I was flipping through the channels this week, and I stopped the guide to look at Discovery Channel, one of the greatest television networks in the world. Their programming for the night showed a one hour show listed over and over. I Was Bitten.
This particular episode was about the Botfly, an insect whose larvae live as parasites in mammals. There is one Botfly that uses humans as the host. The flies catch mosquitoes, hold them down, and attach their eggs to them. When the mosquitoes bite their hosts they deposit the eggs and the larvae use the bite as an entry point into the skin. These guys are native to Central America, including my next vacation spot Costa Rica. I had been keeping this to myself so I wouldn’t frighten my fellow travelers, but I think letting them find out via my website is also good.
Inside the subcutaneous tissue, the larvae develops feeding on your flesh. Bugs feed on us all time. That wouldn’t be so bad, except this little bastard has tiny hooks all over its body. While they don’t do any permanent harm, they hurt and are overall disgusting.
The larvae need air to breathe so covering up the wound with a lay of Vaseline. The larvae will be weakened by the lack of air and poke its head through the Vaseline. That’s when you grab it with a pair of tweezers and pull it out. Meanwhile it’s pulling backwards using those litle hooks. If you’re not too squeamish, check out this video of a guy having them removed from his back.
I already told one of my friends going on the trip with me. His response. “If it happens, it happens.”