What is a Bot Fly?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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Bot flies are also known as torsalo, or American warble flies. A bot fly is in the genus Dermatobia and is of the species D. hominis. It is the only species in the genus Dermatobia that attacks humans. Bot flies transfer their eggs to humans by way of the mosquito. The female bot fly captures the mosquito and secures her eggs to the mosquito's body.

When the mosquito bites a human and begins to feed, the bot fly larvae enter the person's skin through the bite. The larvae grow underneath the skin of the person. This process takes about eight weeks, during which that time a large, writhing bump develops on the person's skin. Bot flies are very difficult to remove, as the larvae has hooked spines that wrap the midsection. If a person attempts to kill the bot fly larvae, without fully removing it, the area will become infected.

There are several ways you can attempt to remove a bot fly without leaving any part of it behind. While there are no guarantees that the different methods will work with every person, they are worth a try. Never attempt to just pull out the larvae, as there is a risk of infection. These methods involve suffocating the maggot in various ways.


Saturate a cotton ball with camphor oil. Apply the cotton ball to the bite mark where the larvae entered and tape it down firmly. Leave it there for approximately eight hours to force the larvae to come up for air. When you remove the cotton ball, the bot fly larvae should be lying underneath.

Another method of removing bot flies involve taking a hot bath. Fill a tub with hot water and Epsom salt. Fully submerse yourself in the hot water and remain there for 45 minutes. The salt and water will drown the larvae when it comes to the surface of the skin to breathe.

Pine tar is known to be effective in removing bot flies, due to the sticky nature of the substance. Rub pine tar on the bite and bandage it snugly. Allow it to remain there for two to three days. Remove the bandage and you should have bot fly maggots sticking to it.

Superglue is another popular method used to remove bot fly larvae. Apply super glue to the bite mark entrance and allow it dry for a day. Slowly pull up the dried glue and the maggots should be stuck to it.

Although the thought of bot flies growing under your skin is disturbing, they aren't harmful. If you are able to handle it, you can leave the fly in the skin and allow it to develop over the eight week period. It will drop out by itself and the wound will heal.


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Discuss this Article

Post 4

Gee, and people laugh at me because I do research instead of play dead brain games. Yes I have seen bot flies. I thought they were harmless, weird flying bugs. They don't look like a fly! An uber driver told me about them, and now, not only do I have mosquitoes to kill, but bot flies are added to the list! I've been really sick because something bit my neck. Study on!

Post 2

I wonder how common bot fly infestations are in the US? Hopefully, I never have to use any of these remedies.

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