The Bot Fly, Beef Worms and other joys of traveling

This is my introduction to the Bot fly, the Beef Worm, and the technique used to get the parasite out of ones body, after the infestation.


A picture of a Beef Worm

Photo credits to Idiot

Exciting day today. I have had a bump beside my ear for about a week. Carpio, Jack’s little renter that uses the basement downstairs, looks at it and says I have a “Beef Worm”. This I do not need to hear.

He covers it with Vick’s Vapour Rub, and puts a band-aid on it. “We’ll get it out later” he tells me. Marvey, I think.

On the way down to breakfast, I stop into the hospital just to double-check this analysis. Nurse tells me basically to do what this Carpio fellow has done. Try and cut off the beef worm’s oxygen supply so it comes out from underneath the skin. This is FUN, I think to myself. Just what I want – worms in my body!!

I usually go to the same place to eat, and today the concern is the hurricane that may come.

The fellow who owns “Crown Restaurant” is a retired merchant Marine.

He missed the jungle and Belize. That is why he came back.

I am sitting there, listening to this, and wondering, “What did you miss about this place?”

Hot , humid, people are poor, and now I know you can get worms from fly bites. And this guy has missed this – OK, about that……..

Done with breakfast, I search for something to “seal’ the air holes that supply the “Beef Worms”.

Crazy glue, hard on the skin! Rubber cement is expensive here. Hardware store does not have anything I think will be good.

I go into a boat repair place, nothing catches my attention, like ” Hey, this will work” Something for a seal on a hole – what the heck to get??

Then it hits me – nail polish – used to seal finger nails right? Hard, spreads on as a liquid, won’t cause the skin to stick together, like crazy glue would. Can’t be too expensive, as I have seen women from all walks of life here with good-looking nails.

Sure enough, a small grocery store has some for $1.50 U.S. Bingo – this stuff will work to cut off the air supply, and stay in place once applied.

I head back to Jack’s place. He and his wife have rented me a room in their house. Great hosts, and have a jungle smart guy for a renter down stairs – Carpio – smart guy, who’s going to help me out with the dreaded “Beef Worm”!

Greeted by Carpio, who has it in his mind to get this worm out from just beside my ear.

If you follow my jaw bone,just before that little piece of cartilage that pops up when you try to put your finger in your ear – right there is where that little bug has grown, that little bloody worm!!

So , the way to get this thing out is to squeeze the skin together. Like someone pinching you real hard. He’s trying to squeeze this thing from under my skin – to get its little head to show so he can grab it and pull it out. Now, sit back and think about that for a moment…………It is big enough to have a head and a body – growing under my skin – and I think I have two others in me. Just like home – NOT!!

So , at it he goes.  Squeezes the skin together , gets his wife to bring out a pair of tweezers, and starts trying to get a hold on his ( The beef worm’s) head.

Success! – he gets it, I feel a little twinge of pain and sure enough, he drops down this little worm (about 1/8 of an inch long!) on the rail. I find this really hard to believe – this bloody “beef” worm has eaten a part of my body, grown from a bite from a fly! What the HECK!!!

He looks over my bites, one is mosquito and two more look like infection from the dreaded Bot fly, the “Beef Worm” carrier.

Good God all mighty. I have not gone anywhere that was what I would consider dirty, or someplace I should not have gone. Blue Hole National Park and Cockscomb Wildlife Reserve is where I got nailed by the Bot fly. These are well-known spots for traveler’s to visit.

This is normal for a visiting tourist? Yup, is what Carpio tells me. Normal stuff like this in Belize. Malaria and Dengue fever still around these parts.

Bot fly and some other one that is even more dangerous – flesh-eating infestation into the body, if you get bit by that one. I do not think that one has bit me. (God , I hope not!!)

So, I have bought some nail polish. Have to put something on the bite that seals off the air to this “Beef Worm’, so it comes to the surface. I put nail polish over the bite on my back, and the one on my calve.

I take a nap, and when I awake, the bite on my back is bothering me. I want to scratch it, know I should not. Talk to Carpio, he says wait a bit. I wait, and wait. I Really want to scratch that thing, but if I do , I take off the nail polish that has cut of the air to that little “Beef Worm”

AGGHHH – About an hour, and I go back to Carpio _ “Let’s get this thing out!!”

So, again the pinch – this is much harder than the pitch to my ear – this one HURTS!!

He uses my shirt to get the liquid off as the thing comes up from underneath my skin – the liquid is the “Beef Worms” waste. Marvey – this is real fun.

Pinch a little on top of the BIG pinch. He’ s trying to grab the worm as it gets forced up and out of my skin. Success, after about 3 little pinches.

This one is smaller than the first. Maybe 1/16 of an inch long. I am still amazed – these things are growing or have grown in my body. I still have that one left on the calve of my right leg.

Carpio tells me it is not big enough yet, as he squeezes the bump/bite on my right calve. I think ,” This thing – I have to let it grow bigger UNDER MY SKIN???”

Or the nail polish suffocates the worm , it dies, then we get it out in about 2 or 3 days. Carpio”s answer, his solution to the problem, and no comfort to me.

So , I wait – did I kill it or is it working its way up to the skin to try to breathe – the one in my right calve?

Not part of the travel plans. Not in any visitor brochure that I ever read on the internet. What is up with that??

Just another little story of the adventures of The Big Mozey.

Bump by my ear has not gone down that much, so still putting nail polish on that area in case the first “beef worm” has brothers or sisters in there.

One on the right calve is no trouble – does not itch, but has this bump. I will have to wait and see what “Doctor” Carpio has to say in the next couple days.

The “Jewel, Belize” is another wives tale, a marketing ploy. Rough and tumble, with chances of catching stuff you do not want to catch. Figure 4 x 4 trips to any ruins.

Fly and mosquito bites, included in the price of the trip taken here. In Belize, A/ C is a great luxury, and clean restaurants are few and far between. A poor country with a long road to go, to get into the 21st century.

Accept it for what it is – a 3rd world country . Diseases still around, bugs that are not found in the northern part of the America’s.

Poor infrastructure, but friendly people. Rugged trips to any ruins, limited things to do, and archaic laws and taxes.

Come in with both eyes wide-open, and you might enjoy Belize and what it has to offer.

Just do not get what the Bot fly has to offer you – painful little worms that are not pleasing to host.

Cheers for now

About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
This entry was posted in Belize - the country, people, and pictures, The Bot Fly, Beef Worms and other joys of traveling and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Bot Fly, Beef Worms and other joys of traveling

  1. bad credit says:

    Sounds disgusting but glad you were able to get them out.

  2. John Wilson says:

    Actually, it was pretty disgusting, the idea of having worms growing in my body.
    One of the worse feelings, because I had to let them grow in order to eventually get them out.
    John D. Wilson

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