Beetles are finally in season in Animal Crossing: New Horizons! There are 15 beetles that can be caught and they vary in rarity. The rarer beetles are renowned for how skittish they are, as they fly away at any sign of movement. This can be quite frustrating, since it takes so long to find rare beetles.
So why bother catching beetles if they are so skittish? Well, other than for your Critterpedia and the Museum, many of the rare beetles sell up to 10,000 and even 12,000 bells each! If that is not enough, you can sell them to Flick for up to 18,000 bells. Beetles are a great source of bells.
But how can you catch them?
Step 1: Preparation
First plant as many coconut trees as you can on your island and wait for them to grow up. If you already have a lot of coconut trees, then great, you are ahead of the game. The reason you need coconut trees is because most of the beetles only spawn on coconut trees. These trees are the one tree all beetles can spawn on.
Next you will want to get some Nook Miles Tickets for this strategy. One should do, but you can get more if you want to re-roll your islands. It does not really matter which island you get for this strategy; that said, flat land with no ponds or rivers is the most ideal since you will not have to deal with Giant Water Bugs.
Once you have your Nook Miles Ticket, gather some fruit and eat ten of them if possible. Now you are going to dig up your coconut trees. You can bring as many as you want, but I suggest bringing 17 trees since there are usually 3 coconut trees on mystery islands. If you place your trees correctly, you can fit 20 coconut trees on the mystery island.
Before leaving, make sure you also have a Shovel, Axe, ladder, pole, two nets, and customization kits. The purpose of these customization kits is to reset the durability of your net. You see, if you customize the net it resets all its durability, which allows you to get a lot more uses out of one net since you can stack up to 50 customization kits. Just customize your net after catching 25 bugs.
It is still not time to leave, though. You will want to go to a mystery island with your Nook Miles Ticket after 11pm. This is the perfect time for beetle hunting, because 11pm is when all their spawn times overlap. You can also avoid other annoying bugs from spawning, such as butterflies and locusts.
Once 11pm is here, you can head to a mystery island.
Step 2: Setting up the island
At the mystery island you will want to pick all flowers, cut down all the trees, dig up all the stumps, and pick up the weeds. You can dump the items in the middle of the island since you will need the beach.
Now you will want to plant all the coconut trees you brought with you. Make sure to space them out so you have clear vision of their trunks, and that you can get a good angle at the trunk with your net. These trees are no good if you cannot catch beetles off them.
For the next step you have two options. You can try to catch the beetles at night, or you can wait until morning when the sun is up to see better. The reason you can do this is because once you go to a mystery island, the spawn table for fish and bugs is locked in. So no matter what time it actually is, only the bugs that spawn at the time you visited the island will appear. Be warned that you should never save and quit on a mystery island, or you will be sent back home. Just put your Switch to sleep instead if you want to wait for morning.
Once everything is set up, you just have to walk around the island and wait for beetles to spawn. If you know for sure a beetle has spawned that you do not want to catch, feel free to scare it away. Be careful as you go across the island, because it is possible for Scorpions to spawn, and if they knock you out all your spawns reset.
The 12,000 bell beetles are the Golden Stag, Giraffe Stag, and Horned Hercules. Each is incredibly rare, even with the increased spawn rates of the island. The 10,000 bell beetles are the Scarab and Giant Stag. Then the 8,000 bell beetles are the Goliath Beetle, Cyclommatus Stag, Horned Atlas, and Horned Elephant. I bring these beetles up because they are the most skittish and because of their value, but I will tell you how to catch them every time.
Step 3: Capture
In order to capture these skittish beetles you must be slow and patient. The beetles actually give you an indicator when it is safe to move. If you look closely, you will notice the beetles wiggle left and right on the tree trunk. Some beetles move their pincers instead of their bodies, so make sure to watch this too. After moving, they will pause for a second or two. When the beetle sits still is the danger zone – it means it is watching its surroundings. Any sudden movements, even tip toeing will scare the beetle away. Once it resumes moving is when it is safe to move, as it is no longer paying attention.
As soon as you see the beetle wiggle on the trunk, tip toe slowly towards it. If you run or walk, it will still cause them to flee even if they are not in the vigilant state.
I highly recommend you start moving cautiously as soon as you see the beetle. These beetles can sense you from far away and flee the second they see you even if you are not even close to the tree.
By being patient, and inching towards them when they are moving, you can get into the position to strike. Before you know it you will be catching rare beetles left and right.
Now there are some rare beetles that look like common beetles, which is why I suggest waiting until the sun is out to catch them. It is much easier to identify beetles in the sunlight because you can see their colors and shapes much better.
Step 4: Identifying Rare Beetles from common ones
I will help you out so you know which beetles are safe to scare off and which are not. Of course, if you need a common beetle for your Museum then catch it. But these common beetles do not sell for much, so you do not want them taking up your inventory.
The two beetles that can be easily mistaken for rare beetles are the Saw Stag and Miyama Stag. These are skittish like rare beetles, but only sell for 1,000-2,000 bells.
Below I have an image of all the beetles you can scare away and what they look like. The Saw Stag has a red color to it and the Miyama Stag is brown. This coloration is near impossible to see at night. Both are also medium in size. Other beetles to scare off are the green Drone Beetles, the Blue Weevil Beetle, and the red Horned Dynastid.
The next beetle I suggest scaring off is the Rainbow Stag, but the choice is up to you because it sells for 6,000 bells. The Rainbow Stag has a unique coloration on its body making it easily identifiable. I find it to be quite a common beetle, and that is why I scare it off in favor of the 8,000+ bell beetles.
Remember to run around the island as well to scare away ground dwelling bugs such as Earth Boring Dung Beetles. If you ever reach a point where you find very few beetles are spawning, then check the beach for hermit crab shells. These hermit crabs will only run away once approached, and they take up beetle spawns. So it is important to patrol the beach as well as the inner parts of the island to get rid of bugs you do not want.
Now for the rare beetles you do not want to scare away. The Giraffe Stag is the one you can easily mistake for a Miyama Stag or Saw Stag, but there are two key differences. The Giraffe Stag has incredibly long and skinny pincers, while the Miyama Stag and Saw Stag have short stubby pincers. The Giraffe Stag is also black in color, not red or brown. This color difference is near impossible to tell at night though, since all beetles look black at night. In the sunlight the color difference is clear, although sometimes you have to look closely because brown Miyama Stags sometimes look black.
The Giant Stag is another one you can get confused with the Miyama Stag. However, it is much larger than the Miyama Stag so the size difference alone should be a giveaway. The Giant Stag is also completely black in color, giving you another hint that it is not the Miyama Stag.
The last beetle that can be hard to identify is the Golden Stag. At first glance it looks similar to the Miyama Stag. They share a similar brown color when you view them from a distance. If you take a closer look though, you will notice the Golden Stag is much lighter than the Miyama Stag, and is more of a yellow color. Another distinct feature of the Golden Stag is that its pincers are shorter than the Miyama Stag.
One last distinguishing feature is that the Golden Stag has two dots right under its head, while the Miyama Stag has none.
All the other rare beetles should be easy to spot due to their unique colors and shapes.
If you are ever having trouble identifying a beetle to decide whether or not to catch it, I have the trick for you. Stand near the area the beetle is in, but do not get close enough to scare it. Open up your Nook Phone and open the camera app. You can now zoom in on the tree the beetle is on and see the details much easier.
By using your camera, you can quickly get the hang of identifying beetles, to make catching the rare ones a breeze.
In my experience the Horned Hercules is the rarest beetle of them all, as I only manage to see one after hours of searching.
This is still a good method to farm bells, because you can quickly stock up on 8,000 – 10,000 bell beetles. If you get lucky you could find lots of Golden Stags and get the mighty 12,000 bell beetle. It is all up to you and how much time you want to spend catching beetles.
I hope this guide has helped you catch those beetles and stay tuned for more Animal Crossing: New Horizons guides!