Friday, May 02, 2008


As I have said elsewhere, nature is not nice. It usually only has one thing on its mind: to reproduce. Nature is mostly trying to eat you or reproduce on you. It will crawl on you with its horrible little legs or sting you with its horrible little stingers, or bite you with its horrible little mandibles.

A mosquito will carry the bot fly eggs, and when it bites the skin, will drop the eggs and they burrow under the skin's surface.

They stay just below the surface to breathe, and the most common treatment is to cut off their air supply with vaseline - so they will crawl out.

Untreated, they can burrow too far down and need to be cut out before they develop into flies.

Contracting the condition is highly unlikely, and the only reported cases are from tropical areas, mainly Africa and South America.

Dr Ron Behrens of the London Hospital of Tropical Diseases sees two or three myiasis patients per month at his clinic, all of whom have returned from tropical areas.

He said: 'It can occur in anyone. A mosquito drops the bot fly's eggs onto the skin. The bot fly doesn't come into contact with the person, the mosquito does it, as a third party.

'The pupae then burrow under the skin - often the scalp, legs or groin area - and feed off it, but stay close to the surface so they can breathe.

'Flies can also lay their eggs on clothing hanging out to dry, so we recommend ironing it beforehand, if you're staying in a tropical area.

Or, alternately, you can be sensible and stay home.

Rachel Carson was right about one thing: nature is not our friend, especially the insects. We are at war with the insects. Where she and I differ, is that I look upon my own species as the good guys and intend that we will win.

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