- “Circus bugs?! How can you be circus bugs?!”
- ―Flik, finding out that the warrior bugs aren't who he thought they were
The Circus Bugs are a group of bugs who are trained to be circus performers, but mistaken as warrior bugs by Flik in the film A Bug's Life.
Flik first sees them in the city after they were fired by P.T. Flea, when his "Flaming Death" act went wrong, doing a Robin Hood act, believing them to be warriors, and they believe him to be a talent scout, and he convinces them to come to Ant Island to help him deal with the grasshoppers. Shortly after arriving, Flik and the circus troupe discover their misunderstandings; Flik is horrified that he brought a circus troupe, and the circus bugs are upset that Flik didn't tell them that they were actually going to be combatting grasshoppers. As they attempt to leave, with Flik attempting to stop them, they stumble upon a bird's nest, and they, along with Dot, are attacked by the mother bird. Francis manages to save Dot from falling to her death, but they end up trapped in the riverbed. Flik and the others work together to save them both. After hearing that even Hopper fears birds, Flik proposes creating a model bird to scare him and his gang, with the circus troupe taking credit for the idea.
Later, P.T. comes to Ant Island looking for his troupe, and inadverently reveals the truth about them. The Queen and Princess Atta banish them from the island, along with Flik as punishment for lying to the colony, however this was a fatal mistake; they put themselves in danger. When Hopper and his gang return and take over the island, Dot eavesdrops on a couple of grasshoppers discussing Hopper's plan to squish the Queen in order to discourage opposition from the ants and follows Flik and the troupe to tell them about the dire situation. Flik is still ashamed of himself for being a screw-up all the time, but some encouragement from Dot and the troupe makes him feel better and motivated to return and stop Hopper. The circus bugs present themselves to Hopper, claiming that Princess Atta invited them as a surprise for his arrival; Hopper initally orders his gang to kill them, but after seeing Tuck and Roll fight, he decides they can use a little entertainment and spares their lives. The circus bugs continue their show until Manny takes the Queen for a magic trick, making Hopper demand to know where she is. At that moment, Flik and the blueberries launch the fake bird they constructed to scare the grasshoppers; it works, until P.T. sets it on fire and ends up aiding Hopper and his gang in the process.
After seeing Thumper beat up Flik and hearing Hopper insult the colony and his troupe, P.T. realizes his mistake and assists the ants in driving out the grasshoppers, resulting in all the grasshoppers, except Hopper, his younger brother Molt, and Thumper (until Dim and Dot scare him off), fleeing and Hopper getting killed by the real bird, putting his reign of terror and insult on the ant colony and troupe to an end and indicating that he, not the colony and the troupe, was the real mindless soil shoving loser. Following Hopper's defeat, P.T. reforms, becoming less greedy and more kind-hearted, and he and his troupe spend the winter on Ant Island (as it would be impossible for them to go anywhere in the rain and snow) before returning to the circus in the spring after a brief celebration, bringing Molt (now called "Tiny" and working as a strongman) and a group of acrobatic ants with them, while promising to come back in the future and receiving a fond farewell from the colony.
- Princess Atta: "You mean you're not warriors?"
P.T. Flea: "Are you kidding? These guys are the lousiest circus bugs you've ever seen, and they're gonna make me rich!"
Thorny: "Do you mean to tell me that our entire defensive strategy was concocted by clowns?!"
- —The circus bugs' secret is revealed
The circus bugs consist of:
- P.T. Flea: Ringmaster
- Francis: Clown
- Slim: Clown
- Heimlich: Clown
- Dim: "Lion/Ferocious Beast"
- Rosie: "Lion-Tamer"
- Tuck and Roll: "Human" cannonballs
- Manny: Magician
- Gypsy: Manny's Lovely Assistant
- Molt ("Tiny"): Strongman
- Ants (about 8): Acrobats
- Fireflies: Lighting, Snacks, Setup
- Spider: Musician
- Millipedes: Travel
- The circus bugs made a cameo appearance as circus cars during the end credits of Cars.