The last thing we needed was another bug catching toy, especially as my sons usually just scoop them up in their hands, but when Amazon offered this as an add on deal at £3.83 I decided to give it a shot. There isn't much to this. It is a pretty good sized ( roughly 12" ) plastic wasp. It has a hollow head ( not unlike myself at the moment ) and a small clear plastic door that opens and closes underneath. You open the door using a small lever, place it over the bug and close the door. The yellow pinchers to the front open and close as if scooping the bug in. Once inside you can observe the bug for a few minutes inside this toy - or transfer it to another container.
My sons love this toy, although it doesn't get used much for catching bugs. My youngest will fly it about and has a great deal of fun with it. If we play hide and seek with plastic bugs in the house, this is grand for scooping them up. With real bugs though, it does have its limitations. The first is that it will only work on a flat surface. If you have a bee buzzing around on a window, or a large beetle running across flat open ground this is fine. It does take some getting used to though and took my sons 10 minutes to catch a poor spider scuttling around near my computer while my husband kept wanting to just smash it as he was afraid it might get away. The plastic door is quite thin, and if you forget to open it and snap it down too hard it could break, but children should be taught to place this carefully over the insect - we don't want to injure anything. That leads me to my final fault with this toy: If you are not careful, you could nip off a leg or other small body part when closing the door. I have taught my sons to close the door slowly and carefully and to lift the Bug Biter up and tilt downwards before closing it all the way.
Of course I do realise not everyone really cares if an insect gets chopped in two, and it may sound a bit hypocritical considering the fact that I feed insects to my salamanders and carnivorous plants, but I do feel children should be taught never to harm anything unnecessarily. Yes, we may have to kill some insects that become a pest. I don't think anyone is going to argue for the preservation of fleas or head lice. I do regard insects as natures cafeteria for many other creatures as well. They are meant to be eaten as far as I am concerned, and I'd rather have a fly being digested by my plants than sitting on my child's dinner. But I don't think we should cause unnecessary suffering, or harm anything that isn't harming us, beyond feeding pets that require an insect diet. I do feel this toy is bound to harm some insects without careful adult supervision, and the majority of adults will likely never even think of it harming a bug, so it does lose one star for this.
I also feel this toy is slightly overpriced at the current price of £10.16. This was nearly £15 when my son first spotted it though. At £ 3.83 this toy is brilliant, considering current pricing I would bring my rating down to three stars. My sons however both feel this deserves five stars, and I do feel the children's opinion counts more than an adult's with a child's item. My sons like the to look through the eyes of The bug biter which are shaped as compound eyes like many insects have. They like the way pinchers move forwards as if the wasp is eating the insect and they like being able to hold it up and view the insect from underneath as well. My youngest also enjoys playing with this as just an ordinary toy. It can attack Action Man on a jungle adventure, or join forces with heavily armed dinosaurs to fend off a zombie attack. If it carries bouncy balls in the bug viewing compartment, it can drop bombs on enemy forces as well, or carry supplies to besieged troops. It is a toy that can be used in more than one way, and I do feel it encourages imagination. Apart from the plastic door, I do feel this is sturdy and well made, and I would expect to get years of use from it. Considering the amount of fun my son has had with, I have to admit that even if I had paid full price, I wouldn't be able to begrudge it too much.
If you simply want a device to catch bugs, I do feel the Bug Vacuum or a simple bug net both are better choices. Both are easier to use, and safer for the insect. However, if your child wants to play with this as role playing toy as well, with action figures, or other toys, this may well be worth buying. You are paying for the fact that it has such a cute design, but sometimes cute is worth paying for.