I’m guilty of this myself, but there’s something about bugs being used as obstacles and monsters that goes through the ages. Flesh-eating beetles, giant spiders, worms of various terrains, so many flies, and other creepy crawlies simply litter fiction. You have them on other planets and invading Earth. Not all of them are alien in nature since humans have been responsible for some. The list of origins and creatures are so vast that you’ll inevitably miss a lot.
I have to wonder why we gravitate so much towards bugs as threats. At first, I thought it was our aversion to slimy things, but not everybody has that. On the other hand, we could focus on the fact that humans are animals and we all have instincts. Those habits that are locked into our nature can hold some clue. Specifically, a fear of getting stung and swarmed. I’ve been bitten by ants and leaped on by spiders, which sent me flailing about like an idiot. Then there are times flies get into the house and drive me nuts by buzzing into my face when the lights are off. Don’t even get me started on mosquitoes that seem to hit both issues.
The probably stems from phobias and bugs, specifically spiders and yes I know they’re arachnids, tend to be the big ones. Snakes are pretty common threats too, but I think bugs take the championship. If you consider that every monster stems from a primal fear then I guess it makes sense. Keep imagining what ancient man would think if they came across a pit of worms after a rainstorm or were chased by a swarm of locusts. It would have been unnerving, especially if you were barefoot on that first one. Not to mention the fear that would happen after a person was bitten and died. I doubt anyone knew right off the bat that some bugs could kill a human, so there would be a lot of ideas in regards to what happened.
The more I write about this, the more I wonder if this is a personal preference. I used to gather bugs in a pail with dirt when I was a kid. Mostly pill bugs, snails, centipedes, millipedes and ants. Tried earthworms for a bit, but they weren’t very interesting to watch. Flying bugs were out of the question since the most common ones were wasps and gnats. Don’t even get me started on my attempts to catch spiders, which usually resulted in me getting jumped on. Fed them ants though because I had a fascination with watching them hunt. Not a big fan of spiders these days, but their love of getting on my face might have something to do with that. Anyway, I wonder if this early interest is why I gravitate toward bugs when making monsters and other threats. That doesn’t explain why they show up in other people’s fictions though.
I’m going to open up the floor and see what people think. Why do you think bugs are so common in fiction when it comes to threats?