• 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

“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 centimetres 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 centimetres 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 said it was like they were being "slapped in the face by a branch" while walking in the woods.

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-like 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)

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
National
Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud
The man used a chainsaw to destroy most of the Lidköping home. Photo: Shutterstock

Chainsaw man destroys house in family feud

A man in central Sweden has gone on a rampage with a chainsaw after a family housing dispute took an unexpected turn. READ  

National
Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer
The beggar was detained for almost 24 hours after the accusation. Photo: TT

Man frames beggar with stolen tablet computer

A man in southern Sweden has landed in hot water after he stole a tablet computer, gave it to a beggar, then reported her to the police. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden ready to use force to surface sub
The Swedish Armed Forces have sent out 200 troops. Photo: TT

Sweden ready to use force to surface sub

UPDATED: Sweden's military has announced that if it finds a suspect foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago, it is prepared to force it to the surface "with weapons if necessary". READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'
Former navy officer Bosse Linden in Vaxholm. Photo: Maddy Savage

Sub hunt: 'There is something out there'

Stockholm's archipelago is the focus of the biggest military operation in Sweden since the Cold War. The Local is in the region's capital, Vaxholm, to see what residents make of the drama. READ  

Presented by CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
CurrencyFair co-founder Brett Meyers

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers

Tired of losing money when you send cash back home? Join other expats in Sweden who avoid bank fees and hidden charges by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair, an online marketplace where secure transactions are faster and cheaper. READ  

European Union
Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Extremist saves Sweden Democrats' EU group

The EU group that bound several Eurosceptic parties including the Sweden Democrats has been saved by an MEP from a far-right Polish group, just a week after it appeared to have crumbled, according to a UK press report. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm
Sweden's Armed Forces are out in force after reports of a foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. Photo: TT

Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm

The world has had its periscope on Sweden since the Swedish military launched an extensive hunt for what is rumoured to be a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Here is the timeline of events so far. READ  

Business & Money
Profit leap for Swedbank
A branch of Swedbank in Malmö. Photo. TT

Profit leap for Swedbank

Swedbank has seen its profits rise higher than expected. READ  

New coalition
Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition
Stefan Löfven has changed his strategy on sick pay. Photo: TT

Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition

Small businesses won't face rising sick pay costs, following a policy reversal from Sweden's new coalition government. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'

The search for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago continues with "full strength" on Tuesday morning, according to Sweden's armed forces. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
National
Sweden deploys troops over underwater threat
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Blog updates

19 October

Getting it (Blogweiser) »

"Follow Joel Sherwood on FB Few watch baseball in Sweden. This is excellent when your team loses..." READ »

 

17 October

Editor’s Blog, Oct 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Here’s the whole week of news in just 60 seconds. The most-read story was about a..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
A Touch of Scandinavia: Reindeer in the kitchen
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Lifestyle
Sweden's The Bridge to become 'more Danish'
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Politics
Ten new minister faces you should know
Tech
First womb transplant baby in world born in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 5th
National
What's on in Sweden
National
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' protection
Society
Interview with Geena Davis: 'I want to be in a Swedish movie'
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

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
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN