Bot Fly Removal: A Complete Guide To Botfly And Its Larvae Extraction

Bot fly Removal wasn’t easy. Extracting the bot fly larvae (maggots) from the body and killing maggots can be a bit painful and needs utmost care to ensure that they are removed completely.

Before I proceed with the bot fly extraction methods, just give you a glance about botfly. In this article, I am going to cover the following questions.

If you go to the botfly regions as a tourist, for work or in any form you may possibly get human botfly larvae. So to avoid botfly infestation, better cover your entire body with botfly repellent cream or wear protective clothing while going to those places.

How to get rid of maggots? Better avoid going to the above botfly locations. Prevention is better than cure. So always apply botfly repellant cream while going to the below areas.

What is a Botfly?

The botfly is an insect fly, belongs to the family Oestridae. The Dermatobia hominis, commonly known as human bot fly causes excess harm to humans.

The human botfly is also called as torsalo or American warble fly.

Not all botfly attacks humans. Even cat, horse, monkeys, cow, dog, pigs, rabbits, sheep etc. are attacked by a variety of botfly maggots.

Bot Fly Larvae

Bot Fly larvae act as internal parasites of mammals. The bot fly larva lives inside the human/ mammal flesh and develops to be an adult and then they fly away. It doesn’t transmit any diseases. But the larva inside the human skin can secrete fluids, which causes heavy pain. Furuncular myiasis is a parasitic infection that is caused by botfly.

Furuncular myiasis: It is the parasitic infestation of the body of a live mammal by fly larvae that grow inside the mammal while feeding on its flesh.

How do you Get Botfly?

The botflies lay eggs on other flies such as housefly, mosquitoes, tick, etc. and use these insects as a mediator to spread their eggs on humans/mammals. So without direct contact with any botfly, you may get botfly larvae(maggots) in your body.

botfly removal larvae

Image Credits: Wikipedia

Botfly Infestation

Once the eggs reached your body (with the help of mediators), they enter your skin and forms the larvae. The larvae penetrate the skin through the wound or hair follicles. The bot fly larvae breathe through 2 posterior spiracles that lie flush with the skin of the host.

During the development phase, the larvae secrete fluids that cause pain in your skin.

If you go to the botfly regions as a tourist, for work or in any form you may possibly get human botfly larvae. So to avoid botfly infestation, better cover your entire body with botfly repellent cream or wear protective clothing while going to those places.

Botfly Infestation/Bite Symptoms

If you are bitten by botfly or you are infested by bot fly larvae (maggots), you can sense the below symptoms.

  • Larvae cause a raised lesion on your skin (occasionally causes severe pain)
  • Sometimes you feel the larvae moving inside the lesion.
  • The lesion may secrete pus.

Botfly Lifecycle

As like bedbugs, a botfly larvae (maggots) goes through three instars. In each instar (phase) it grows in size.

First instar: In this phase, bot fly larvae is like a worm with a rounded end.

Second instar: In this phase, bot fly larvae should be a bottleneck shape. Hairs likely to be seen.

Third instar: Cylindrical shape. Wings started to grow

How to Identify the botfly?

The adult bot fly is 12 to 18 mm long. The face is yellow with a metallic blue abdomen and orange legs and each body segment is covered with hairs which give the fly a bumblebee appearance.

human botfly removal

Image Credits: Wikipedia

Where do Bot Flies Live?

The native place of human botfly is Central and South America. Botflies live in the most tropical regions of the world. As like other insects, they fly freely and live anywhere like under leaves, branches, tall grass, etc.

But if you need an exact location where you can find botflies are in warmer tropical regions.

Botfly Locations/Areas

where do maggots come from? Human Botflies spread from Mexico in the north to Paraguay and northeast Argentina in the south. You can get a better idea about botfly locations (bot fly countries) in the below map.

How to get rid of maggots? Better avoid going to the above botfly locations. Prevention is better than cure. So always apply botfly repellant cream while going to the below areas.

human botfly removal

Image Credits: Chelsea Fugate

Treatment: Botfly Removal/Extraction

The best method to remove botfly is to close the open surface (a hole from where botfly entered on your body). So that it stops the oxygen supply to the botfly larvae. So they will try to come out in searching of oxygen, that time you can easily remove that from your body.

Let me explain you the methods for botfly removal and how to kill maggots in detail.

1. Pine tar

This is one of the best methods to eradicate the botfly and its larvae from your skin. It is a sticky material made from the pine wood. Pine tar is used to treat certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. You may see the pine tar in most of the skin care products and soaps.

Okay! Let’s see how pine tar helps in removing botfly larvae.

  • Apply the pine tar on the skin hole where the botfly larva is present.
  • Tightly tape it with the bandage.
  • This cut downs the oxygen supply completely
  • Wait for a 12-14hours (So that you can remove all the botfly larvae from your body).
  • The larvae will come out in searching of oxygen and stick in the pine tar.
  • Then remove the tar along with the botfly larvae.

You can buy pine tar here!

2. Superglue

Superglue will give you desired results in removing botfly larvae. Just apply superglue on the hole. Hold it on for few minutes and let the glue dry. Then Pull back the super glue, you will have botfly larvae maggots sticking to it.

You can use the superglue remover to remove the excess glue that sticks to your skin.

Get super glue!

3. Heavy camphor oil

What kills maggots instantly? Try Heavy camphor oil. This is the Essential oil remedy for botfly removal. If you feel hard with the super glue, then try this heavy camphor oil.

  • Take a Clean cotton ball and soak it in a heavy camphor oil for 5 minutes.
  • Then apply that cotton ball on the home and tape it down tightly. If you didn’t close the hole completely, then the total process will be get failed.
  • Wait for 8 hours (You need to wait until they come out for searching oxygen).
  • Then pull out the tape. You can see the bot fly larvae comes out to breathe.
  • Just Check that you removed all the larvae.

You can also use Tiger bomb. Since it is rich in camphor. Else buy the heavy camphor oil.

4. Petroleum Jelly

Due to its healing properties, Petroleum jelly is used widely as an ointment and in cosmetic skin care.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved petroleum jelly as a skin protectant.

  • Apply petroleum jelly on the hole.
  • Thoroughly taped it.
  • Leave it on for 10 hours. Let the botfly larva stick to it and die.
  • Then remove the petroleum jelly and you can find the dead botfly larvae.

You can get petroleum jelly here!

5. Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is also a good remedy but I prefer to follow above 4 remedies to get best results.

  • Add some Epsom salt in a bathtub.
  • Soak your infected hole in it for few minutes.
  • The botfly comes out from your skin to breathe and get killed in the bath tub.

Buy Epsom salt.

6. Venom extraction syringes

These venom extraction syringes are sometimes helpful in removing the botfly larvae from your body. But you have to make sure that you completely removed all the larva. (Ref)

7. Nail Polish

This too does the same effect of pine tar and petroleum jelly. It closes the hole and cut downs the oxygen supply of botfly larva and kills them. (Ref) But strong frequent coating on the hole is necessary to cut down the oxygen supply.

Does bleach kill maggots?

In my experience, bleach doesnot kill the maggots. Even it has the ability to kill maggots, it takes a long time with high concentration of bleach.

Hope you get the detailed view about the botfly and its larvae. Removal of botfly larva is a somewhat tedious process and painful. If you are not sure about the removal process, better you can contact your doctor for complete removal of botfly larva.

Prevention is better than cure. So always apply botfly repellant cream to get rid of those problems.

About the author

Nagendra Kumar

Nagendra Kumar is the Founder and CEO of Askmyhealth. He oversees the Management strategies and execution of all content on Askmyhealth.

He has a decade’s worth of experience in online content editorial strategy and online consumer research with a specific focus on health, fitness and lifestyle content. He is specialized in Home Remedies, Diet, Fitness, and Nutrition.

To contact: nagendra@askmyhealth.com

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