The life cycle of the botfly is a special one. An adult fly, full of eggs and joie de vivre, lands on a mosquito. What results is something that looks like a brutal mugging, but instead of taking anything, our ladyfly leaves a gift for our blood-sucking victim.
She leaves her eggs.
The hapless mosquito, violated and confused, eventually recovers from the attack and does that special thing that mosquitos do: it feeds on the blood of mammals. Once the mosquito has had its dinner, the botfly eggs fall into the little hole created by the mosquito's proboscis. Once inside, well, you know the story by now. It feeds on your body, turning human flesh to fly flesh, and emerges for another generation of carnage.
But why, oh why, do so many gruesome images of botflies on people's scalps and eyes flourish on the internet? Are the mosquitoes attracted to those areas?
In short, yes. The only effective deterrent against mosquitoes, as we all know well, is bug repellent, preferably with loads of DEET. Most people don't think to put repellent on their scalps, ears, or so close to their eyes. As a result, the mosquito goes to the only place it feels its wanted, and your scalpy companion is the end result.
The next time you are applying bug repellent in the jungle, remember that. Alternatively, you might experiment with leaving a bit of tasty arm free, making an easier feast and maybe a more removable botfly. My recommendation is simple: Don't skimp on the DEET and wear clothes treated with permethrin. A pair of pretreated pants might run you $70 dollars, but they do last for about as many washes. There are also much more affordable kits that will do the job for 6 weeks or six washes, whichever comes first.