Breadfruit Sap and Bot Fly Larva

About: Jungles my home _ College now my life _ Mechanical Engineer to be _ An adventurer at heart

Th3_jungle_inv3ntor again.  In this instructables, I am going to outline for you a unique home and outdoors man remedy for removing bot fly larva.  For most people this knowledge, thankfully, will never be needed, but for those of you that spend time in tropical countries, you just might one day need this.  I enjoy learning about things just for the "just in case"  purpose,  that is what this is.  Enjoy!

What is a bot fly larva?
For most of you bot fly larva's are not a parasite you are very familiar with.   Basically, they are just what they sound like - the larva from bot flies.  Bot flies are a type of fly that are prevalent in Mexico and South America.  They aren't very conspicuous and don't attract much attention, but their larva do!  They start attracting attention when a large red spot appears on a persons skin.  I know it doesn't sound very lovely to have a fly larva in your skin, but  it is a  possibility if you live in the tropics.  Humans and most all mammals are susceptible to this large larva.   

How does it get into a person?
The way the bot fly larva gets into a person is truly amazing - of course it doesn't seem too amazing to the victim at the time.  The bot fly itself is much too large and noticeable to actually lay its eggs into its victim, so it harnesses a more subtle carrier - the mosquito.  Yep, those little pesky mosquito that are so common in the jungle are some bad little things, but they aren't carrying the bot flies eggs on purpose.  Here is what happens
The bot fly catches a mosquito in mid flight and glues about thirty eggs to the mosquitoes back.  The mosquito then goes and finds its meal  whether a human or other animal.  As the mosquito sucks out its meal, the warmth created starts to melt the eggs on the mosquito's back.  One or more of these eggs, end up in the hole that the mosquito made.  As you can guess, it is happily at home.  For six weeks the egg grows, hatches, and ultimately forms a nasty larva.  The victim starts to notice a large red bump at that time.  Lovely isn't it?  :)  It gets better.  :) If the larva is left long enough, the larva will grow too large to remain in its home and will eat its way out of the hosts skin.  The larva will eventually make it out of the host and will fall to the ground.  There on the ground, it will develop wings to become another bot fly to repeat the cycle.  It is a natural cycle, but unfortunately it isn't very pleasant for the humans or animals that are a part of the cycle.  The locals here call them mosquito worms.  They are a fairly common occurrence here and this is the standard, quick procedure to removing them.  

Thankfully, I have never had one of these nasty things, but unfortunately my sister has.  Read on to see the brilliant remedy.

Note of Caution:
As you can see in the picture, a bot fly larva isn't a very little larva!  They can be a real hazard.  First of all, the larva certainly doesn't want to leave.  As you can see in the picture, they have many rows of little barbs that act as a grip to prevent simply squeezing them out.  From what I have read on the internet, the professionals usually suggest surgery to remove them.  They can develop into a bad infection if all of the larva is not removed.

I am not responsible in any way to anything that may result from trying this.  I am merely suggesting a possible remedy.  I do not recommend trying this unless you are willing to take the risk.

I can't say home and nature remedies are much of my specialty, but this is an old remedy, I have learned in the jungle here.   I have to admit even some of these pictures of the larva make me a little queasy.  I definitely don't want to be a doctor.  :)  I should note though that my mom is a nurse so when my sister had one of these, we had a nurse's wisdom involved. 

Step two will answer a lot of questions so jump there.  After step three, the rest of this instructables isn't as gruesome so keep reading.  :)

Note:  The images of the the bot fly larva, bot fly, chewing gum, and spots aren't my pictures - I found them on Google images.  Credit goes else where for those. I don't think we took any pictures of my sister's "bot spot", and it is not like I want to get one of these to take pictures of.   :)  All the breadfruit pictures are my own photography. 

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Step 1: Simple Supplies!

The nice thing about this home remedy (or jungle remedy) is that it is easy to make. 

All you need for the jungle remedy is:

1.  Breadfruit tree 
2.  Machete

3.  Leaf possibly

For the city folks or those who don't have a bread fruit tree, you will need:

1.  Chewing gum

In my opinion bread fruit sap is better than using chewing gum, but both should work.  I told you the supplies were simple!  Jump to the next step to see how this works! 

For general information about breadfruit trees check out this: 

Step 2: The Simple Concept and Symptoms

By now you are probably are wondering if I am nuts.  I recommend bread fruit sap or chewing gum, but the doctors recommend surgery.  Read on!

Basically here is the concept:
As soon as a person or animal starts showing signs of a bot fly larva (discussed below) you either run to your breadfruit tree or grab a pack of chewing gum.  Both the chewing gum and the breadfruit sap form a very sticky mess when wadded up.  One of these sticky substances (in my case sap) is applied directly on top of the hole of the bot fly larva.  The sap blocks the hole causing the larva to stop getting air.  The larva then starts burrowing to the surface for fresh air where it runs into a sticky mess.  It continues to try to fight its way through the sticky mass, but alas, it gets stuck.  There it dies, and there, prompted by a  little squeezing and pulling, it comes out of the victims skin.  It usually all happens in a day at most.    Simple isn't it?

Symptoms of bot fly larva:
The symptoms of bot flies larva are pretty interesting.  First, a red bump will appear, as shown in the picture.  The thing that will probably bring the red bump to your attention is a itching and pricking sensation it gives.  At closer inspection a clear fluid can be seen around the hole.  If you really want to be sure that it is a larva, use a magnifying glass and closely watch the hole.  The larva breaths through its tail, and the rear can actually be seen coming to the top of the hole occasionally.  If you see that, you might be grossed out, but you can be pretty sure you have a bot fly larva living in your skin. 
For my sisters case (which was quite a few years ago) we used chewing gum, I think.  From dealing with breadfruit sap since then, I believe breadfruit sap would work much better.  It is VERY sticky. 
Besides, bread fruit sap is what the old timers here recommend.  Bread fruit trees were around long before chewing gum. 

As you can see in the picture, I simulated a larva spot on my hand by a little red x.  You can see in a picture from Google what a spot really looks like. 

Read on to learn how to harvest bread fruit sap.

Step 3: Harvesting Bread Fruit Sap

Harvesting bread fruit sap is simple.  All there is to it, is finding a bread fruit tree and giving it a good chop with the machete.  (You might want to wash your machete before you use it.  If the machete is anything like ours, it kills snakes, weeds around trees, chops trees, digs holes, and does about everything else.) Younger bread fruit trees seem to have a little more sap in them so if you have a choice you might want to pick a younger one.  Don't worry, it won't hurt the tree unless it is really small - though I doubt you should do this on another person's tree.  Once chopped, the tree should start oozing plenty of white sap.  That is it!  Leave the sap there for a day, and it will cure into a sticky mess. 

Step 4: Applying the Sap

After waiting a day from when you chopped the tree, return and behold the sticky mass.  Now is the fun part.  Peal the sap off the tree, wad it into a ball, and stick it right over the bot fly larva's hole.  That will effectively stop air reaching the larva.   You might want to put a band aid over this to keep the sap from sticking to every thing. 

Step 5: Extracting the Larva!

Once the sap or gum has been on for a day or so, it is time to get that thing out of there.  Start peeling off the sticky mess and see if you can see the larva.  If it doesn't come completely out with just the sap, you may need to squeeze it a bit.  My sister's larva took quite a bit of squeezing to come out. 

Once out,  I would recommend cleaning the wound with something to prevent infection. 

Step 6: Finished!

Now you know how to do it!  Whether you are in the city or living in the jungles of S.A. you can say you know how to do it!

About my sister, this remedy as I mentioned worked for her.  She was fine and suffered no ill effects except a small scar.  She is currently enrolled in college and is studying nursing.  My mom and her love natural remedies and know lots of them.

This instructables is a little out of my (and instructables) ordinary, but I hope you enjoyed it.  I enjoy passing on things I have learned. 


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    15 Discussions


    1 year ago on Step 6

    Awesome! This article was very informative, interesting, and without doubt, it was SOOO funny! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!


    5 years ago

    Thanks for the project if I ever get one of me I will do it!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Bot flies are NASTY!!!

    I tried the petroleum jelly method first and it poked through to breathe... I used the clear tape and watched it try to poke through... that's when I got mad... and evil...

    I used a glob of Tiger Balm ointment on mine and covered that with
    packing tape to be sure the lil beast couldn't breath. it must have
    cooked him in my flesh. he popped out with ease the next day.

    Thanks for the comment! I finally have found someone who knows what I am talking about. Yes, petroleum jelly can be used. I believe the petroleum jelly simply suffocates the larva. The breadfruit sap not only suffocates it, but it will also trap the larva in its stickiness as it comes to the top. Once again, thanks for the comment.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    It was nice to see your pictures of breadfruit trees. It reminds me of my youth in Puerto Rico. Breadfruit was brought to tropical America as sustenance to the African slaves. After peeling the skin and removing the seeds of a green breadfruit, the pulp of the breadfruit is boiled in water until it gets soft. It is great covered in olive oil and served with codfish or fried pork.

    1 reply

    Breadfruits are great tasting! I like to eat them when they are sliced into thin pieces and lightly fried. Thanks for the comment.

    This is an interresting topic, and kinda... well... morbidly interresting for lack of a better word. Thanks for sharing this, although I hope that I will never actually need this... Then again, who does?

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment! I am glad you like it! I do hope hope you will never need this, but hey, if you do, this is better than surgery in my opinion. :)