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Bot Fly Removal
July 14, 2009

This video shows a man in Panama who was bit by a mosquito that was host to bot fly eggs, which then hatched under his skin. Be careful! If you are squeamish, this is pretty disgusting!

The human bot fly (also known as the American warble fly, pictured at right) is a fly species that can infest humans with its larvae (maggots). The resulting condition, myiasis, occurs when the larva, which remain in your skin for up to 10 weeks, grow and produce painful boils.

The human botfly, Dermatobia hominis, is the only species of botfly that attacks humans

Human bot flies have a unique connection to mosquitoes, because they use them to spread their eggs. A femail bot fly will actually capture a mosquito then “glue” 10 to 50 of her eggs to the underside of the mosquito’s abdomen. When the infected mosquito then bites a human, the person’s body heat causes the eggs to hatch into a tiny larva.

The larva will then enter your skin either through the mosquito bite, an abrasion, a hair follicle or even directly through your intact skin.

What Happens When the Bot Fly Larva Enter Your Skin?

Bot fly larva has hooks on its mouth and rings of spines encircling its body. It uses these to burrow into your skin, leaving its back end near the surface so it can breathe. It will remain there feeding on your tissue until it grows larger for six to 10 weeks.

As the larva grow you may have shooting pain and itching near the wound, which will continually discharge blood or serum (because the larva keeps the wound open so it can breathe).

Eventually, the larva will drop from your skin and burrow into the ground, to emerge four to 11 weeks later as an adult bot fly.

Adult bot flies sole purpose is to mate and lay eggs on another transport host. The entire cycle takes only a few days, and the adult bot fly then dies.

Human bot flies are common in Central and South America as well as Mexico. It’s not uncommon for American travelers to pick up bot fly larva while vacationing in these areas.

How Can a Bot Fly Infestation be Treated?

Although you can simply wait until the larva develops and emerges from your skin naturally, most people choose to remove the larva as soon as possible. Doing this involves cutting off the larva’s air supply by spreading a thick layer of petroleum jelly, beeswax, bacon fat or chewing gum to the wound opening. Adhesive duct tape is also sometimes used (as was the case in the above video).

Within 24 hours after the air supply is cut off, the larva will begin to emerge enough to be pulled out with tweezers or forceps. After it is removed the wound should be cleaned and disinfected.

Wanna See Some Even More Disgusting?

So, if you were able to handle that video...imagine seeing the removal of the same bot fly larvae from a woman's breast! Yes, it happens, and here is something that even made Toneman wince...

Bot Fly Larvae Removal From a Woman's Breast (1.6 MB WMV)

Ouch!!! It is the second tweezer-probe after the head of the second little larvae retreats, and the health admin with the tweezers goes in to retrieve it...Yowza!!!!

I jump out of my seat every time I see that...


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