The human bot fly, Dermatobia hominis (Linnaeus Jr., 1781), is a large, densely haired fly that looks like a bumblebee (Kahn 1999). The human bot fly is native to Central and South America. The fly is not known to transmit disease-causing pathogens, but the larvae of D. hominis will infest the skin of mammals and live out the larval stage in the subcutaneous layer, causing painful pustules that secrete fluids. The infestation of any fly larvae inside the body is known as myiasis.
Dermatobia hominis larvae cause a raised lesion in the skin that becomes hard and sometimes painful. In some cases the patients can feel the larvae moving when they shower or cover the wound (Haruki et al. 2005, Sampson et al. 2001). The host reacts with elevated white cell counts and a high amount of macrophages can be found around the wound. For this reason, the lesion often secretes pus.
Dermatobia hominis survives in its host by breathing through spiracles that are flush with the skin. In order to coax the larva out, the spiracles need to be covered. They can be covered with bacon, petroleum jelly, beeswax, or any other thick substance that prevents the larvae from breathing. The larvae will come up out of the lesion to breathe allowing it to be removed with forceps.
In some cases the larva maybe popped out by applying pressure around the wound. Tamir et al. (2003b) cited a technique that used two wooden spatulas to apply pressure to pop the larva out. There may be some difficulty with this method due to the spines that anchor the larvae in the wound.
Dermatobia hominis is indigenous from Mexico in the north to Paraguay and northeast Argentina in the south.