This could be bad

Day 1 of the Hungering

I miscalculated. Now I’m getting a little panicky.

I have a large number of young spiders growing in my incubators. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed I was running through my fly supply faster than I anticipated, because I have so many young’uns to feed, so I doubled the number of fly bottles I set up. Then, last week, the fly cultures were all used up. I was calm, I had many bottles that were primed to spawn thousands of flies. I went in today expecting I’d be able to sate the spiderlings savage hunger, and…

They weren’t ready. My lab has been unpleasantly chilly — an unfortunate and common consequence of the vagaries of the temperature regulation in this building — which I think slowed them down. I was unable to feed them! The few flies I had left I used to set up some more fly bottles.

I think this is the opening of a classic horror story. Mad scientist creates an army of monsters; fails to keep them supplied; they rise up in fury and destroy their master. If anyone finds my dessicated, bloodless body suspended in a meshwork of cobwebs in the next few days, this is a clue to what happened.

As long as I still live, I will continue to relate the story in epistolary blog posts.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    A mismatch of cycles : on the big Swedish island Öland, there was a mass die-off of young moose calves this spring. A disease was suspected.
    An investigation showed the spring was coming too early. When calves are born the moose normally have plenty of young shoots to eat, now the vegetation cycle had advanced too far to support the production of large amounts of milk.
    Climate change strikes again.
    Also, Mano Singham’s blog says USA passed the 700,000 COVID dead mark Friday.

  2. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin claims you haven’t been negotiating with the flys’s union, FFS.
    Food For Spiders is therefore, whilst not on strike, working-to-temperature.

  3. says

    Maybe if you made a small net and started chasing flies?

    Too bad the mosquito population in Minnesota will have dropped by now, or you could get a student to sit still near a lake and vacuum the damn things up.

  4. davidc1 says

    See ,I always knewed he was a Mad Scientist ,now he has admitted it .
    Why don’t you let them nom on each other ,survival of the fittest ,and all that kind of stuff .

    OT ,but over here in GB ,a petrol station on Sloane Avenue SW1 London was charging £2.58 a Litre for petrol .
    I know that is a well heeled area ,but that’s around £12 a Gallon ,and they ran out of petrol .

  5. kestrel says

    The idea of spiders eating mosquitoes (re: post #3) is absolutely glorious. May it happen soon, and often.

    I suppose mealworms are way too big? It must be disturbing that you are having a hard time feeding the younglings you have raised.

  6. PaulBC says

    When does the heavily fictionalized life of PZ Myers come out on Netflix? It would be a lot better than most of their offerings. Though I’m disappointed. Renfield never made such a logistical blunder.

  7. unclefrogy says

    if the uneven temperature is causing problems with feeding the spiders could you rig-up some kind of controlled environment for the fly culture independent of the building. Maybe out of some of your old fish take equipment if any of it is still around and serviceable.
    I am always making do. Right now I an fitting surplus apple power supply to serve as an led driver replacement for one that died last night. some times I think that the fun part is all the juggling that seems to always be required to get anything done.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    If the spiders can sense the helminths and other creepy-crawlies inside humans they will have an extra incentive for culinary experimentation.
    They might ignore the mammal flesh and just gnaw their way to the conveniently sized tidbits.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Grab some scrap wood and screen, bang together a bunch of fly traps, hang them all over campus until you have enough to feed your little arachnidal darlings. Surely the campus cafeteria can provide all the rotten meat necessary – if not, disassemble a “Morris Northstar” distributor or staffer as available.

  10. sprocket says

    I never though the day would come that I’d be worried for the health of spiders. Yet here I am.

  11. komarov says

    Before the Creature(s) (TM) start feasting on their creator, the creator often turns to alternative food sources such as lab assistants or villagers. As a professor you should have a virtuallylimitless supply of lab assistants, a.k.a. students. I probably don’t need to point out, but will anyway, that once you start doing this you’re practically doomed to being bested by one of your students and ending up in the feeding tank yourself. So you’d only be delaying the inevitable. On the other hand, you would be delaying it. Under the circumstances, one might argue you have a moral imperative – for science!