Ant Island is a colony of ants led by the Queen and her daughter, Princess Atta. Every season, they are forced to give food to a swarm of marauding locusts (identified as grasshoppers) led by Hopper. One day, when Flik, an individualist and would-be inventor, inadvertently knocks the offering into a stream with his latest invention, a grain harvesting device, Hopper furiously demands twice as much food by the end of the season as compensation. As Flik stands on trial before the colony's council, he volunteers in earnest to seek help from other stronger bugs to defend the colony from the grasshoppers. The council, while viewing this venture as a wild goose chase, see Flik's long-term absence as an opportunity to fulfill Hopper's demand without interruption, and thus grant his request. At the "bug city", which is a heap of trash under a trailer, Flik happens upon the aftermath of a barfight and mistakes a recently-fired troupe of Circus Bugs for the warrior bugs he seeks. The bugs, in turn, mistake Flik for a talent agent, and accept his offer to travel with him back to Ant Island.