaky and underhanded one, but it may just come in handy from time to time!

As you may or may not know, your island’s residents love to interact with the environment around them! They’ll sit on furniture, play with outdoor equipment, and yes, to an extent, they even bug watch!

During the Bug-Off, your residents can still eye certain bugs down, and that’s your cue to add another catch to your point total!

Sometimes, your residents may be eyeing a small bug on a flower, others, they may be sizing up an insect before they catch it! And at other times still, they may even be in mid-chase with an insect!

Whichever the case, you can just as easily catch these bugs out from under them, if you have the heart for it!

5. The Host With the Most (Energy)

While I haven’t been able to test this tip out fully with an AFK host, this tip comes from my personal experience with the Fishing Tourney, so it bears relevance here.

If you decide to play the Bug-Off with friends, make sure ahead of time that your host will be able to play the game uninterrupted.

Why? Because at least with Fish spawns, critters do not regenerate when the hosting player is idle. And unlinke the Fishing Tourney, you can’t just bring bait to offset this from happening.

So, to be safe rather than sorry, make sure to talk it out with your friends before deciding on a host for the Bug-Off! You do not want to run circles around an island in vain…

6. “Ready your ne–” Yoink!

Here’s another super sneaky tip. During your Bug-Off runs, if you happen to see a bug very near to you, but the timer hasn’t officially started yet, don’t be afraid at all to just catch the bug immediately.

It sounds incredibly dubious of a tip, I know, but I can guarantee it works.

Just make sure that the timer overlay has appeared on the screen first before you catch, and you’ll still get a point for good measure.

Is it good sportsmanship? No, not in the least. Is it good for maximizing your points? Yes, yes it is.

Bug-Blessed Relics

If C.J.’s Fishing Tourney is anything to go by, you can expect to see some exclusive bug-themed items to collect, too!

Once you’ve netted a total of 10 points or more between rounds, talk with Flick, and he’ll give you a Bug-Off item in exchange for your hard work!

You won’t, however, have a free choice as to what he gives you. He’ll give you one of the event items at random. If you want them all, you’ll have to keep on playing, and keep on exchanging those points!

Here’s what we’ve uncovered so far:

  • Bug Wand (Transformation Wand)
  • Butterflies Wall (Wallpaper – Still)
  • Bug Cage (Fashion Item – Bag)
  • Artisanal Bug Cage (Wardrobe!)
  • Spider Web (Wall-Mounted Furniture)
  • Bug Aloha Shirt (Fashion Item – Top)
  • Toy Cockroach (Ground Furniture)
  • Ladybug Umbrella (Tool/ Fashion Item – Umbrella)
  • Ladybug Rug (Rug – Medium Size)
  • Termite Mound (Furniture)
  • Spider Doorplate (Doorplate / Wall-Mounted Furniture)
  • Toy Centipede (Ground Furniture)
  • Butterfly Backpack (Fashion Item – Bag)

After 6PM

Once 6PM hits, The Bug-Off shall be no more! There shall no longer be any entry fees, nor shall there be any more tournament runs…

There will only be bugs, and the artiste who sees them as a spiritual guide.

In less… Flick-ish terms, there will no longer be any more trial runs to play. All you can do now is talk with Flick, and get your cumulative total of points for the Bug-Off!

Get enough, and you might even get a trophy shipped off to your home!

Flick will also stop buying bugs from you after 6. I guess devotion has limits after all!

And lastly, If you didn’t get your event items beforehand, make sure you talk with flick ASAP to exchange your points! He’ll be leaving in another 2 hours!

Speaking of which…

After 8PM

When the sun begins to set on this roiled earth, Flick will officially take his leave from the island, leaving only the Bug Cage behind.

If you’ve yet to claim or clear out the Bug Cage, you’ll have the rest of the day to do so. Afterwards… we aren’t sure. We assume Isabelle will take the time to release them back into the wild?

Any leftover bugs might end up in the community chest in Resident Services, but that’s more of a best guess than anything! We’ll try to experiment and see what happens!

What Happens to my Points?

Got some leftover points, huh? No worries! Your points are kept safe and sound until the next Bug-Off!

If you want to use up as much as possible, exchange them with the ever-brooding Flick before he departs the island at 8PM!

At least with the Fishing Tourney, should you happen to time-travel back to the event, all of your points will remain the same, too!

I Missed the Time of Enlightenment! What Now?

Ouch. Bummer… Fortunately, (assuming it isn’t patched out with 1.2.1), you should be able to Time-Travel back to earlier when the event started!

We’ll try to confirm this with curious friends, but assuming nothing has changed from the Fishing Tourney, Time Travelling should be a viable option for you to enjoy the Bug-Off if you missed it!

Conclusion & Discussion

Well, that’s all we’ve uncovered about the Bug-Off in New Horizons! Did you enjoy the event? Or did you earn some serious bells from it? What event item did you like most?

Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment below, and I’ll be more than happy to discuss!

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