• Sweden edition
 
Swedish insect shoots larvae into victims' eyes
It may look like a bumble bee but really it is an elk bot fly.

Swedish insect shoots larvae into victims' eyes

Published: 04 May 2011 16:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 May 2011 16:05 GMT+02:00

A bumble bee-resembling fly hovering in front of your face could be an elk bot fly preparing to shoot larvae into your eyes.

“It was uncomfortable and hurt a bit,” said Malin Hallgren who had 30 eggs ejected into her eye by the insect.

Bot fly larvae is a parasite that mainly feeds on the mucus of elks and deer.

Up until recently the insect was only found in elks in the north of Sweden but it has now been detected as far south as Jönköping, in the county of Småland, south of Stockholm.

A full grown insect measures around two centimeeters and looks a bit like a hairy fly or a bumble bee. After mating the female looks for an appropriate host for her offspring.

This is usually elks or deer, but sometimes, she will mistake human eyes for elk nostrils.

The pregnant female shoots her already hatched larvae at the host animal’s nostrils. The larvae travel into the nose where they feed on mucus.

From there the larvae wriggle down to the throat where they reach their third stage of development.

When the larvae reach about 4 centimers their movements tickle the nose of the animal, which sneezes them out together with mucus and blood on to the ground where they then continue to the next stage in their development.

In an article in the Swedish medical paper Läkartidningen, professor of entomology Thomas G T Jaenson describes such an attack on a Swedish woman in a forest in central Sweden last autumn.

According to Jaenson, the fly was hovering close to the woman’s face and suddenly shot “several microscopic larvae” into one of her eyes.

About 30 whitish larvae were later removed from the eye, but she had a persistent feeling of “creeping larvae” in the eye and nose area.

Later that day two more larvae were removed.

Three similar, previously published cases also took place in the late summer last year in Finland.

The victims, walking in the woods, describe the incidents as if they were "slapped in the face by a branch".

According to Jaenson, the larvae rarely, if ever, reach stage two in human hosts. But they will cause conjunctivitis in the eye, with symptoms such as a stinging or burning sensation, increased tear flow and an aversion to light.

If the larvae are not removed they will attach themselves to the cornea and the eyelid. If one was to penetrate into the eye the damage could potentially be extensive.

Jaenson’s advice to members of the public who enjoy walking in the woods is to immediately swat away any bumble bee-resembling insects that seem to hover in front of the face.

“Otherwise there is a risk of getting small larvae shot at one of your eyes, “ he wrote.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:43 May 4, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Right, that's it, I'm leaving. When's the next plane to anywhere?
17:49 May 4, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:39 May 4, 2011 by Swedesmith
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:11 May 4, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:39 May 4, 2011 by swedejane
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:12 May 4, 2011 by expatjourno
I'm outta here.
21:50 May 4, 2011 by Frank Lee
Let's get this straight: global warming is causing insects to migrate south?
23:48 May 4, 2011 by Bigd
""Jaenson's advice to members of the public who enjoy walking in the woods is to immediately swat away any bumble bee-resembling insects that seem to hover in front of the face. ""

erm...how about to just wear Sunglasses!

(rollseyes)
00:22 May 5, 2011 by lordmagneto
A bumble bee-resembling fly hovering in front of your face could be an elk bot fly preparing to shot larvae into your eyes.

Isn't this a typo. "preparing to shot larvae" instead of "preparing to shoot larvae"? Just curious. That's one funny bug.
07:09 May 5, 2011 by Tdye
what!...i just...what?

i guess Sweden cant be all beautiful land and women, guess there had to be something crazy there
12:20 May 5, 2011 by Angry Ami
@Bigd

LOL, funny none of the experts quoted in the article brought that up
12:20 May 5, 2011 by flintis
Funny they should mention this, I have seen several of what I believed to be harmless Bee's in my garden in the last weeks, now I know to swat 'em.
12:25 May 5, 2011 by thindi
Swedish Insect? I don't think insects have nationalities. What about incidents in Finland? Were those insects Swedish or Finnish? I always see some Swedish, Sweden prefixes with almost all the article.
14:41 May 5, 2011 by Grindsprint
I´ll be spending this summer indoors :S
19:09 May 5, 2011 by Tanskalainen
I'm depressed that they removed my post. I think I'll walk in the woods and let a fat bumble-bee squirt me.
23:28 May 5, 2011 by soultraveler3
Yuck! :/

Think I'll hang out indoors along with Grind lol.
12:19 May 6, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
@William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha - "Right, that's it, I'm leaving. When's the next plane to anywhere?"

My thoughts EXACTLY!!! I'm still laughing! I love it when "truer words" ARE spoken.

Suddenly I do not mind wearing glasses! Normally I just ask the bug in my face to go away but now I will have no problem forcefully removing them.

I think the title gave me the impression that the eggs went INSIDE the eyeball. I suppose it should have said "Swedish insect shoots larvae AT victims' eyes" - then again, maybe the title is correct.
12:55 May 6, 2011 by DamnImmigrant
If the picture shows what they really look like - DAMN - I too just thought they were bees! Shouldn't this kind of info be out there more?
15:09 May 6, 2011 by Wireless.Phil
There is a Flick'r photo of one of these and it looks nothing like the one posted in this article. The hover-fly colors are reversed, black on the head and tail, light orange or golden band in the middle.

Flick'r: "Hoverfly resembling a bumble bee"

www.flickr.com/photos/martyp78/2887954443/
15:49 May 6, 2011 by eovti
This is one of the scarier things I've read lately :-O
15:47 May 8, 2011 by motAB
Cool! It seems that evolution has just found another way...
15:04 May 9, 2011 by mikewhite
Watch out for an egg-shaped thing that fires its larva which clasps over your throat ... especially if you're John Hurt.
Today's headlines
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV
Grossed out Ica woman at Easter dinner. Screengrab from Ica

Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off TV

A Swedish supermarket has decided to withdraw its Easter commercial, after Christians complained it made a mockery of communion - "They crossed the line." Sweden's advertising watchdog will now look into the case. READ () »

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut
The search and rescue operation in northern Sweden. File photo: TT

Dismemberment killer gets sentence cut

The 22-year-old man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in northern Sweden had his sentence reduced on Wednesday, in part due to his "peculiar personality". READ () »

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

School gas leak sends 25 to hospital

An elementary school in southern Sweden was evacuated on Wednesday and dozens of pupils were taken to hospital after the smell of gas spread through the rooms. READ () »

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock
The Flymen Church weathercock in all its newly gilded glory. Photo: TT

Swedes vote for country's nicest cock

A Swedish churchwarden has reacted with joy upon finding out the parish has Sweden's nicest weathercock. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Advertisement:
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Society
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
TT
Society
VIDEO: Leaked 'Save Slussen' film goes viral
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

741
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com