Christmas Day was fairly low key for us. I woke up with a case of runaway bowel, and Ned discovered he had maggots growing under the skin of his shoulder.
Human Botfly is apparently quite common in Central America, but neither of us, or anyone we’ve talked to since have ever heard of it! Lucky Ned is a worrywart because I sure as hell wasn’t on his team when he came out of the bathroom screaming that something was wriggling out of the bump on his shoulder. It was only after some serious Google self-diagnosis (hasn’t someone coined a snappy term for this yet?) and him managing to squeeze one of them out, that I came to believe him.
Botfly aren’t able to lay their eggs on humans directly. They’re too big and cumbersome. Instead they make a mid-air ride with a mosquito, lay their eggs on the mozzie’s belly and adheare them there with a special glue. When the mosquito bites a human, the person’s body heat melts the botfly glue and the eggs drop off. The eggs hatch into maggots, the maggots burrow into the skin.
Ned was convinced the sore lumps were infected (I was convinced Ned’s a hypocondriac) and popped some antibiotic cream and a band-aid on them overnight. Turns out this was the best thing he could do! The maggots keep a little airhole free at the top of their burrow and blocking this off brings the little white worms out, gasping for air. The internets told Neddles how to do this properly - the suggestion of nail polish (over Vaseline) with a plastic film covering worked the best in our experience. He suffocated one, squeezed the lump and an 8mm maggot came out. When they’re alive, they dig in their little black spines, but were still tricky to remove when dead. Three botfly maggots all together. All together, DISGUSTING.
Ned remembers these bites from when we were at Semuc Champey but it sounds like botfly can be anywhere in Central America. Just another reason to try to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in this part of the world. For those concerned, Ned’s bounced back from the horrifying situation and had started to refer to the removal of botfly babies as a game of “ultimate pimple”.