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The Dreaded Mango Fly Babies

May 29, 2012

We had our first experience with mango fly larvae.  And any experience with them is awful.  But it happened to Amelia.  Read on…but I can assure you, this is gross.

Yesterday I noticed a large mosquito bite on Amelia’s side (she wasn’t wearing a shirt…it’s hot, you know?).  My mosquito bites get very large and irritated, so I really didn’t think much of it.  A few hours later, Matthew noticed it and said something.  I brushed it off with, yeah, it’s a mosquito bite, whatever.  Then he showed it to me.  It was not a mosquito bite.  It was a boil, but there was something about it that looked…off.  It looked liked something was in it.  So, I got to work sterilizing a sharp knife, while Matthew prepped Amelia.  He began to cut the boil and I couldn’t watch.  Which happened to also mean I couldn’t hold the flashlight for extra light or help hold her still, so we had to go to plan B.

Matthew took Amelia across the street to some friends.  They immediately knew what it was, since they’ve experienced it multiple times in their family, especially while living out in the jungle (where they are missionaries…they are in town getting supplies for a few weeks).  They helped pop the boil (no cutting is necessary, normally) and pull out the larvae.  Oh, what?  What was that?  A what????

It is mango season here.  Mango trees everywhere are dropping ripe mangos.  We have one in our backyard, even, but it’s impossible to reach the mangos because the trees are very tall (the Congolese have ways of getting them down).  During the mango season the mango fly is especially active.  And it likes to lay its eggs in wet stuff.  Mostly, it’s a concern for humans because our clothes are hanging outside to dry.  The typical scenario is this: your clothes dry outside and when you put them on, contact with your skin causes the egg to hatch and the larvae burrow into your skin.  Yep.  Gross.  The way to kill them is simple: heat.  Either iron everything or throw it in a dryer on high heat for 10 – 15 minutes.  I use the dryer method because it’s simplest and makes the clothes less stiff from drying in the sun.

However, sweating while outside can also be a draw to the mongo fly and it’ll hatch directly onto your skin.  I didn’t know that before…but, like I said, Amelia wasn’t wearing a shirt while we were outside.

The larvae are living in your skin.  I cannot get over it.  It wriggles while you are getting it out!  Now go have your lunch!  And I feel terrible that it happened to Amelia.  However, besides the pain while getting it out, she was fine by the time they were back at the house a few minutes later, just babbling away.  Today she seems super content, especially contrasted to the past week of teething and a ridiculously early morning this morning.  She’s crawling at full speed now…which is fun and tiring for the rest of us.

Next up: Picture Post!!!!  But I bet you’re glad we didn’t stop to take any pictures of this particular topic, huh?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tally permalink
    May 29, 2012 0829

    If you notice it again when it’s small, put a small amount of vaseline or triple antiobiotic ointment over it. It suffocates the larvae and you can you a tissue to pull it out when it comes up for air. I know it’s gross, but you’re being full-intiated now. Welcome to the wonderful, gross world of Congo! ❤

  2. Elsie Worthen (Vicki's Mom). permalink
    May 29, 2012 0829

    Happy all is well and you are now educated. BTW my niece’s name is Amelia Jane.

  3. January 20, 2014 0829

    The life of a missionary — I have heard many stories of the mango fly and the sand fleas. Uck!

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