While not common in the Okanagan, botflies can lay eggs in human flesh

Botflies nasty critters

Today's Bug of the Week is a nasty little critter.

Myles Stevenson sent in a picture of what he believes to be a botfly lounging on the deck of his Okanagan residence.

The botfly may not look too intimidating, but a little research uncovers the truth about this flying menace.

A Google search turns up several types of botfly, including an all black version similar to the one Stevenson spotted.

They are black with pale yellow markings and smoky wings and can grow to almost half an inch in length.

So what makes the botfly so unpleasant?

They are parasitic organisms, and some lay their eggs in mammals ... like human mammals.

According to the BC Medical Journal, a number of flies, mostly limited to South America, are known to invade human hosts and cause myiasis (infection of a fly larva in human tissue). The most well known is the human botfly.

But, fear not. The journal points out it is rare to get such an infection in North America.

According to Wikipedia, botflies, also known as warble flies, heel flies and gadflies, are a family of flies known as the Oestridae. Their larvae are internal parasites of mammals, some species growing in the host's flesh and others within the gut.

Have you had a close encounter of the insect variety? Send us a picture to [email protected].

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