• 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 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
My Swedish Career
American teams up with Swede to beat cancer
Matthew Volsky holding the Gynocoular colposcope which is used for screening cervical cancer. Photo: Gynocoular

American teams up with Swede to beat cancer

When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world. READ  

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Arla organic milk. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth

Swedes are spending more and more of their food budget on organic foodstuffs, with major supermarkets reporting double digit increases, according to new statistics. READ  

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow
The cow pictured is not the one in the story, and presumably not cranky. Photo: Mike Groll/TT

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow

Police in southern Sweden have issued a public warning about a pregnant cow on the loose, after two people were sent to the hospital after a hustle with the heifer. READ  

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights

About 170 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm on Wednesday have been stranded in Tel Aviv, with flights between the cities cancelled due to a missile striking near the airport. READ  

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Photo: Mark Lennihan/TT

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax

With EU countries' treatment of Bitcoin varying vastly, Sweden has asked for clear EU rules stipulating whether or not the cryptocurrency should be taxed. READ  

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify
Photo: Spotify

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify

US Internet giant Google tried last year to buy Sweden-based streaming music service Spotify, but pulled out due to the beefed-up price tag, according to a media report on Tuesday. READ  

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Drivers in western Sweden were forced to jam on the brakes after a van shed its load of preserves and juices which led to major traffic problems. READ  

Property of the Week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

Why settle for owning a house when you can own part of the island it is located on? This week's property allows you to get your money's worth of solitude while spending some time with your closest neighbour - the sea. READ  

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard
File photo: TT

Saab buys Swedish submarine shipyard

Swedish defence and aeronautics group Saab said Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp's submarine shipyard in southern Sweden. READ  

Opinion
'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'
File photo: Shutterstock

'The Danish narrative on Sweden is based on a lie'

There is a popular narrative that in Sweden people bite their tongues while in Denmark they speak their minds; political commentator Brian Esbensen debunks this, arguing that Danes simply find it easier to criticize others. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
National
Northern Sweden warmest in 90 years
Gallery
'Victoria Day': Crown Princess Victoria turns 37
Politics
Mona Sahlin to fight extremism in Sweden
National
EU tells Sweden to cover up snus flavours
Society
Swede snags assassin role in Tom Cruise film
Lifestyle
Top ten ways to spend a few days in Malmö
Gallery
Swedish summer tourism highlights
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
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

694
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
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
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