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Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

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Olympia, Washington
posts: 26
reviews: 64
Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

I am trying to prepare for our trip to the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area of Costa Rica. We plan on doing some white water rafting, canyoning, zip lines - take advantage of the beautiful country.

I plan on typical preparations of sunscreen and bug spray - obvious travel preparation.

What is the deal on the botfly in the area? Is this a real concern - details on recent trips would be most helpful - are the mosquito's bad all day or just at night.

Thanks for any advice.

Nowhere
Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
posts: 2,712
reviews: 57
1. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

Botflies are real - I had five. One afternoon, I fell asleep in a hammock without having put on insect repellent. I woke up with a few mosquito bites that simply never went away. Instead, the bumps developed a hole in the center and started to expel a brown/blood-like liquid (sorry for the details). Not only did they itch, but the occasionally hurt quite a bit - a very sharp pain.

I went to a local doctor who knew right away that it was botflies. He was surprised to see me with so many and asked if I had spent a lot of time around cows and horses - I had not. According to him, most people who get botflies do so because they are agricultural workers. Even then, they usually don't get that many.

He explained that the pain came from the maggots ripping some of my flesh off in order to eat it - resulting in the brownish liquid after the flesh had been digested.

I had all five surgically removed - even took a video of the little maggots once they had been removed from my body - they were desperately trying to get back in...

Use insect repellent - and don't worry too much. The average tourist has very little exposure to botflies.

Edited: 10:45 am, April 16, 2013
La Fortuna de San...
posts: 1,996
reviews: 107
2. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

I've lived here 4 years and only have heard of 1 dog in my area getting them but that's because he goes and plays in the fields with the cows. Even the person who had them above said it's not the "norm" for most people...a little bug spray and you should be good to go...too few & far between to worry about. :-)

Costa Rica
posts: 21,790
reviews: 26
3. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

I've lived here for more than 10 years and have heard of people getting botflies but never had them myself. My dog has them from time to time and if you catch it pretty quick it's easy and painless to treat. I do live in an area near some cows.

From what I have seen, I would guess that people with short hair (or not much hair!) might have more problems than others. However, this is just a guess on my part. If you are concerned, just wear a hat when you are outdoors (good idea anyway).

Nowhere
Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
posts: 2,712
reviews: 57
4. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

Yup, short haired people seem to have more problems than people with long hair - that's what I've hear as well.

I, however, had none of the botflies on my head. Instead I had them in my shoulder, upper arm, and my legs.

Treating them is as easy as getting anesthetic and a scalpel. I short incision and you can remove them with a pair of tweezers.

Or, you can simply wait until the fully developed larvae exit by themselves.

Costa Rica
posts: 21,790
reviews: 26
5. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

Sounds to me, Framptonian, like that was your unlucky day!

The treatment I use is slightly different. I put a bit of a larvacide (readily available at any vet office) on a cotton swab and then touch it on the hole where the larva is. After a couple of treatments -- it's done. No cutting involved!

Edited: 5:04 pm, April 17, 2013
Nowhere
Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
posts: 2,712
reviews: 57
6. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

LOL - indeed. Not my lucky day at all.

Are those larvicides approved for humans? I'd be a little concerned putting that stuff in an open wound - whether it's my arm or my head.

I've also read cases where the larva was embedded under the eye lid, or - hold your breath - in a scrotum...

Holy Guacamole.

Costa Rica
posts: 21,790
reviews: 26
7. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

Yeah....... I think at this point, I'm done with this conversation. Too much "eww"

Nowhere
Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
posts: 2,712
reviews: 57
8. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

Hahaha - you're welcome, Hattie.

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 2,056
reviews: 9
9. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

Framptonian - wow! I`m not sure how well I will sleep tonight. The only person I know worked with cows and got one in his bald head, supporting all previous information given. Yuck.

Nowhere
Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
posts: 2,712
reviews: 57
10. Re: Botfly problem near Man Ant.? Is this real or urban legend?

I have video - can't post it here, though.... Alas, youtube is your friend - but I won't post a link because some of these videos are NOT for the faint of heart.

Just use insect repellent - and don't fall asleep in a hammock without it...