Of Bots and Men and the Answer to Everything

bot fly

A feature of television in my youth was the scheduling of what were known as ‘nature’ programmes at an hour when a respectable Scots family would be attacking a high tea.
You would be contemplating a slice of Lorne sausage when the screen would display an antelope meeting an unfortunate end….hyenas going about their unpleasant business would accompany a helping of salmon….even reaching for a potato scone had its risks…

I am sure that warble flies were featured too – how could the BBC resist? – but I had never in all my puff thought that I would come across the human version, the bot fly.

This delightful character captures a mosquito, lays its eggs on it and messes off. The mozzy then bites a human – or other species – and the bot fly eggs enter the wound thus caused.

The eggs then develop under the skin of the host for eight weeks before emerging to pupate.
Sounds innocent doesn’t it and, what is more, the thing exudes a sort of antibiotic which prevents the wound from becoming infected as an infected wound will kill the larva.

I have had one of these delightful visitors myself…and can assure you that it is far from innocent. The damned thing itches like hell and wriggles about like a underclad cabaret dancer seeking a hefty tip.

The local advice is to place a chunk of meat over the wound, stick it on with plaster and wait for the brute to emerge into the meat, but having apocalyptic visions of said meat rotting in situ given tropical conditions, I went to the local clinic instead.

Ah, you need Nurse Evelyn!

Nurse Evelyn seems to be the specialist in everything…
Electrocardiograms? Nurse Evelyn.
Gangrene? Nurse Evelyn.

Bot fly? Nurse Evelyn.

I was summoned to her office and indicated the affected area which was seized in a grip which would rouse envy in a banker foreclosing on a widow and gave up its larva – an unattractive, bloated sort of thing which met its end in the waters of the loo next door.


40 thoughts on “Of Bots and Men and the Answer to Everything”

  1. Guaro, eh? No idea if that’s locally available, but it sounds just the ticket.
    I am the conveyor-of-cats-to-vet.Unless disaster strikes when I’m away…

    1. Guaro is the home distilled liquor made from sugar cane…like any home product it can vary in quality from the rip out your throat stuff to something quite palatable.
      Dogs I can – just about – cope with. Cats no.

  2. No vet appointments here either. Well, unless you count por la mañana or por la tarde as an appointment?
    After 40kgs of Pippa pulled me over on a cat hunt I am now limited to extremely small dogs. Snows is good at being picked up, Tosca is OK but that extra couple of kgs and her longer larger body make her more unwieldy.
    Evil flies. I seem to be getting mozzy bites every night. So far no larvae.
    Love that moody rainy pic.

    1. Bunter and Stein are quite compact, it is the weight that is a problem. Black Tot is another kettle of fish…she is long and that makes it difficult to heave her up.
      Do avoid the bots! The pain of the extraction remains with me still…apparently I picked it up on clothes put out on the line so the nurse said.

      Plenty of moody rain about at the moment, too…

      1. Latest here is fleas from seagulls. Dead one in one of our patios so El concierge (terrible mix of languages there) had to retrieve it. Hadn’t even walked out of the block before he was covered in them. Came inside and jumped in the shower. Ugh. Waiting a few days before he gives the patio a full disinfected hose down.

  3. Oh my god. I get freaked out at the thought of anything living and crawling getting under my skin. It sounds awful. As for getting very heavy dogs to the vet, I usually leave that to the husband, because I know what a struggle it is. Glad you and Bunter have been sorted now xx

    1. It didn’t do much for me either,Linda! I thought I had just had an insect bite, but it bulked up into a lump and then starting jiggling about…not what I wanted!
      Poor Bunter though was infested….just as well we took him to the vet as he extracted several tinies as well as the big boys. He was not keen to come out of that car – but luckily it is a 4×4 so I was pulling him forward and down rather than trying to lift him forward and up which would have killed my back.

  4. ‘Deep Thought’ took 7.5 million years to calculate the answer to everything and finally arrived at the number 42. You have done it in a couple of paragraphs – amazing!

  5. The warble fly? You left out the tse tse fly. The friend to all insomniacs. I love Nurse Evelyn. And once I looked up guaro the light bulb moment occurred, I think you’re right about it being the answer to everything if I read it correctly1 😉 Good one. Have a good weekend to you and your gang.

    1. I remember the tsetse fly from school geography days….
      You would indeed like Nurse Evelyn – sweet natured and with a grip like a vice!
      After my recent trip i too feel that guaro might be the answer to everything – certainly to an overnight at Madrid airport.
      I’m hoping to have time now to settle down to your latest book!

  6. Before commenting I quickly looked up bot flies, mostly to reassure myself. Thankfully we don’t have them in Canada. They seem to only be in the places Canadians like to spend their winters. 🙂

    It sounds like a gruesome experience for both human and beast. The thing that stuck out the most to me though was the fact that the vet bill was only 40 quid. You can’t walk in the vet’s door here for that amount, much less actually be seen by the vet.

    1. Vet prices vary: if you go to a .vet for gringos’ then the bill can be heavy….
      We go to the vet attached to the local agricultural co op who is both competent and caring – as well as cheap!

  7. Well, I must say that you seem to have been pretty blase about what sounds like the sort of thing people make films of. Ever seen “Alien”? Well, possibly not quite that bad, but even so – ugh! nightmare time.
    I too thought that the vet bill was pretty cheap. Queuing in the rain seems a reasonable price to pay.
    Glad to see another post from you, I was missing you!

    1. Not much option given that the blasted thing was well in situ before I realised what it was….
      As explained to Kristie, prices vary, but this chap is both good and reasonable.
      I had drafted this post about a fortnight ago: then a telephone call to my mother decided me to nip over and see her as she was not recovering from a chest infection so had to abandon it until my return. Mother is now both looking up and looking forward to her one hundredth birthday in August when I shall once again be braving the airports – this time Mexico City for eight hours…

  8. Ooh the bot fly sounds nasty. Things wriggling about under my skin? No thanks! It was bad enough when I got head lice off my son. Eww.

    Glad you got it sorted. Nurse Evelyn is the woman! 🙂

  9. Tsk! The men were working hard for you while you enjoyed your holiday, now you expect them to be there lifting big dogs when a downpour is falling? How cruel!
    Thanks for showing me the beastie while I was eating, it meant a lot….
    Nurses are such good women, however I find they are also bullies, the lot of them. Maybe it’s just me of course.
    Glad you are back and as content as ever….

    1. As one of Scotia’s hardy sons the mere sight of a bot fly should have had no effect on you, whatever your occupation of the moment…think of it as a sassenach…

      This all occurred before I left for a visit to mother…I had no time to publish it at that moment.
      I have returned, sunny as ever, to find that The Men have used my best saute pan to make the dogs’ breakfasts…perhaps I should send them to Nurse Evelyn for appropriate treatment…

  10. The bot fly sounds nasty. I’m relieved it hasn’t yet taken a fancy to Northern Ireland. Glad you managed to get Bunter into the vet without giving yourself a further medical problem.

    It sounds like the guaro industry is a profitable one to get into.

    1. I think the guaro industry is a winner anywhere in the non muslim world…
      Don’t write off the bot fly – given a bit of climate change and a cosy nest in imported fruit it could be winging its way to Ulster in a few years’ time…

  11. I hope that Nurse Evelyn is more Florence than Ratchett who still gives me nightmares if I venture into the realms of the Cukoos Nest 🙂

  12. Never heard of bot fly, never experienced one either and I hope I never will. Nasty things. Failing nurse Evelyn would the vet have extracted yours too?

    Did you really pick up that great brute of a dog and carry him inside? Some effort. Have you thought of becoming a weightlifting trainer?

    1. The vet? Goodness, no! This is a Catholic country…touching female flesh in broad daylight would freak him out.
      I was lucky in that we have a 4×4 so that I was hauling him forward and down…and then momentum took me across to the office. The knees did not appreciate it at all.
      I’d love to see an Olympic event for picking up a large dog…

  13. In the true spirit of unsuitable TV programmes at mealtimes, I thought I would treat myself to a read of your blog post whilst consuming a very tasty locally bred lamb stew. As I read on, each mouthful was masticated with less enthusiasm and the plate regarded dubiously. Testament to your vivid description, Helen! Nature never ceases to amaze and horrify me at the same time with its creativity in pursuit of procreation!! Hope the wound has healed and the contents despatched! I had a moth fly into my ear one day and that was bad enough, feeling its wings beating inside my head in its dying throes!
    There are canine sympathies winging their way to Bunter too as Benny and Jezebel, two of our three dogs, have suffered with the infernal ‘épée’, a seemingly innocuous looking but barbed-ended grass seed which neatly works its way into every orifice. They are in abundance this year given the huge amount of rain and thus the flourishing of everything green. A double date at the vet was the order of the day this week with Jez having to be anaesthetised and several pieces of seed removed from very near the first joint of her paw. A horrible infection had told us that we hadn’t managed to remove all the seeds from between her toes and, as they operate in bunches, several had continued their journey between her toes, under the skin and on up. Last year she had to sedated to remove one from her female bits! Not pleasant for her! Benny had to be sedated in order for 5 pieces of seed to be removed from beside his eardrum in the left ear and 6 pieces from his right ear. Once again the creativity and tenacity of nature in its pursuit of propagation is truly astounding! Love to you all!

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