The Bug-Off is a bug catching competition that is held during the Summer in Wild World, City Folk, New Leaf, and New Horizons. In the former three games, the event takes place in the months of June, July, August and September, because these are the months in which a majority of the large insects appear - such as the oak silk moth and the birdwing butterfly. In New Horizons, the schedule varies depending on hemisphere.
In the games
In Wild World, City Folk, and New Leaf
Each entry is rated in points according to size, rarity, and color/luster. Rarity is the only scale which is invariable; the other categories may vary even among insects of the same species. This means that a low-rarity insect which is especially large and colorful/lustrous may score higher than an unexceptional specimen of a rarer type. An insect's color/luster cannot be determined until after Nat has examined it, making it difficult to tell how many points any given insect may score, excepting its rarity.
During the day of the competition, each time a player gives a bug that achieves a new high score, they receive a gift from Nat. In New Leaf, Nat gives the player an item from the Insect Series every time a new high score is set. At the end of the competition, the winner of the Bug-Off receives a mention on the Bulletin Board as well as a trophy through the mail. New Leaf winners stand on a podium at the end of the competition.
The Bug-Off is the counterpart to the Fishing Tourney, which runs during the other eight months of the year. Unfortunately, the largest fish come out during the summer, so a keen fisher must keep their fish in their home until October to gain an advantage for the Autumn competition. However, the Bug-Off is different from the Fishing Tourney, due to there being only one type of competition - bugs are caught according the color, rarity, luster and size - nothing else, unlike the Tourney, which has two competitions - size and type.
In New Horizons
While Flick is present on the island, he will also buy any bugs that the player wants to sell, and craft models of specific bugs if the player can provide him with 3 of that bug in exchange.
- The only game to award trophies for second and third place is New Leaf. Earlier games in the series only awarded trophies for first place.
- Handing over the same insect twice does not produce the same results, meaning the same insect may be able to overwrite an already existing entry.
- During the Bug-Off, Tom Nook will announce over the PA system 'Your attention please, today is the bug off, try to get lots of good ones, thank you'.
- In New Leaf, if the player is not present when the Bug-Off ends, the award ceremony will be cancelled, and an envelope with the bug trophy in it will come in on the next day if the player scored in 3rd, 2nd, or 1st place.
- On rare occasion, the Summer Solstice will be on the same day as the Bug-Off. If this happens, both events will continue as normal, with slightly different dialogue and Isabelle will be standing in front of the Town Hall instead of the Plaza. The standee will also appear, with the tent for the Bug Off and Nat next to it. However, dialogue for villagers will be for the Bug-Off until 6 pm.
- All villagers outside will be carrying a net. If a bug is nearby, they will freeze and sneak towards the bug. Once close enough or the bug pauses, they will swing their net to attempt a catch.If they miss, they will react disappointed, much like when a villagers shakes an empty tree