Spider Farming Is No Fun

Sarah Zhang

Spider Farming Is No Fun. Make Yeast Do the Work

spider

 A Blue Mountains funnel-web spider (Hadronyche versuta) in New South Wales, Australia.Robert Valentic/Minden Pictures

Spiders are not the easiest creatures to farm. Sure, you have the occasional tourist stop silk farm or pet spider breeder, but farming spiders—especially venomous web-building ones—on an industrial scale like chickens? Nope.

OK, you might ask, what could you possibly want to do with so many venomous spiders that is not nefarious? Spider venom is actually chock full of different proteins—some of which can, yes, kill you, but others that can be turned into drugs or insecticides. In other words, spider venom is damn useful. But milking a spider gets you only a thousandth or a hundredth of a milliliter of the stuff. The problem is getting enough of it. Read more.