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How To Be A Good Host
December 14, 2007 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Bot flies are large, stout bodied, hairy flies that resemble bumblebees. But how they reproduce is what makes them interesting: 1) An egg-laden female botfly captures a night-flying female mosquito and glues her eggs on to it. 2) When the mosquito is released and bites a victim, the host's body heat triggers an egg to hatch. 3) It falls off and burrows in. Even more interesting is that sometimes, this happens on humans! [YouTube/NSFSqueamish] And on humans sometimes, this happens in the most inconvenient [pdf] of places.
posted by humannaire (59 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
See? "Torsalo" is a much better band name, and their first album could be Bi Furious. Just sayin'.
posted by hermitosis at 7:57 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


No no no. I'm not going to look at this right before bed.
posted by itchylick at 7:57 PM on December 14, 2007


This one is really good, too.
posted by humannaire at 7:59 PM on December 14, 2007


Ah damn it, I looked. Did that guy really subject himself to become a bot fly host? Good god man.
posted by itchylick at 8:00 PM on December 14, 2007


I know that should have grossed me out beyond belief, but it was actually really satisfying to watch the inch-long larvae be extracted. Could just be my trichotillomania and delusional parasitosis talking.

And the people were all so cheerful and supportive! Almost made me wish I was there in person!
posted by hermitosis at 8:03 PM on December 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


The last two links took me to (inconvenient) a dud site and (places) a pay-per-view. Other than that, nice post. That should keep me in the screamin' mimi's until Christmas dinner. My diet thanks you.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:05 PM on December 14, 2007


Damn, humannaire, that shit is... whoa. Yikes!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:08 PM on December 14, 2007


If you liked that, check this one out.

BRAINS!
posted by humannaire at 8:08 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes! Metafilter wins!
posted by OrangeDrink at 8:17 PM on December 14, 2007


A friend from Brazil once had three bot fly infections from a trip to Brazil to visit his grandparents. He didn't know what they were at first, since the college health clinic just thought they were infected mosquito bites, but once he found out, his grandparents told him of they way they deal with them.

First you put butter on the opening, which makes them poke out a little to breath. Then you chew some loose tobacco and then stick on the opening. Supposedly the larva gets a little drugged by the tobacco and becomes easier to pull out. After you give a few minutes, you take some tweezers, grab the little end of the larva that is sticking out, and pull slowly.

I got to extract two of them from his shoulder (after another friend pulled one out and then freaked out and couldn't continue). Ah, good times...
posted by recursion at 8:19 PM on December 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


Insert joke about the Ron Paul Botfly here.
posted by XMLicious at 8:24 PM on December 14, 2007


Note:
As of August 18th, 2007, this website has become the Number One site in the world for information regarding Human Botflys. Because of this, we have overrun our Bandwidth Quota, which in turn costs us extra money. We want to continue to keep this site updated with all the new stories, etc. So, our only choice has been to request a small fee of $1.79 to help us keep the site up. So, to continue reading about this incredible story along with dozens of other actual Botfly accounts, and hear the Official Botfly Song, read the humorous poem, and view more Bot pics, please click on the Buy Now icon below. You will be directed to the Paypal system (the most secure in the world).


The bad news: It may not be the Number One site regarding Human Botflys if you spell Botflies correctly.

PayPal: Botfly of the internets.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:25 PM on December 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


I have an entomologist friend who has deliberately let botfly larvae burrow into the skin on his arm. So he could study the process, y'see.
He called it a rite of passage for all entomologists.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2007


I will not click.
I will not click.
I will not ---

Oh. My. God.
posted by gummi at 8:29 PM on December 14, 2007


Why should I have to register with YouTube, to verify that I am over 18, to view a BOTFLY VIDEO?!!?
posted by yhbc at 8:33 PM on December 14, 2007


One site says my I'm not accepting cookies (like I would EVER not accept a cookie), the other wants to hit me up for $1.79.

Parasites.
posted by bigskyguy at 8:36 PM on December 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


his grandparents told him of they way they deal with them.

Drugging the larva! Drugging the larva!
Plucking it out! Plucking it out!
Drugging the larva! Drugging the larva!
That's what it's about! That's what it's about!






What? Y'all don't remember that song? It was a number one hit in Uruguay in 1972.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:00 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


No no no. I'm not going to look at this right before bed.

Me neither. Actually, humannaire lost my click at "large, stout bodied, and hairy".
posted by hal9k at 9:17 PM on December 14, 2007


DO NOT WANT
posted by mullingitover at 9:18 PM on December 14, 2007


So, how much global warming will it take to bring this to my neighborhood?
posted by Iron Rat at 9:22 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just clicked away from the video, screaming like a little girl. Humannaire you horrible little man. My arse puckered so hard I'm stuck to my office chair.
posted by illiad at 9:37 PM on December 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, cute little bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, la la la, i can't hear you, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies.
posted by stavrogin at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Humannaire you horrible little man.

FYI, I'm 6'5".
posted by humannaire at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2007


That's a lot of bastard packed into 6'5".
posted by stavrogin at 9:40 PM on December 14, 2007 [11 favorites]


[blush]
posted by humannaire at 9:48 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


GROSS.
posted by WaterSprite at 9:49 PM on December 14, 2007


I know that should have grossed me out beyond belief, but it was actually really satisfying to watch the inch-long larvae be extracted. Could just be my trichotillomania and delusional parasitosis talking.

You're not the only one that had that reaction. I'm sitting there watching it and thinking, "Cool, I kind of want one! They look fun to remove!"
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2007


Looks less painful than removing a human...
posted by rhizome23 at 10:09 PM on December 14, 2007


Having seen this once before, on Discovery Channel of all places, I have no need to view it again. Though... this did remind me why I spent 30 minutes in rapt attention as an elderly married couple (both entomologists) described their experience with the Botfly. Freaky...
posted by Sam.Burdick at 10:10 PM on December 14, 2007


The human botfly, winner of the Schoepenhauer Award
posted by geos at 10:12 PM on December 14, 2007


it was actually really satisfying to watch the inch-long larvae be extracted.

Agreed. That and pimple popping.
If I could get a job lancing and/or extracting disgusting crap, I'd sign up in heartbeat, though I'd probably soon run out of clients after gaining notoriety as "That Creepy Guy Who Always Says 'Coooooooool.'"

Commentor's remorse in 3... 2... 1... *Clicks Post Comment*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:12 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is something I didn't need to know, and definitely didn't want to see, so...thanks!
posted by brain cloud at 10:33 PM on December 14, 2007


Oh right. That's what vomit tastes like.

Thanks humannaire, I forgot.
posted by Alex404 at 11:30 PM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Having seen this once before, on Discovery Channel of all places, I have no need to view it again. Though... this did remind me why I spent 30 minutes in rapt attention as an elderly married couple (both entomologists) described their experience with the Botfly. Freaky...

I, too, remember this. The wife had one in her forearm. They were so clinical. It was a bit odd to see this elderly woman yank this...thing...out of her arm. And to think they did it with a sugar cube tong during high tea.... So stoic, the Brits.
posted by bigskyguy at 11:33 PM on December 14, 2007


I had a buddy who came back from a trip to Belize with a botfly in his scrotum. He was stoned when he squeezed it out, which helped with the horror.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:13 AM on December 15, 2007


I bet it feels good to get that out of there. I want one just to see how good it feels to get rid of it.
posted by wsg at 1:57 AM on December 15, 2007


Fascinating post. I feel badly about responding to it by cowering in a corner and weeping and clawing at my arms. I feel that something more articulate is required. And yet ...

Agghhooggah humma hummma yeeeeeehooowa claw claw claw.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:14 AM on December 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Agghhooggah humma hummma yeeeeeehooowa claw claw claw.

Yeah. That's about right.
posted by cmyk at 4:21 AM on December 15, 2007


NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:42 AM on December 15, 2007


... with a botfly in his scrotum. He was stoned when he squeezed it out, which helped with the horror.

Turns out it wasn't a botfly and now we just call him lefty.
posted by itchylick at 6:30 AM on December 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Mmmmm tasty
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 7:04 AM on December 15, 2007


This PDF (registration required, sorry) is a case report of someone with a botfly larvae in the head of his penis.
posted by c0nsumer at 7:36 AM on December 15, 2007


Quickly googles Florida and botfly.
posted by notreally at 7:41 AM on December 15, 2007


Oh shit
posted by notreally at 7:46 AM on December 15, 2007


the tony green orchestra song andy's maggot is about this. if you like this post, you'll love the song!
posted by snofoam at 8:21 AM on December 15, 2007


Hey cool!! I also saw Arenal, in fact my little casa in el INVU do Penas Blancas had a lovely view of it, 20 or so km in the distance. And I saw a sloth!! But I didn't get a botfly egg in my scrotum.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2007


Not to belabor the point, but if you 'feel relief' upon seeing them removed, this is interesting. It tickles?
Complete with beautiful doctor bonus.
posted by dawson at 9:13 AM on December 15, 2007


Erm... wrong vid, maybe this will work.
posted by dawson at 9:17 AM on December 15, 2007


I saw the one in the head on a British tv show... not quite so ominous voice-over, but there was also some scene of the woman's little kid talking to 'mummy's maggot'... ahhhh or arggghh! depending on your viewpoint.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:52 AM on December 15, 2007


Was infected by a botfly 5 years ago while surfing in Costa Rica.

Back home, I had to see a specialist in tropical diseases to have it diagnosed and was immediatly given medication. I happily did not have to go through any larva developpment, however to this day I still have a scar on my foot.
posted by jek at 9:52 AM on December 15, 2007


I'm with the legions who are not clicking through...but even without it, I must now go shower. Yeeeech!
posted by dejah420 at 11:46 AM on December 15, 2007


I'm going to start a Metafilter diet. By tagging all the pop-that-zit and infected-host-type video links, I bet I lose 10 lbs. before Valentine's.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:00 PM on December 15, 2007


What's the story with that YouTube video? Because that's apparently a bunch of Canadian grad students in a field camp that looks like it's up in the Arctic, yet this is a tropical affliction?

Definitely freaky - kudos to the dude for being so cool about it.
I had a nightmare, 10 or 15 years ago but that I still remember vividly, of something just like this, except it was in my thigh, and if you tried to pull it out you would *die*.
posted by Flashman at 12:10 PM on December 15, 2007


Was infected by a botfly 5 years ago while surfing in Costa Rica.

Jek, I assume that was on the Pacific side... or was it? The rainier Caribbean coast seems to be home to more exotic insects, assuming you're not fool enough to go down into the Darien in which case all bets are off.

It's a little unnerving how the links claim infestations are very rare, but so many people seem to have stories... at least two here on MF so far. I usually only get bit by sand flies, I never imagined mosquitoes could carry some of these things...

I go to Panama fairly regularly, but visit jungle areas infrequently or for just a couple of hours at a time. I'm not happy to know the beach areas are also sources of these critters!

I'm also not a big fan of bug sprays, but now it's DEET, DEET, DEET baby.
posted by crowman at 12:21 PM on December 15, 2007


Very cool. I remember hearing a story about someone who had a warble fly larva, a parasite of cattle, infect the back of his neck. They're normally laid on the back of large hairy mammals, and are geotactic (burrow toward the ground). This one burrowed all the way down to the middle of his back before he got treatment. Sorry I couldn't find any gruesome videos...
posted by sneebler at 3:27 PM on December 15, 2007


I refuse to sign in to YouTube but if this is the video I think it is, it's my friend (he's a biology student who works in the Arctic and went on vacation to South America). I think he's enjoying his infamy and I'm going to send him this link.
posted by hydrobatidae at 6:34 PM on December 15, 2007


I wonder why there isn't some sort of standardized treatment for this - something along the lines of the cream that they give people suffering from Scabies. There's a hole directly to the larva - why isn't there something that you can squirt/inject into the hole? Why not some sort of treated bandaid that can be put over the site?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:08 AM on December 16, 2007


Once they've got big and fat the standard treatment is to kill them via suffocation (hence the Vaseline in the 'one in the head' video and presumably the duct tape in the main one) then pull then out. You don't want them left in there to rot, presumably that's the easiest way to get them out.
I assume there's some other treatment if you find out about them early enough.
Oh and I've never leaving the house now, never mind going to south/central America.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:05 AM on December 16, 2007


I was infested with a number of these things during my days in Peru. Duct tape works; tobacco juice also works to kill them. These are the sorts of experiences we should all have; it builds character and makes us humble.

Squeezing them out like a pimple is a bad idea. It crushes them and then they rot inside of you. I have one in a small bottle of alcohol on my filing cabinet next to my round worm… They work to keep people out of my office…
posted by ALvard at 11:42 AM on December 16, 2007


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