December 3, 2003
Sounds like I have alot more company than I would have expected. I visited Belize and returned with 3 bot fly larvae. They all grew at about the same rate because they began wiggling and chewing at the same time one night. The pain kept me awake for 2 nights. The locations were swelling rapidly and very red. My hand was so swollen that I could not close my fingers. The only way I could stop the pain was to slap the places. (One on back of arm, one on back of hand and one on hip). Finally went to Dr. because I could see moving under the skin. Fortunately they knew what it was despite being in Vermont, a beautiful place that does not breed bot fly. Thank you Fletcher Allen Hospital and Univ.of Vermont Medical School. Tried using bacon but the bots liked fresh flesh rather than salted pork. Had them surgically removed. Phew. That was 2 years ago. Two weeks ago I found a deer tick in my scalp that was removed and I was treated with antibiotics to prevent Lyme Disease. I’m a 60 year old active woman who loves exploring the outdoors just about anywhere. I suppose that if you love the great outdoors, you have to love all of it.!

April 9, 2004
As I write to you from the comfort of my home in Seattle, Washington, I can feel the movement of a botfly inside my left leg. It is a botfly, I tell you. I have utter certainty that it is a botfly.  Approximately one hour ago my wife and I saw, in terror, how botfly number 1 stuck its head out of my skin, proceeding to jump out of my leg in such a surprising manner, that made my wife get on her feet in a fraction of a second. In fact, botfly number 1 is in a container sitting on my desk, next to my computer as I type. Ironically, the container we were able to find right away to place the larvae was the container of the antibiotic that the infectious disease specialist prescribed. My wife placed the remaining pills in a glass. They were handy because both glass and antibiotic were sitting on the night stand.
I call the nurse of the first hospital I went to. The answering service takes the call. Apparently the nurse is not available, but he will get a doctor. My regular doctor calls me back. She happens to be on-call. I talked to her roughly four weeks ago. I went to see her soon after I returned from my trip in Belize had been kayaking in the southern Cays. She did not sound very happy that I had called her so late at night. I remembered immediately that is the first of the three doctors that misdiagnosed the insect bite and prescribed celophaxin to get rid off the bacterial infection, and of myself at the same time. Her reaction after I described how the botfly emerged from my leg, her voice conveyed more sympathy. My unhappiness about remembering her misdiagnosis and her quick dismissing of my concerns for something more serious during my first visit (almost) vanished. I have had bacterial infections, ticks, and other tropical bugs before. I am a biologist and did field work in tropical areas. This :infection” was different. Just like the other stories, those who have botfly know it is not your usual insect bite. It hurts and bleeds unlike anything else I have ever seen. Indeed, when we came back from Belize I had many insect bites. All of them were gone two weeks after, except for the botfly snorkel.
It was vindicating to hear my doctor talk after describing the larvae. I had the bugger right in front of my eyes. It was almost satisfying to hear in return an honest and clear acceptance that she had no clue what just came out of my leg. At least now I have the living proof. She suggested to contact the Travel Clinic at the University. I had also gone there. They too missed the diagnosis. She is out of ideas. She tell me to wait until tomorrow. I did what every desperate person would do in these situations: I went online.
After reading your story on Mark’s experience with botflies, and the other stories, I have to conclude that those of us who have experienced botflies seem to want (need) to share the stories. I made the positive ID when I saw the pictures you posted. I returned to the bedroom and proudly announced to my wife: It is Dermatobia hominis. My wife called her parents right away. I resisted because of the time difference with my parents and siblings. I cannot wait to tell them tomorrow morning, after hopefully botfly number 2 (and number 3…4?) come out. I am also printing your story to share at work. Before I do that, of course, I will pay a visit to the infectious disease specialist in the morning. I have hosted these bugs long enough. He may want to see botfly number 1. I am writing late at night. Anyway, thank you for sharing the story.

I emailed and asked if it was OK to post his email…his reply.

Hi Brenda,
Yes. I would really like to have the story in your website. Can I elaborate on it a bit more? I promise to make it too long or embellish it. I would need a few hours since I am going to my doctor’s office to have them removed the other larva. I am positive it is there. I cannot bear the thought of being its host for another day. I do a travel piece on an early morning radio show. I talked about the botfly, and it was amazing how many people called in to relate other stories and ask questions about the botfly. You see, my show is in Spanish, and people from central America may be more familiar with botflies than north Americans. I grew up in Mexico City where insects are not particularly abundant, certainly not botflies. As you, I also hope the stories inform and help people and (very importantly) physicians to recognize the infestation. In retrospect, I cannot believe that my family doctor, the specialist at the University travel clinic and the infectious disease specialist of a
mayo metropolitan (hence perhaps the problem) miss diagnose the botfly. I had all the typical symptoms. All it takes I think is to listen to the patient. I wish they would emphasize that aspect of practicing medicine. Do not you think?
Thanks again. By the way, most of my colleagues at (my more real) work got very interested on the topic. The larvae is still alive (safely keep in a closed container) and they all got to see it. I was surprised my family did not move to the guest room last night. She made me put a large band-aid to cover the bite to prevent any possible escape on the partof of my host…
As I type this message to you, I can feel “something” in my left leg.
At least now I know what it is.

April 12, 2004
Hello Brenda,
I am currently traveling in Peru and have been at your website just about everyday for the past week. I have been infested with a botfly from the Amazon of northern Bolivia. I was in the jungle about three weeks ago and after leaving, the boil formed with the sharp pains and fluids excreting from the hole. I went to a doctor in Cusco, Peru who gave me a bunch of antibiotics that didn’t work. While hiking the Inca Trail to MachuPichu, one of our porters had lived in the jungle of Peru and identified the boil as Sututu, the name of the parasite in the native dialect. He applied tar from tobacco for two consecutive days and the final night he pulled out something that he said was it along with some pus.
I was grateful and the thing began to heal, but not completely. It kept on itching and after a couple days I applied a glob of antibiotic ointment and left it tightly covered for a day. I uncovered it that night and slept. The hole had scabbed over. The next morning it was really itching and I ran to the bathroom to pull off the scab to find more pus and a thing emerge that looked like the pictures on your site. I saved it but it dried up. I also don’t know if it was the whole thing. Anyways, with the boil and hole back in place, I believe that there is another one in there. It has been itching and stinging from time to time, but with all of my efforts to suffocate it, nothing has emerged. The boil is significantly smaller than it ever was, but I’m not convinced that its out of there. I feel part of the bug may have remained inside and it is not healing because it is infected. I do not want to go to the hospital here in Peru because they will either inject medicine into it to kill it or cut it open. I have also thought about applying camphor oil soaked in a cotton ball. I plan to wait though and give it air to see if it heals like a normal cut or infection. If it grows I know there is one in there and alive.  Any suggestions? This thing is really annoying. Thank you for your web site. It has done more than any doctor.

My reply to Rich….
Thanks for writing. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to remove the larva’s, but if an infection occurs you should see a doctor. They say if it is not totally removed an infection will happen. Never heard from anyone before that has gotten an infection so keep me posted. Covering up the air hole with Vaseline and having a tight Band-Aid on it seems to be the most usefully way of getting them out.
Do you mind if I put your story on the website with the other?
Brenda Johnstone
His reply….

Hello Brenda,
Thanks for your response. Sure you can put my story on the web. My girlfriends mom got some good pictures so I will try to get them to you as soon as I can. Also, I did not find this information on your site, but learned from the people down here that another way to get botfly is to leave you clothes outside during the night. The fly lays eggs on the clothing and when you put them on, the eggs get on your skin. I learned this when it was too late. During the week I spent in the Bolivian Amazonian jungle, I left my clothes out to dry every night!
As for my lesion, I believe we killed the larva a week and a half ago, but one came out exactly a week ago from my arm (there could have been two). The bump has shrunken in size, but is still there. The hole has scabbed over but the thing still itches. How long do these things usually take to go away? I wonder if part of the larva is still in there or if it just takes a long time to finally heal over and go away.
Thanks again for your help.

July 11, 2004
I was in the Guyana jungle and on three occasions, got bitten by the botfly. I got all out. This started in the 80:s. anyway my last occasion was three years ago and now have a lump on my right buttock. This one died in me after I was on medication for malaria and using strong antibiotics. The result was that upon discovering the abscess created by the terminated botfly, and squeezing the sore, puss and black cartilage ejected some feet away in the bathroom. A few days later after healing somewhat a tube that was the home of the invader also dislodged. I now have a lump on my buttock, and now seeking to have it removed. This was done on one occasion in the past. I do suspect that I may have parts of the invader still in my body.
Have you ever noticed that the most dangerous or deadly living things are the smallest.

July 17, 2004
Brenda, I just arrived home to the US because I was infected with a botfly. I visited Nicaragua but had to come home early because I was no longer able to surf. It is rare to be infected here yet most of the local guys have had one or two throughout their lives. The locals tell me to wait untill it is ready (it grows to be like a huge pimple) and then to pop it. I used some of the milk from that plant and this helped to loosen up the the area. I popped it here in the presence of a doctor and now we are trying to suffocate it just in case it is still in my leg, alive. I was just wondering if there is any other advice or tips that you can give me.  I think I got it out. When it comes out does it look like a thick glob of pus? My leg feels a lot better today but I am still a little nervous. If you have some time it would be nice to hear from you and your expertise. Sincerely jtscmvp

July, 17, 2004
I’ve just read the article about Marks Human Botfly. Unfortunately I didn’t know of such a thing until an emergency room MD pulled one out of an incision She made in my ear this afternoon. I had my critter for more than five weeks! I have been suffering terribly with an ear problem since my recent trip to Belize. I took this problem with me to Tikal and brought it home to San Francisco. Shortly after returning home I just couldn’t stand the pain anymore and sought medical help. On three occasions I was mis-diagnosed and I took over 74 pills and received two shots in the buttocks at two different times. In fact my last doctor insisted the swollen lymph-nodes all around my ear, jaw and throat were a result of having a cat. I insisted something bit me in central America weeks ago but he was the doctor and he insisted in drawing blood for a “cat-scratch” test and put me on my third series of pills. I had already been crapping water and peeing some glowing orange urine that looked like nuclear wast for weeks as a result of my meds that would’nt solve this problem. I had become afraid to drive and sometimes even breathe as the pain would be unbearable. The pain would come on suddenly and be totally debilitating. This pain occurred mostly at night. That is to say it would wake me up at 2:00am, sometimes 4:00am and leave me so totaly spent I couldn’t go back to sleep.
I also endured pain a few times during every day. This went on for five weeks and some days. Then would you believe a retired visiting Doctor friend told me it was obvious that a foreign body was in my ear. I felt vindicated that someone believed me. There was something in my body that didn’t belong. The following afternoon, a Sunday, I was ready to cut off my own ear to rid myself of the excruciating pain. Somehow I called what I feel was the best local hospital and begged them to call in an ear specialist as I was about to cut off my own ear and drive to their emergency room. As the problem was deeper than I could cut into my ear I then went into to the emergency room intact. There I spoke to a young Doctor understood my plight and numbed my ear sufficiently. Then with my blessing and insistance she began to cut looking for who knew  what. She shrieked when she found a living organism and couldn’t bare to pull it out. She yelled for reinforcements and all staff came to see this larvae removed from the edge of my ear canal. She then identified it as the botfly larvae and told me to look it up on the web. I am keeping my first born larvae in alcohol to show all my other doctors!

Caesar's botfly larva removed from his ear.
Actual botfly removed from Caesar’s ear.
Caesar's botfly larva scar in his ear.
Caesar’s ear healed up nicely.

Follow up from Caesar:
Hello again Brenda,
I have forwarded your story to my travel agent who then forwarded it to Caves Branch, Belize where I was infected. Caves Branch, Belize says their statistics show one infection per 500 visitors. My agent was shocked it was never brought to her attention. As a result my agent is adding it to their awareness package to better inform would be travelers. And, Caves Branch will be adding it to an orientation seminar. I suppose we are the Ginni pigs of change. I am still a bit afraid to go to sleep at night as that is when that little bugger would surprise me most but I am getting over it quickly. My ear is healing up well.

Caesar's botfly larva close up.
Spines on Caesar’s botfly under the microscope.
Caesar's botfly larva close up.
Caesar’s botfly larva close up.
Caesar's botfly larva close up.
Look at those spines! Ouch !

February 14, 2005
You probably have had your fill of Botfly stories but I thought our story has some information in it that may really help other people who find they have a botfly larvae. The thing is that surgery isn’t needed to remove them and going to a doctor may waste time and money with no good result. We recently visited Belize . One of our group started experiencing very sharp, severe, pain on her scalp. Soon a large knot formed that kept oozing fluid – sometimes blood. She put up with this for a week or so until we were at a lodge in the jungle and she mentioned the lodge proprietor. The proprietor said, “It s a botfly, let Bernice (the cook) look at it.”  Bernice was a mid twenty year old Mayan girl. She parted the hair and wiped the area and looked at for a second then confirmed it was a botfly (or beef fly as she called it). She told us we could all see that it was alive because it would stick a little breathing tube out through the hole in the scalp to breath.
We all clustered around and, sure enough, you could see the wound pulse a little and this little spot open as the botfly larva breathed
Bernice said she could remove it.

The proprietor suggested it was better to have Bernice do it than wait until we got back home to see a doctor. She said, “The Doctors there have no idea what these are, they will try several things that won’t work. If the botfly larva doesn’t come out on its own, they may finally cut it out and leave you with big scars and big medical bills. Bernice can have it out in no time, there will be no surgery, no scar and it won’t cost a thing.” So Bernice went ahead with the removal. She smoked two cigarettes blowing in her hand after each puff until there was a good amount of tar in her hand. She dabbed a toothpick in the tar and applied the tar, using the toothpick, to the hole in our friend’s scalp which the botfly breathed through. In about twenty minutes the cigarette tar killed the botfly larvae (says something about the toxicity of cigarettes). Our friend could feel it squirming around as it was reacting to the cigarette tar so, when the squirming stopped, Bernice knew it was dead. Bernice then used her thumbs to pull the skin around the bump away from the hole. After a few minutes of this the hole was large enough that the dead larvae just popped out. Bernice told our friend to just put a band aid on the wound for the night because it was a large hole. Our friend put some antiseptic ointment on it.

Another couple at this lodge were veterinarians. They watched the whole process. Afterwards they suggested that a medically safe insecticide could probably be applied to the larva rather than the cigarette tar or that you could simply smother it by sealing the hole with something air tight – like super glue. From one of the letters on your site, it sounds like the super glue works well.
Dan Burnett

April 18, 2005
I bet you’d never stareted the whole BotFly thing.. I wonder if you can help.. My boyfriend and I are both diving instructors in Belize and he has a lump on his head that just must be a bot fly lavae…everytime he dives he’s in pain as I imagine the lavae is freaking out…but we have tried the smoke in the bottle and the vaseline method but it has not come out. We reckon he’s had it for about 3 – 4 weeks, is it too ‘young’ to be removed or should we go for the superglue and the big squeeze We are based on a desert island 32 miles off shore and visiting a doctor
isn’t an option for at least a week and I don’t think he can take the pain much longer>.
Any advice would be appreciated..
By the way, marvellous website!
Mary Gleeeson

May 9, 2005
Hey Brenda,
My partner and I went to Belize and Tikal at Easter this year. Wonderful,  9 out of 10, trip. The best place that we stayed was at Chaa Creek. Fantastic birds, great reptiles, wonderful cave trips, Maya ruins and a final fantastic week of snorkeling on Glover’s Reef. About a week after we got home, I began to have piercing, intermittant pain in my scalp. The pain feels like a hot pin sticking in your scalp. Our guide in Tikal had a bot fly larva in his head, and one of my friends, Susan, is an epidemiologist who spends a lot of time in Africa, had been afflicted with one in her nose. When i felt the wound, it seemed to have a worm-shaped object under the skin, who responded to touch. If you actually put your finger on the wound, he’d immediately scrunch down out of the opening and disappear. (This is the back of my head, so all I can do is describe the feeling.) If I touched what seemed to be his body under the surface of the skin, he’d melt away. There is pain associated with touching him…not immediately, but within a few seconds, you can feel him moving and biting. Or dragging himself and wounding you with his hooks. Sometimes, it feels as if he’s pulling hair down into the wound.
My friend Gordon, an internist, had just written a paper on Bot flies for the Sierra Club, so he looked at it. It was too early (2 weeks) for him to be positive. He said the timing was right, and there was a pin hole, but he couldn’t be certain. I went to see my GP to get her to try to excise it. By then I knew that if you touch it, it disappears, so I warned the doc. She looked at the wound through a magnifier and saw the head pulsing. She shot it full of novacaine, which made the larva flee. She removed the entire dermis around the wound, in a biopsy sample sized piece. No larva.
I went to a tropical medicine specialist the following week. She made a poitive ID on the little guy, who has been with me over 30 days now. We’ve named him Billy Bot Thornbutt. Poor child of an indigent mother who flung him to a Norte American. Sadly, the outcome for him will not be pleasant. I’m having him removed once and for all tomorrow. Just hope he has no brothers or sisters sleeping with him.
Sandy Bulman
Oakland, Ca

June 7, 2005 6;25 AM
Hi my name is Marlene and I went to Costa Rica on May 14th-21st 2005. I had a nice time and would go back I think and I say that because I just went online tonight to see what in the heck I have in my head that I could have got from that area. Well, I think after they are out I might say I would return.  I am sure I have the Bot Flys. I was at Arenal Volcano on the 19th of May. Took a trip through the rain forest just prior to the Volcano so in the right area I believe. Of course I have the usual story like so many others do. I noticed after I got home that I had several lumps on my head one at the top and 3-4 on the back of my head and a couple at the lower part of my head near my neck. I just thought Spider bites. I suffered for a while with itching and this sharp pain that is like nothing else kind of burning and hits out of no where and usually does not last long. It seems its worse at night when I lay down to sleep so not to mention I have had not very much sleep in the last 3 weeks or so.

I have never gone to a emergency room in my 59 yrs of being on this earth but a week ago on Friday I did. The swelling and the pain was just more than I could handle and a holiday week-end on top of it. I was examined by a doctor and she informed me yes it looks like a bite of some kind. Here is a antibiotic and when was your last tetnus shot? So of course I got one of those too. See your regular doctor on Tuesday.
Tuesday I go to my doctor and tell him the symptoms and my visit to the emergency room and he tells me he will give me a shot in my hip that is an anti inflamatory and proceeded to give me all of the possible side affects which I responded with just give me the shot. Then if not any better come back.
Today I am really wore out with all of this. I work at a convalescent hospital and everyone is trying to help me. I tried some old remedies like meat tenderizer, creams, trying to drain the lumps which only resulted in a discharge of light colored liquid with maybe a hint of blood from time to time. With increasing bouts of sharp burning pain.
Tonight I went to bed or tried to the minute I put my head down on the pillow it all started the most pain I ever have had and burning and on and on. I cried for several hours it would not stop. I finally came back down stairs to my computer room and tried to find anything that made sense on what this could be. I then found your web site and it was like someone had just turned on the light. I printed it out knowing that no one would believe me. Finally 1am I  notified my husband I was going to the emergency room and he got up and said I will take you.
I still had real doubts I was going to get any relief or help tonight but it was worth the try. I am sick to my stomach now and so tired I just can not go much longer with this. We arrive at the emergency room and are greeted and with the usual “what is your problem this morning”? I explained I had gone to Costa Rica and thought I had got bit by a spider or red ant. I said I came here and then to my doctor and it is worse. I said I went online to see if I could come up with anything and found this information. The nurse read it and said have you tried any of these things. No I can not see them and my husband would not do it for me not that he did not want to he just could not ever get them out.
Next comes the doctor and he looks at them. He then says I will give you another antibiotic Augmentin and a pain killer Darvocet. I can not verify that it is or is not what you say so I want you to call a Infectious Disease Specialist. Also here is a ointment for you to apply to the area’s Neosporin. He put a DX of Impetigo on my paper work. I took one of the pills there and now I am sick to my stomach and I am sure I will vomit any minute. All of this for what its not even the solution.
So, I had already made another appointment today with my regular physician and it is at 8:45 am tomorrow and I am taking all of the paper work from your web site as well as the stories of these little guys and the things that can be used to kill them. I think I will bring my own glue I think nail glue should work! I am going to tell him to use it or one of the other methods but I want them out and now right now.
Its funny when I first went to him I said can you not open these up and make sure there is nothing inside I just have felt all along that there was something inside and so I hope tomorrow I will have a happy ending to this story. Or one in site real soon. Thank you again if I had not read the story about Mark I would still be suffering I am this sure that I have the Bot Fly.
I will send you the ending I hope tomorrow. I am pushing on my head now its 4:23 am and the pain is almost unreal. There is some drainage coming out right after and I know I can feel movement. I just cannot thank you enough.
Until the ending. Best regards, Marlene

Reply to Marlene on June 7, 2005 10:30 AM
I feel sorry for you. The pain gets worse the longer they are inside. I know it must be getting unbearable if it has been 3 weeks. I hope you are able to have them removed today. Please keep me posted. If they do not surgically remove them today get your husband to put the nail glue on, then cover it with Vaseline real thick, put a tight bandage on it and wait at least 3 hours or more. This should suffocate the larva and bring it out. Make sure you get all of the larva out so you do not leave anything behind for an infection. See all the botfly photos of our website for reference. I do not think there is any sort of medication that will help, not even for pain. The pain comes & goes so unless your on I 24/7 I do not see how it could work. They tried to give some to Mark as well and he refused it. They seem to have bothered Mark the most at night as well. If the air hole was covered they must but the hook in or something. He was not sleeping either.
Glad you found our website and it was helpful for you.
Good luck.
Brenda Johnstone

June 7, 2005 2:13 PM
Hi Brenda thank you for your concern. I went to the doctor with the paper work and I told him you have two choices take time to read some of this or find someone I can go to that knows about this and now. He read on and was in shock never heard of it and here we are and he asks me how do we get them out? I handed him some of papers of people who had sent their stories to you at your web site and he read them. We decided we would start with the The Injection of Hydrogen Peroxide into each one. Well not knowing there could be more pain he did not numb it first and of course he did the first one and I fell apart and cried so he numbed all of the remaining ones and then injected the Peroxide. He tried to force one out no luck. So I am back home now my head full of Peroxide and not sure what will happen next or when.
I did not go into work today and I will try tomorrow since there are nurses there and scapels I think we will get them out if we can. I might do the glue thing too not sure. I go back to my doctor on Thursday and if they are not out by then I guess I will go the surgery way I just know I can not do this much longer.
Right now I can feel movement but not out of my head but it could be the bubbles too but I think I am sure they are my 5 little friends I guess I should name them. I just don’t feel that cute yet. I will keep you informed.
Thanks again not wishing this onto anyone but I am so glad you and Mark experienced this or I would be still on the wrong treatment and probably going crazy by now.
Thanks Marlene

Brenda replys:
June 7, 2005 2:30 PM
I cannot believe the doctor sent you home without getting those out for you. I would definitely try getting them out yourself so you can get some rest. The pain can drive a person crazy, Mark was starting to feel that way. He was in the last stages of development with his 2 larva’s. I hope you get some relief soon and can go back to your normal life, pain free.
Keep me posted,

June 7, 2005 9:29 PM
Well it does not get any better as what the rest of everyone faced no help. I have decided that the doctors are not going to fix this. I went back to my doctor because the pain came back and I did not want to spend another night like last night. He would not open them up and get them out. He referred me to a Dermatologist and if that was not bad enough he did not even ask if my insurance covered so I get all the way over there and they tell me no coverage. So I am in pain and said how much it sounded like $150.00 so I said Ok. I waited while he worked me in. He came in and took a culture. He got several books out and checked on a new medicine just released. He said he was giving me that plus a cream and also back on the Keflex.
So whatever I will try it but I think that tonight will be ugly again and so tomorrow I think I will try the smother thing and see if they will come up far enough for my boss or one of our nurses to grab and pull out. I know I have to get them out it just hurts to much.
So my pharmacy did not have the new drug so it will be ready tomorrow after 4pm so by the time I get home from work if the little guys are still with me then I will take it.
I should have know this would not be a short story. Sorry. Thanks Marlene
Thank you Brenda, No doctor’s here know of this or want to treat it. I tried the to smother them today but it did not work so now tomorrow I am going to call my insurance and see if I can go to Travis Air Force Base and be seen. My husband is retired so not sure if I am covered there. But I want to call them first and ask if there is anyone there that knows about this before I go.
I had one doctor in Walnut Creek Ca. that knew of it and had taken some out but since they are all in my head he said No because of the bleeding factor and referred me to a surgeon but he is out until Monday but I am going to call back and see if one of the other doctor’s can help me.
The pain is unreal as you know. I am not sure how much more I can take. I will let you know what has happened to me. Thank you for your notes.

Mark responded to Marlene and here is her reply on July 10, 2005 12:45 PM
Hi, Mark thank you so much for your help. I read your story and as Brenda might have told you it was your story that informed me of what I have. You can not believe what I have been through but I know you have an idea. No one here in California has heard of this and if they heard of it they have never had an actual case. I am the first in Contra Costa County. I know I saw two stories from one person in Oakland and one person in San Francisco but they too were not diagnosed correctly. I have called Washington DC I have called CDC, I have call our county health department.
What I have been told basically is that this is so new not heard of that they have so many diseases that are here and hundreds of people needing help they do not consider me as important or someone they want to spend time on. Only in America we have such a bad rap on what kind of health care we offer our citizens especially the aged residents. I actually had a good day in reference to maybe some help. First I called Travis Air Force Base and they said I could come up there they had me send by Fax a referral from my primary care doctor and copies of the information I had from the site to them. My doctor did this and they said I might be able to be seen next week so that was OK. But I guess someone there might know about it and all of a sudden I got a call from Travis they want to see me tomorrow at 1pm.
The other news was one of our employee’s where I work in a convalescent hospital is from Mexico and his grandmother taught him how to do it. He said they are poor there and do not have what we do so they used tequilla cleaned the area and took a antibiotic that is in a capsule and poor the powder over the hole. You do this 3 times a day for 5 days. So if I do not get help at Travis I will come home and start Billy’s method of treatment.
I have tried the peroxide, the vaseline, now the air base and next the antibiotic powder he told me after I asked him how do they get out he said do not worry your body will reject it and they will get out I still wonder but I am so much in pain I am willing to try anything.
But if nothing works I will contact your doctor and I might anyway. I really appreciate your and Brenda’s help and support and I am sorry this happened to you but Mark if it was not for you getting it and Brenda setting up the web site I and others would be out there suffering and not knowing or understanding what was happening to them.
Thank you again. I will send Brenda the outcome of the next stage of my life with my 5 little friends in my head.
Sincerely, Marlene

July 10, 2005 10:27 AM
I was so busy yesterday that I could not email. So glad my husband did and gave you Gabe’s phone #. My son is in scout camp this week and I am the leader, also we are leaving Sat. AM for Big Bend. So you see I have lots going on besides helping my husband out here at our computer store.
I sure hope you find some relief soon. I cannot belive you have 5!!!!!! WOW you must really be miserable. Are the pain pills helping at all?
I will take my laptop, but not sure about internet access, so keep me posted. Not sure when I will be able to get online, so if you do not hear from me that is why. We will return on the 19th or so.
I am so sorry you are going through such a miserable ordeal with this. I wish some of the remides from the webstie helped with removal. I guess it is really hard for you since they are on top of your head and hard for you to get at.
Hang in there,
Brenda Johnstone

July 11, 2005 11:10 PM
Hi Brenda I know you are on your trip. I e-mailed Mark tonight and let him know I am minus 5 botflies now. I forgot to tell him they all went to the Major who actually squeezed the first one out and then they were going to the lab at UC Davis. The have a camera on their equipment and he wanted pictures.
I had the surgery way thanks to Travis Air Force Base.
I mentioned to Mark I would like to know how to get my story on there like the others with pictures when I get mine.
I also contacted Costa Rica and they are e-mailing me everyday like you and tonight I told them I am Ok and they are out and they want my story too so they can put it in their newsletters to travel agency’s and others to warn them on how to protect themselves.
I will talk to you when you return hope you are having fun.
Sincerely Marlene

Human Botflies extracted from Marlene.
Marlene’s botflies.
Human Botflies extracted from Marlene. Courtesy of and
Marlene’s botflies.
Human Botflies extracted from Marlene. Courtesy of and
Three little botflies, all in a row !

June 11, 10:42 PM
Hi Mark, I got a e-mail from your wife and she told me she was out of town with your children at camp I think that is great. I hope they have a good time. Not sure if you went too but I wanted to let you know the news.
On Wednesday after my failures of all roads of going to doctors I talked to a retired Military doctor friend of mine and he did not want to do this but he told me if all else failed he would try and do it for me one at time to see how it went. He told me like others from UC Davis to go to Travis Air Force Base so I called and they said to Fax my info to them and get my primary care doctor to send a referral and some of my information and pictures to them. The same day which is unheard of Travis called my husband and let him know I had a appointment on Friday.
I went there with my husband and I met with Major Patrick J Danaher in the infection disease clinic. He told me he called my doctor and that he would take my medical background and then for me to tell the story. 2 hrs later he got ready to exam me. He put me under the light and looked at the lumps, he said he heard of these but never had seen them. He right away asked if he pushed would it hurt and I said NO I don’t think so. He started to push on one of the lumps he said he thought he saw something and right away he said I got something, actually he thought it would just be pus but to his shock and surprise and very much interested he said look here it is. I said that is not it its to small he no that is one. It moved and ick ick ick. But it was so small how could I have so much pain from one little thing. Well I then looked closer and yes it was him he had the hooks and the sharps things going down the side. He put him in a cup. I was treated like a celebrity and he asked if others could come in the room, I laughed and said yes and one time we had 8 men in there with me and they even got a photographer to take pictures of the bite sites and my little guy went to the lab. Everyone was going into the lab they could not believe what was going on it was funny.
He then called the surgeon in for a consult and they were deciding how to do this outpatient in-patient and I said my new friend Brenda said its not a big deal and out-patient should be fine. The prep took more time than the surgery. It only took about an hour for the removal of all 4 of them plus they had to open the area he pulled one out of cause there might have been more or something left in there. It was Ok.
So I got home last night and I thought the one at the bottom felt like something was trying to get out and it hurt like it did before so I will have to tell them that on Monday for my re-check today I have not felt anything but it is the only one that is sore and it is the one he said he was worried about for infection because they had a hard time getting that one out and had to go deeper. I am going to ask what it is like if there was one in there and we stitched up the air hole and he will die. I am not sure what they will do. But maybe it hurt more because of the area but you know how it hurt and I do too and sure felt like one but maybe not.
They loose stitched it cause I promised to come back on Monday and then again on Friday if everything is Ok they will take out the stitches. Oh they are not fun either I remember from having a baby. Oh you do too you had twins I remember reading that. Once again I can not thank Brenda enough for her story and the web site. I would like to put my story on the web like you and others did how do I do that?. I contacted Costa Rica and they want me to write a story also and they said they will print it. They have been interested in me too they e-mailed me everyday and also asked where I was and what I wore and how do I think it happened they want to alert others planning to go into the same area. I have also sent several e-mails to government agencies and health departments and CDC and ISTM heck today I even e-mailed the President but we all know probably none of these will get noticed or anyone will contact me. But I am also printing a letter to our local newspaper and see if they will put it in as a Travel Warning to that area. I am not going to stop now this is just awful that no one is concerned about these coming into our country and the chance if they go full term we are giving birth to flies which will intern find a mosquito here and it all starts over again. The other thing is that no doctor in my area knew of this except two one refused because it was my head and the other would because I was going to beg and cry but he was not thrilled. Thank goodness it all turned out good.
I will talk to Brenda when she gets home. Again sorry it happened but thank god you told your story for all of the others and now me. Oh the doctors were flipping a coin to see who would come in and tell me they had to shave my hair right down the middle in the back I look like a skunt. But I had already prepared for that too so I did not even cry he sure was glad. Most women cry if they lose their hair. Heck at that point I would have lost anything just to get them out of my head. Take care and good luck and you can be sure if I travel anymore out of the country I will be better prepared while going while there and when I get back.
Marlene Foster
Antioch, Ca.

July 15, 2005 2:27 AM

Human Botflies extracted from Marlene. Courtesy of and
More botflies from Marlene.
Human Botflies extracted from Marlene. Courtesy of and
A total of five botflies were removed from Marlene.


July 30, 2005
Hello Brenda,
My name is Brianne Rhoads and I have recently returned from a 3-week adventure in Belize. I was enrolled in a seminar last semester about the cultures/experiences/flora and fauna of Belize. The course ended with a three week trip to Belize to “experience our research.” Interestingly enough during the course each student was required to give a presentation about a certain topic of Belize, mine was concerning parasites and other insects- including the beefworm/botfly- I must say that the research made not only my skin crawl, but also the skin of everyone else in the class; extremely disturbing.
While in Belize we were constantly reminded by the professors and myself(not to mention the natives) that they were out there and that we should take heed- I really wasn’t worried b/c I had read that they were rare and my professors had brought over 100 students to Belize during the 6 trips and not a single student had ever reported harboring one of the little creatures. We tromped through the Wildlife sanctuaries, explored Mayan ruins and mangrove ecosystems, we snorkeled, and were amazingly happy all the way up to 2 days before our departure when our group was snorkeling and we got into “Pica Pica” infested waters. Pica Pica are microscopic jellyfish spawn that sting just as viciously as there full-sized parents- our bathing suits acted as nets for the critters and I was stung hundreds of times, they got into our hair and the stings covered our bodies- even after removing ourselves from the water and treating with vinegar- we could not get the pica pica to stop firing their nematocysts- they made my entire body itch and we were covered in hive-like sores around every sting- the following couple of days were absolutely miserable as we were forced to tape socks around our hands and cut all of our fingernails off in order not to scratch ourselves raw. We tried a number of local remedies but nothing seemed to work- some of the girls had such bad reactions that they had to get steroids – I refused as I am not a huge fan of prescriptions. They stings were extremely itchy/painful for about a week and a half and as my skin started to recover from the pica pica it soon began to crawl again as I realized I had something else…
My entire body had been itching for over a week- so at first I took little notice of the small bite on my upper right buttock that was not seeming to heal, but while I was changing into my work clothes one day I noticed the bite in my mirror. The bite was slightly swollen and I prodded at it and decided that it was just another mosquito bite that wasn’t healing properly b/c of the constant irritation from me sitting down and walking (friction against the pants), it actually resembled something like a huge pimple. The next morning I noticed that the tissue around the bite was becoming inflamed and that the bite was slightly more pronounced- not to mention that about a six-inch area of my buttock was becoming tense to the touch. This condition continued for a couple of days and in the back of my mind I humored the thought that it could be a botfly, but I wasn’t ready to admit it. After another day or two I started having sharp pains shoot down my backside and I had my roommate examine the bite- she said it looked like a fresh hole and was secreting ooze. We took some pictures with my digital camera so that I could get a decent look at it and it looked much like the bites described in the literature I had researched for my report. I called my professor and although amused he suggested I should probably have it removed if I really thought that it was a botfly larva.
It has been 2 days since I talked to my professor about my botfly; now named Alex Jr. after my long-term boyfriend b/c they are both a pain in my ass 😉 , And the pain can be bad enough to make my eyes water and my whole body break out in goose bumps. Up until last night I was still slightly skeptical that it could be something besides a botfly- BUT Alex Jr. went into a particularly long set of movements causing me to have my roommate check the area (while my other roommate freaked out from across the apartment) and she said that it was oozing blood and another more translucent fluid- she cleaned the area with an antibacterial wipe and we decided to take a couple more pictures. As I assumed the position for picture taking, Alex Jr. started to move again so I stretched my neck to get a good look and so did my roommate and we both were horrified as a little off-white “thing” (we assume the tail) poked slightly out of the hole and back into the flesh. Although completely disgusted I am thinking about carrying the larva until it pushes itself out of the hole and prepares for pupation.
I have toyed with the idea of becoming an Entomologist (my current study is Pre-Med) and I am extremely amused by the situation I am experiencing, but I am also worried about any side effects that could take place. I have read that these bites will not become infected as long as the botfly is still inside the flesh and that scarring is minimal- but could there be any other side effects besides pain that I should worry about? I am planning on visiting a dermatologist or specialist (anyone that will believe me b/c it sounds from the stories on your site, that it is hard to get a doctor to believe you) but I thought I would ask you b/c you seem to have some experience with them. Your site has been a great help as far as support b/c I know I’m not the only person that has had one- and I appreciate you taking the time to read my e-mail. I will keep you posted on Alex Jr. and when he emerges- I will also send pictures if you so desire (I am going to be borrowing a camera that is better than mine for close-up photos of the warble).Thank-you for your website and any insight,
Brianne Rhoads

More from Brianne on August 8, 2005
I have a TON of news about the Botfly, I have been just too busy to send you any new info! He came out on Sunday afternoon. He had been trying to push his way out the entire morning, but I had to work, so I bandaged him up and worked my shift. After I came home from work I noticed he was sticking further out than ever (about like the picture of the guy’s knee on your site) so I gave him a good squeeze and after a minute or two he popped right out and flew a couple feet to land on the counter! I wanted to puke and jump for joy at the same time. I NEVER would have imagined it would have been as big as it is- It is about an inch and a half long and twice as thick as a pencil ( I kept him for 12 weeks), but I just couldnt believe that it came out of me. I put Alex Jr. in a small tequila bottle and have him on display on my counter… Alex Sr. was not too happy about seeing it but was glad to know it was gone, and the hole is almost healed. My professor that took us to Belize told me to put him in 70% rubbing alcohol, so that is what I did, but I am EXTREMELY distressed at the fact that my bot is turning black rapidly- almost half the carcass is black now- do you have any suggestions as to what to put him in instead?
I’ll try and send you a better e-mail describing my fights with Alex Jr. and such tomorrow- but I’ve been doing double-shifts all week (a lot easier now that he is gone). And I’ll send some pictures as well. Thanks for your interest! Your site REALLY made this a lot easier to deal with- I don’t think I would have made it all the way until the end without reading the stories on your site- I probably would have gotten him excised after 6 weeks b/c thats how long I was told they would last.
Brianne Rhoads

August 3, 2005
I am so happy to have found your website. My mom and sister and I took a trip to Belize just as all of these other folks and my mom insisted that the three of us keep each other posted when we got back to make sure we didn’t pick anything up. My husband was joking with me the day after I got back and pointed to a “zit” on my left cheek closer to my ear. He said it was probably one of those fly larvae. I pushed at the zit a little but nothing really came out. But I did notice a pin head in the middle. That concerned me. Two days later and the zit was much more circular and a little raised with what looks like a circular scab around the outside. It is only the size of a pencil eraser. I definitely became more concerned when it changed, and now seven days after the trip it has not improved. It does itch every now and then. I went to the doctor and was referred to a dermatologist, but cannot be seen for another week. They didn’t seem to take my concern seriously. I want to try the tiger bomb with a clear piece of packing tape. I noticed an email from a reader wonder if you had to wait or if they could be too “young” to extract. What have you noticed as far as that. My bump has not become painful yet or started oozing, but I certainly want to remove it before it gets to that stage and I don’t have much faith in the medical community recognizing this for what it could be.
Thank you so much for you help.

Nov. 10, 2005
Hi Brenda,
Thought I would share my hideous story of Botfly’s with you, as it brought back so many fond memories lol! I was travelling into Belize whilst backpacking, and stayed in a small town bordering the jungle for a couple of days along with a couple of friends. We had sunk a few beers in the early evening, and retired to our hostel for the night, all of us awaking in the morning, covered in bites and nursing hangovers. I suffered in silence with 2 particular bites, one on my leg and the other on the top of my head, and both of my friends bites (as did my ‘other’ bites) seemed to clear up of their own accord. Back in England, I started getting shooting pains intermittently, usually when I was washing my hair, showering etc and when I was sleeping at night. I thought maybe I was getting migraines, and eventually went to the doctors to see what he thought. As I hadn’t visited him for a while, he was giving me the once over, and then asked when I had banged my head, as I had a lump the size of half a golf ball on it. I told him that I hadn’t, and had a smaller lump, which I thought was just an infected mosquito bite, and which I was treating with penicillin powder, to which he then referred me to the dermatologist in my local hospital. The dermatologist called in a consultant who recognized what they were immediately after telling him of my travelling and where I had been; who then smeared a good lump of petroleum jelly over both of the vents, covered with a pad and told me to come back in the morning.
I returned with my mother in transit, whilst they pulled both of the mature larvae out of my head and leg, my mother was nearly sick and the nurse in attendance shrieked when they pulled them both out.
Strangely, I felt slightly attatched to the little fellas, and was most upset when they wouldn’t give them me to keep in a jar for posterity!!!!!!
Am I mad!!!!?!?!?

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