Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Bot Fly Larva

You know how sometimes you have a pimple or a boil or a bug bite (you're not sure what it is), but you know that it's no big deal and it will go away because you bathe regularly and live in a place like Colorado, an arid place where the bugs are pretty tame? We don't even have that many mosquitoes. It's not like Africa or Panama, where worms burrow into your skin and start eating you from the inside-out. Or so you thought.
Because it could be a bot fly larva. It turns out they live in Colorado, too. Apparently, this is not a new thing.
Knowing what a bot fly looks like won't save you. They have other insects infest you for them while they fly around looking innocent. Bot flies stash their eggs under the armpits of ordinary house flies. I'm not sure whether they do this by force or by trickery. Maybe it's like when a stranger at the airport asks to stash their socks in your carry-on.
Then the house fly circles over and lands on somebody nice and warm. Usually it's a deer or a rabbit. In my case it was a poodle. But it could be you.
Immediately, the bot fly egg hatches and drops off. It's called a larva now, and it has teeth! It chews its way under your skin, where it feeds on your fat and pus (yes, pus. After all, it is uncomfortable, but you thought it was just a regular bug bite).
So the larva grows up cradled in the warmth of your skin, munching on you and getting fat, and every once in a while it shifts position, sending electric shocks through you, and...what the hell??
So you go to the doctor, who squeezes your (now enormous) pimple/boil/bug bite, and out, out comes...no, not pus. It is a fat, inch-long, fanged bot fly larva.
Remember that movie Dune? It's like that, but smaller and in your skin.
Not that you should be paranoid or anything.

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