Since arriving in Belize, we've gotten our share of insect bites:  mosquitoes, sand flies, and various biting ants are fairly ubiquitous, at least when there is no wind or it's blowing from the right direction.  We've been lucky enough not to be stung by any yellow jackets or hornets to date.  However, on our recent trip to the mainland, we experienced a biting insect we knew nothing about.  We're now properly educated!

There we were, innocently walking from our cabana over to breakfast through the grass at Mama Noots Eco-Resort in Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the Stann Creek District of Belize.  We hadn't bothered to put on any insect repellent for such a short walk, though of course we'd planned on slathering ourselves with it before our hike in the jungle after breakfast.  All of a sudden, we noticed that we were attracting little black, gnat-like bugs, especially on our lower legs.  It felt like they were biting us, though their bites didn't hurt or sting badly like a fire ant bite; it was just a passing annoyance, kind of like a no-see-um bite.  After slapping at them awhile, we realized that where each one bit us, there was a small drop of blood.

As we arrived at the dining room, we ran into Liz, the proprietor, with one of the zip-line workers.  We asked them about the bites, and they immediately recognized that they were made by some sort of fly.  I could never understand exactly what they were saying; it sounded like "bottle fly", but maybe they'd called it "blood fly"?  The latter was certainly fitting! 

Here's how the bites looked the day I got bit.  Not too bad yet.
We didn't give the bites much more thought until that night, when I realized that not only were my calves and shins itching like crazy, they were swelling up, especially the right one, where I'd gotten many more bites, for some reason.  The bites were redder and more inflamed, and the skin on my lower right leg felt tight and hot to the touch.  I've had bites that itched this bad before (fire ants -- ugh), but never accompanied by this amount of generalized swelling.  Plus, as time went on, I could see how many bites I'd gotten, since each one was marked with a blood drop that began red but soon turned to black.  NOT a pretty sight.  And we were not very close to medical care, being in an off-grid jungle resort, so I hoped they wouldn't be even worse in the morning and require medical care.  I counted 87 bites on my right leg alone!
Fortunately, although the bites continued to look really bad for the next couple of days, and my right lower leg remained swollen and inflamed, I didn't seem to be getting much worse after that first night, so I didn't seek any medical care.  I'd brought plenty of Benedryl (an essential in Belize), which I lived on for the next few days to try to help with the itching and swelling.  I guess I am quite allergic to these strange bites, since Barry didn't swell up nor have nearly the itching that I did.  Liz also confirmed that she barely noticed them.  Somehow I managed to hike even with the swollen leg, and with plenty of insect repellent, don't think I got too many more bites after that first morning.

By the time we got home from our late July trip, my legs were feeling a lot better.  The swelling was gone and the itching was much less, but they still looked bad.  It took a couple of weeks for all the little scabs to fall off.  

As soon as we unpacked, we googled to find out more about these mystery flies, and although information was sparse, we did find a few things.

They are not bottle nor blood flies, nor are they (thank the gods) bot flies, the awful creatures whose larvae burrow under the skin of humans.  They are sometimes referred to as bot-less flies because of this fact; but the correct name is BOTLASS Fly (Diptera: Simuliidae; blackflies, bloodsucking insects).  They are a local type of blackfly and are apparently found primarily in the Silk Grass Creek area of Belize [ref: http://biological-diversity.info/Downloads/Mayflower_REA_s.pdf, search for botlass], which is very close to Mayflower Bocawina Park and Mama Noots.  We found several mentions of them in blogs and forums solely in this area, but no mention of them elsewhere in Belize, nor have we encountered them anywhere else in the country where we have traveled fairly extensively.  
Picture
Tiny Botlass Fly packs a mean punch
Fortunately, the referenced report states that botlass flies are not known to spread any diseases.  Actually, even a month earlier (June) when we were in the same park, we didn't get a single bite, so they must be seasonal as well.

This photo was taken on the last night of our trip, and you can see bites on my lower right leg. 
And you can see them here, the day we arrived home.
I'm pleased to say that within a couple of weeks of arriving home, all the bites had healed, and I don't even believe I have any scarring, thankfully.  I hope this is the worst the jungle ever has to throw at me!
9/2/2012 03:18:54 pm

Damn those jungle bugs!!! I have a picture on my blog somewhere of my brother-in-laws legs when he visited us here in February and we went back to Davis Falls - Oh my Lord! Just as bad as yours, if not worse!!
Maybe you get used to them because I used to spot up but now I just get that little blood dot for a few minutes and it disappears. Someone told me that the bugs would ruin my legs if I moved up here - but they're, lucky, not scarred up at all..... yet!

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BeBelize Emily
9/2/2012 11:03:30 pm

Maybe you do build up a tolerance (I am very glad that you seem to have!!), but I am not going to test that theory. ;-) I actually didn't get photos of my right leg at the very worst. For a couple of days, the bites and the swelling was worse than the photos at the top (which were day and night 1 of the bites) and the photos at the bottom (day 6 and 7). I didn't want to scare anyone too badly. I am just very glad that they don't leave scars and that I don't live where I get bit by them. Have never encountered them on Ambergris Caye, or anywhere else in Belize other than right near Silk Grass. Whew!

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Bree
2/8/2013 05:19:54 pm

I was horseback diving through the jungle and in the Silk Grass area and I have 16-20 bites that are little hard dots. They itch like hell an I hope that they disappear soon. Four days of hell, not looking forward to weeks more of this.

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BeBelize Emily
2/8/2013 10:02:35 pm

They are miserable, aren't they? I am sorry you got them too! I found that hydrocortisone cream helped a bit and also oral Benedryl. Have not gotten these bites anywhere else in Belize, thank goodness!

9/2/2012 10:48:18 pm

So glad your bites were not bot flies.

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BeBelize Emily
9/2/2012 11:10:31 pm

I know -- can you imagine?! One botfly bite would be horrific enough, but that many!?

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Carmen
9/4/2012 04:30:37 pm

My legs look like that from sandflies. Haven't had any of those for awhile, though. Bot fly larvae----6 weeks after we arrived back in Colorado last year, I ended up in outpatient surgery to remove a bot fly infestation in my upper inner thigh. It was horrible! My doctor said she has removed several bot flies over the years...and all of them came from people back from Belize. (I have since learned that locals remove them in much simpler ways).

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BeBelize Emily
9/4/2012 10:47:11 pm

Oh, how horrible! I pray I never get a bot fly, but I would be interested in the local's removal methods just in case! As for sandflies, I mostly got those bites back in Oct/Nov last year, so either they are a more seasonal thing, or (less likely), I've become more immune to them. I also got a lot of them in January on a trip to Placencia. They do itch, but they never made my legs look like they did with the botlass flies, nor did I get generalized swelling of the extremities. I usually run inside before I get many bites, though. With the botlass, I had no idea how many bites I'd gotten until after the fact. I got all those in about five minutes!

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timbercroftdan
1/3/2016 04:43:09 pm

The Belize local solution for BotFly larva is cello (as in Scotch Tape). .Place over bite and larva comes up for air and sticks to tape. Remove larva with tape. Worked with my 1 year-old daughter years ago.

Karen S.
1/24/2013 04:56:35 am

Thank you for your blog! I have just returned from a Belize vacation (1/14/14-1/21/13). We went to Mama Noots to zipline. I DID have bug spray on but, still my legs got very bitten up by some tiny black bug! It rained so maybe the bug spray wore off? Several of us got bitten but, I seemed to have gotten it the worst. I had the same reaction: bite marks with blood in the middle, itchy, slightly swollen legs. I am home now but, still very itchy. I am using hydocortizone cream which seems to help. I still may call my Dr. if not healed up soon. I am relieved that this isn't too serious! Thanks again for posting! Karen S. Pittsburgh, PA.

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BeBelize Emily
1/25/2013 02:59:46 am

Hi Karen -- Sure sounds like you were a victim of the botlass flies as well. Who knows if bug spray even works on those little devils! It did take them awhile to stop itching and heal up, but they did, and I didn't even get any scars. I took Benedryl for a couple of weeks to help with the swelling and itching. Unless yours get worse or don't continue to improve, you probably won't need a doctor's visit. Good luck!

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Sheila
2/7/2013 09:41:34 am

We just got back from Dangria , hiking Davis Falls and got the same type of bites. The bites were only on my arms around my elbows. Strange. We are still itching, but really really glad to know that it WILL clear up & leave no scars.

Jack Linker
10/20/2013 12:43:27 am

After living over 20 years in every district in Belize, I still am not immune to the bite of the botlass fly. But I still use the remedy I found out from a bush doctor on the Hummingbird Highway ...squeeze the blood blister asap. This seems to get rid of the poison and the cause of the itching. I think the swelling is caused by scratching the bite, a no-no. This is why I stay out of the bushes and hang in Amigos Bar on the Western Hyw where there are also plenty of the Botlass, Bot and other "biting in sex".!

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Emily
10/20/2013 07:04:13 am

I swear I didn't scratch them, though, Jack! I think maybe I just got so many bites on that one leg that I had a localized allergic reaction. I would have certainly squeezed the blister if I'd thought or known it might help; I had no clue. They sure were miserable but thankfully leave no permanent scars.

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edee
11/15/2013 10:24:34 pm

I have just returned from Belize (Nov5-Nov14) and my legs and feet are burning, itchy and swollen with bites. It seems like I continue to find new places that are itchy. How long does it take before these bites go away?

BeBelize Emily
11/16/2013 01:07:08 am

Hi Edee -- Do your bites look like the botlass fly bites I described in this post? If they don't have the tell-tale blood dot on the bite, they are probably either sand flies (no-see-ums) or even fire ants, which commonly attack the feet. I got both these types of bites in Belize, and the itch tended to go on off and on for a couple of weeks. However, everyone has different sensitivity levels to the bites, and it sounds like you are definitely allergic. I would get swelling from ant bites as well. In my case, taking oral Benedryl and using hydrocortisone cream helped a lot until the itching was done. If you continue to get worse, I'd see a doctor. And try not to scratch them as you can introduce bacteria and end up with an infection -- I know it's hard when they itch like crazy! Good luck!

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Heather
11/28/2013 11:17:21 am

Thank you so much for this post. I just returned from Belize and after receiving 45+ bites there by what I thought was some strange sort of tiny mosquito, and worrying about things like malaria and dengue, I was not able to find much info on these "botlass flies" at all until I came across your site. The picture of the bugs, the bites and how they occurred is exactly what I experienced. I feel so relieved (even if a little blotchy-legged) to have some more information.

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BeBelize Emily
11/29/2013 10:40:33 am

So glad the post helped you out, Heather. It was a miserable experience, but fortunately the misery was relatively short-lived. Hope your bites are gone very soon!

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Bug Bite Hell
12/3/2013 12:13:41 am

Just got back from Hopkins area (last week of November). Now I know why the staff at every single resort up and down our beach was raking the sand at sun up - and I just thought they were doing it to make things "look nice"- Not!

I've got the same bites you and everyone else mentions: about 40 on each leg and 10 on each arm. They didn't show up until last day of trip when I'm guessing, the night before I was on the beach at dusk from 5-5:30 without bug spray. These are rough, seems worse than the mosquito bites I've suffered in Peru and Mexico. Only slept about 4 hours the past 2 nights. Caking myself with caladryl and benadryl. This is the 4th day of their existence so I hope the worst is over

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Tracy
12/25/2013 09:01:13 pm

We just returned from Belize, when we had visited the zoo we kept seeing these red blood dots on everyone legs that had shorts on, I was one of them. I never felt the bites at all. They didn't really itch too much right away . It's actually far worse now that we are home . My red dots have turned into pinkish to clear small bumps like the size of a small mascito bite, but oh my gosh they itch , I am trying not to scratch them, we were at the Zoo a week ago today 12/19/13 . Does this sound like everyone else so I know it's from Bot-less Flies and NOT the Bot Fly. And how do I know the difference and what should I be looking for? BeBelize Emily you mentioned about a local Belize remedies

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BeBelize Emily
12/25/2013 09:59:48 pm

Hi Tracy -- sorry to hear that you were bitten too. It's hard to tell if you were bitten by botlass flies or sandflies. Sandfly bites can be incredibly itchy too, if you're allergic. My botlass fly bites changed from blood dots to black dots (which was the dried blood). Yours might just be sandflies if you didn't see them turn to black dots. Sandflies are more common than botlass flies. As for bot flies, you'll have to google -- I have no idea what those bites look like, but I don't think they're that numerous, so since you have lots of bites, they're probably NOT botflies! Sorry, I don't know any local remedies -- I used hydrocortisone cream on the bites and took oral Benedryl as well. Eventually the itching stopped, and the bites faded away.

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Heather
12/30/2013 12:11:44 pm

Ugh, I have a bunch of these too from the zoo! They are terribly itchy! I am hoping they are only the botlass. Did they make you feel sick at all? Are you feeling any relief from the itch a week later?

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Jack Linker
12/31/2013 03:57:07 am

If you didn't scratch the bit(s), that sounds too long. Maybe they got infected and you are still scratching. Try anti-itch such as benidril. Or, maybe u r alergic. Good luch, and come back but next time DO NOT SCRATCH. Happy New Year from Punta Gorda, no botlass flys here.

Jack

Jack Linker
12/31/2013 03:57:47 am

If you didn't scratch the bit(s), that sounds too long. Maybe they got infected and you are still scratching. Try anti-itch such as benidril. Or, maybe u r alergic. Good luch, and come back but next time DO NOT SCRATCH. Happy New Year from Punta Gorda, no botlass flys here.

Jack

Pepe Peru
1/5/2014 12:01:52 pm

We just came back from a cruise to Belize. We went to the Zoo and found us bitten by those Botlass flies. I saw my drops of blood in my daughter's legs and then saw the same happening in my hands and elbows.

The lesions turned into a small dots in the next 24 hours but then the scary part came when a week later they reappeared as itchy papule (elevated lesions) that were painful to my daughter. I took her to the Dermatologist because I thought that this was a delayed reaction and that eggs were deposited by the flies.

It sounds that this is not the case, still I will keep an eye in those bumps that still show in both of us. I will follow this if things change.

In the meantime, be sure to use good insect repellent because those have been nasty nerve wracking bites because I never saw somebody bleeding from a mosquito bite.

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BeBelize Emily
1/5/2014 10:09:02 pm

Hi Pepe, I am sorry to hear that your daughter and you suffered from these bites as well. Since there are so many reports of people getting them at the Belize zoo this year, I have to assume they have spread. When I got my bites at Mama Noots and did my research, the only information I could find mentioned that the botlass flies were fairly isolated to the Silk Grass region of Belize. Sounds like they might be spreading. I hope your daughter heals up -- my bites hung around for a long time but never disappeared only to reappear later. Sounds like you did the right thing in taking her to the dermatologist. And you're right, a good insect repellent is a very smart thing to use anytime you're heading into the bush or jungle in Belize!

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Pepe Peru
1/6/2014 11:20:35 am

Thanks Emily. I was doing some search about the bites and seems that some people like me and my daughter can have a delayed reaction to the anticoagulant meaning that your are bitten in day one (have the slight bleed) then the next day only a small red spot and shows and then 3 to 5 days later they reappear much worse that on day # 1 quite itchy and even painful. My daughter and me did are now doing much better with antihistaminic per mouth (Allegra o Benadryl) and an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream (1%). Your blog was the best reference to help me to understand what happened to us. Enjoy your time in Punta Gorda.. Greetings from Houston.

1/6/2014 11:29:56 pm

Glad to hear that you and your daughter are doing better, Pepe! By the way, the original post was made in September 2012, and we are actually back in the US now (not in Punta Gorda). In fact, we're spending this month in Corpus Christi, not too far from you. Glad our blog was helpful -- we are leaving it up just because of things like this!

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Pepe Peru
1/15/2014 11:17:53 am

Hi Emily: I hope you guys are having a good time in Corpus Christi. The botlass' bites have healed and we are doing well. We were bitten because we forgot the repelent in the ship cruise. However, one of the cruise mates allow us to use some of his repelent that did work. and we did not get more bites. Thanks for your blog that allow us to understand what happened to us in the Belize Zoo.

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Troy
1/8/2014 12:42:27 pm

We just returned from Hopkins from an amazing family vacation and all 16 of us ended up with similar bites. Toward the end of our visit someone told us to try rubbing baby oil on our legs and arms instead of bug spray and the bitings, which may have come from sand flies as well, nearly stopped. We did have to apply it more often but it was worth it.

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BeBelize Emily
1/8/2014 10:04:54 pm

Hi Troy, glad to hear the baby oil worked for you and your family. It's a well-known preventative against sandfly (no-see-um) bites as they essentially drown in it, but I'm not sure if it works against botlass flies or not. I never liked the feel of oil on my legs, especially in sandy areas like on Ambergris Caye (where it just causes sand to stick to your legs), but I know some swear by it!

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kim
1/13/2014 04:50:27 pm

I am in Roaring Creek visiting family now. I am suffering from these fly bites. My family has told me they are called doctor fly bites. I lived on Caye Caulker a year ago and suffered from sand fly bites. Took forever for the marks to go away. According to the locals, the more local food, rum, and beer you consume the less they bite you. Definitely true. But not with these doctor flies. I am so swollen and the bites are oozing. Bug spray does not work......the only bite exposed skin. Proven fact! They also bite pale skin more than tanned or darker skin. I have been told to put Vicks on them but I find Tiger Balm helps more. Tomorrow going to San Pedro and hoping the sand flies do not add to the menagerie of dot to dots and inflammed mountains growing on my feet and ankles. I've also been told to soak in epsom salt but am hoping soaking in salty caribbean water with a belekin will deem the better choice.

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BeBelize Emily
1/13/2014 10:05:24 pm

Hi Kim, Sorry you are suffering so! Just to clarify, doctor flies are not the same as botlass flies. Doctor flies are yellow flies and called by that name other than in Belize and are formally Diachlorus ferrugatus (Fabricius), where Botlass flies are black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae). You can read more about Doctor flies here: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/livestock/yellow_fly.htm.

From what we heard in Belize, the bite of the Doctor fly is much more painful than the botlass initially. Botlass flies are much smaller, like small gnats, and you barely feel or don't feel them at all while they are biting -- it's only after you're bitten up that you start hurting, swelling up, and itching like crazy if you are sensitive to them. If a Doctor/Yellow fly bites you, you'll know immediately with a sharp stinging pain. Maybe we managed to avoid the dreaded Doctor flies because we were living in Belize and consumed much local food, rum, and beer! I hope you feel better soon.

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Mary
1/15/2014 06:32:39 am

We just came home from Belize on 1-13-2014 and yes we visited the same zoo on our last day there and got bitten by those blood sucking bot-lass flies. Doctors in the USA don't know much about them and I really thought it was the botfly. So glad to read this and determine that I didn't have larvae under the skin. I was wearing 40% feet so obviously botlass flies are immune to that. Beware if you head for the Belize Zoo!








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BeBelize Emily
1/15/2014 10:53:08 am

Hi Mary -- Glad my blog post helped you, and I surely hope you were not bit by the botfly. I hear they are in Belize as well but we were lucky enough not to encounter any. I am not surprised that US docs don't know anything about the botlass fly, as it was hard to find any information even online, and since these flies aren't in the US, they aren't going to teach about 'em in US medical schools! Seems like a lot of folks who visited the Belize Zoo this year have been bit by botlass flies, and if they aren't immune to DEET, I'm not sure what zoo visitors can do to prevent their bites. Ugh! Hope your bites heal up soon!

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Pepe Peru
1/15/2014 11:31:42 am

Hi Emily: I hope you guys are having a good time in Corpus Christi. Our botlass' bites have healed and we are doing well. We were bitten because we forgot the repelent in the ship cruise. However, one of our cruise mates allow us to use some of his repelent and that did work. I am not sure why DEET did not work for Mary. I am not sure what kind of repelent we were provided by our cruise mate but the repelent looked to me pretty standard. If DEET truly does not work then the only solution for people visiting the zoo (maybe impractical but effective) would be to use long sleeves and regular pants so the exposed parts of the body decrease. I would rather to feel hot in long pants and long sleeves instead of freaking out again seeing blood coming from my biye sites and then come back to the US with the uncertainty of not knowing what happened to us. My mind went wild and I saw me and my daughter having larvae under our skin or even freaking out about contracting malaria or dengue. Just in case, future travelers should consider to take antimalaria prevention medications. For dengue, there is nothing to treat the infection so prevention of the bites by the mosquitoes that transmit the disease is the only thing to do. I have made the promise that I will be more careful for any future trips and check in advance possible health hazards.

BeBelize Emily
1/15/2014 10:11:46 pm

Pepe Peru, thanks for stopping back by! I agree that covering up may be the best way to avoid the botlass fly bites. If there's little exposed skin, they will have to find another victim. As for anti-malarials, we looked into them before our first trip and were even prescribed the meds by a travel doc, but we ended up not taking them. Apparently they don't work well with alcohol, and since we planned on enjoying some rum punches and Belikins on our vacation, that had us concerned. Also we asked on the Ambergris Forums and seems that malaria is a very minor concern there. I think a lot more folks get bit by the botlass than a malaria-causing mozzie. And DEET continues to work well for the mozzies, so we just used bugspray instead of taking the anti-malarials. Glad your bites have healed!

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WendyIrizarry
1/24/2014 11:24:43 am

We returned Tuesday from a long weekend in Belize. Our whole family ended up with the bites you describe when we went to the Belize Zoo. They were on our lower legs, we were in shorts, no bug spray. Barely felt them at the time, saw all the tiny blood blisters. Can't wait for the itching, redness and swelling to stop (two of us are scratching, the others are bothered nearly as much). Just wanted to thank you for posting. Like others, didn't find that much info elsewhere and was fearing the worst.

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BeBelize Emily
1/24/2014 10:00:40 pm

Glad to know that my blog posting helped you. I just sent the zoo a note to let them know that people are getting bit by botlass flies there and that they might want to tell folks to wear insect repellent on all exposed skin. Hope your bites heal up soon!

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Cruising
1/29/2014 07:01:00 am

I also visited the Belize zoo this month on a cruise. Had a wonderful day until I went to go back on the bus and looked at my lower legs witch were covers in blood blisters. I experienced the same symptoms as you reported. I have been home for a week and I feel very weak and lifeless has anyone else felt like this? I probably got about 40 to 50 bites a leg. At least now I know what bit me . They are pretty much healed I just feel lousy.

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Pepe Peru
1/29/2014 12:43:07 pm

Me and my daughter were also bitten at the Belize Zoo but never had the symptoms that you are describing.

If you still do not feel well, I recommend you to go your Doctor to get tested to exclude malaria and dengue.

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2/27/2014 12:16:17 am

My husband and I traveled to Belize recently( 2/09/14 to 2/17/14, birding in rain forest and jungle areas.We generally wore long pants but sometimes shorts. We both had the tell tale bites on our legs which have cleared up. However I developed same bites on upper leg,stomach and back. Im still very itchy but feel the areas are gradually fading. Nice to know I,m not alone.

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David W
3/25/2014 12:45:25 pm

I am just outside of San Ignacio right now, reading this blog because I am suffering from a couple dozen botlass fly bites. I noticed these tiny flies biting me during my hike to the ATM cave. I don't think I have ever felt so itchy, plus I have been bad about not scratching and several of the bites also hurt.

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BeBelize Emily
4/1/2014 09:56:14 am

So sorry you got bitten by the botlass fly too, David. They are horrendous little creatures. My bites both hurt and itched and made my entire leg swell and ache. However, that acute reaction only lasted for the first few days. After that they just itched and looked bad for a week or so longer. Eventually they faded completely! Hope yours have or will soon!

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Jasmine
3/31/2014 04:01:14 pm

I recently stayed on a small island in Cambodia. It had rained one night and I was staying in a tree house right next to the beach. I woke up with over 50 bites down my right leg and told they were sand fly bites. I'm on day 4, itching has nearly stopped, locals told me to use coconut oil. I now have very solid round reddish/purple bumps on my legs. Hoping this is a normal healing process? Some look more like actual blisters, what should I do? How long did yours take to heal from this stage?

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BeBelize Emily
4/1/2014 10:01:07 am

Hi Jasmine -- Just to be clear, Sandfly bites are NOT the same as Botlass fly bites, which are the subject of this blog post. However, some people are very sensitve to Sandfly bites and get the same swelling and blister-like red bumps that you have (but not with a drop of blood in each one as with the botlass). Sandfly bites are extraordinarily itchy, and the treatment is pretty much the same as Botlass fly bites; i.e., oral Benedryl, itch cream (Benedryl or hydrocortisone), avoiding scratching them, and, most importantly, time. They should be much improved in two weeks or so.

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Suzanne
4/8/2014 05:15:29 am

I am looking for a fabulous family vacation before my first-born goes off to college and thought Almond Beach in the Hopkins area looked PERFECT.... Now I'm having doubts! Are the flies seasonal? We are looking to travel in July.

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BeBelize Emily
4/8/2014 06:18:18 am

Hi Suzanne ~~ That's what they told us at Mama Noots. We were there earlier in the summer and did not get bit. The time I got so eaten up with them was on July 26th (2012). We never got bit by botlass flies in Hopkins, just at Mama Noots, which is near Silk Grass. We were told, and from my research at that time, that was the only part of Belize with that problem -- these are NOT the same kind of sandflies (i.e.,no-see-ums) you can get on the beach any time of year. However, since so many folks have replied in the comments here about getting them other places and other times of year, I can't really tell you anything for sure. I think some people who think they got bit by botlass flies were instead folks who found they were quite allergic to sandfly bites and thus had about the same reaction (but with no blood drop in each bite as with botlass flies). I would probably avoid Mama Noots in July but not Hopkins Beach itself. I don't know anything about the Almond Beach area but suspect you should be fine. One thing, though, keep in mind that July is rainy season, and there will likely be sandflies and mosquitoes. Bring your repellent!

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Mary
4/14/2014 10:36:27 am

We just returned from almond Beach. Many people in our group got these bites. I thought I was free and clear, until we went into Hopkins village for dinner the night before we left. I remember standing outside waiting for our ride and feeling like I was getting bit. We've been home two days and the itching is terrible. I'm not understanding why I seem to be getting new bites?!?!?

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BeBelize Emily
4/14/2014 11:44:11 am

I'm so sorry to hear this Mary! Are you absolutely sure you got bitten by the botlass fly and not sandflies? Sandfly bites can continue to pop up and itch for days after you've left an area. If there's not a blood drop on each bite, it's not botlass. We were told that they only occurred for a short time in the summer in mainland Belize, so it seems really early. Sandfly bites can also raise red welts all over the legs and other areas of those sensitive/allergic to them, but without the blood drop in each bite. I was also quite sensitive to sandflies but discovered that my sensitivity lessened the longer I was in Belize. Tourists are typically affected worse. I am sure you'll stop itching soon!

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5/14/2014 10:16:26 am

Last Summer our Grand Daughter was taken to Hopkins and weeks later found she had been bitten by bot flys in her head. These flies deposited eggs which inturn turned into burrowing tick like bugs. She complained and her pediatrician said it was just scratches. Lo.! an ENT doctor friend diagnosed her and had to cut these terrible, sucking bugs out of her head. I have never in my life witnessed such a terrible thing. Even though it had now been a year I cannot forget these terrible creatures burrowing in my precious 7 year olds head. Every time I hear of someone going to that area, I shudder of the thought!

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BeBelize Emily
5/18/2014 10:38:26 pm

Hi Ann - So sorry to hear about your granddaughter. I know that there are botflies in Belize but don't personally know anyone who was bitten by one, so I expect they aren't terribly common. I hope she is 100% recovered now!

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5/18/2014 02:52:20 pm

Two years ago, after about a week from returning from Belize, coast to rain forest with stop at zoo, with no noticeable bites, I began having unbearable itching. It began in the right front upper shoulder area, then "flipped" to the opposite, and this bilateral pattern continued to about 8 body areas on the upper torso. Dermatologist was appalled, took a biopsy for "usual" U.S. problems (mites, bedbugs, even lichen planus), all negative. Only 3 heavy prescription steroids used together could even calm down the itching a little bit. This has become generalized body itching, less intense but still very troublesome. Just went through 3 months of oral steroid breakthrough, which provided symptomatic relief, but now coming off steroid, generalized itching continuing. Any thoughts? Help appreciated! Have had 2 ultrasounds and 1 CT scan to rule out internal causes. Drs. here don't have a clue, so your thoughts most welcome.

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BeBelize Emily
5/18/2014 10:46:08 pm

Oh Gerry, that sounds AWFUL. I have NO idea what affected you and have never heard of anyone visiting or living in Belize who has had that issue. Obviously you ran into something you were incredibly allergic too to have such a long and systemic reaction. I'm sure it wasn't botlass flies, though, as you would have seen those bites with their characteristic blood drop in each bite. I hope your doctors can get to the bottom of it and help you restore your health.

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Judy Porter
5/22/2014 07:13:32 am

I see the ads on T.V. and tell my husband that's where I want to go when we retire. After reading all this, I think not! Doesn't sound like much fun to itch for 2 weeks then what--go outside and get bit again. No thank you.

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BeBelize Emily
5/22/2014 09:03:34 am

Judy -- Please don't judge all of Belize by this one post! We never, ever got bit by botlass flies on Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Placencia, Punta Gorda, or San Ignacio! ONLY near Hopkins but further inland. There are plenty of lovely places to visit or live in Belize where you'll never have to deal with bites like this!

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Greg
5/27/2014 05:07:22 am

I have been in Belize several times and love the country and people. I am glad I found this post. About 4 years ago we hiked to a waterfall and went swimming. I was out of the water for a few minutes and went to take my swim trunks of and noticed blood on my hands and bites all over my legs... The guide told me it was "battle ass", a misunderstanding on my part. Needless to say I was not able to find anything on this insect until I found this web page. Personally I don't care about getting some bug bites, it is a sub-tropical jungle. It is just nice to know what got me. We were staying at Almond Beach. I forget the name of the waterfall but it was quite a long hike and lots of climbing. Greg

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BeBelize Emily
6/10/2014 11:01:36 am

Hi Greg ~~ Like you, after we got bit, we searched online for what in the world it was, and we found such limited information. I think simply by writing this post, it has become the go-to page for botlass fly information. Haha! But more seriously, I am glad that others have shared their information and experiences here. We can all only learn from each other. Glad you didn't suffer too much with your bites. They do heal in time, thankfully!

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Lesle
6/10/2014 04:19:15 am

In my case, I developed a further intolerance to Dr flies. On my last encounter I had four bites and was going into anaphylactic shock with swelling of the face, hands, legs and throat. When on journeys in the jungle or as in my case in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, further precautions need to be taken as medical care is a long distance away. I will now carry an epi-pen as well as a healthy doses of liquid and ointment Benadryl.

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BeBelize Emily
6/10/2014 11:03:31 am

Hi Lesle ~~ Just to clarify, doctor flies are not the same as botlass flies. My understanding is that doctor flies are larger and yellowish, and hurt like heck when they bite. The botlass flies we didn't even feel biting us; it was only afterwards that their aftereffects became apparent. Did you actually get doctor fly bites on Ambergris Caye? We were fortunate in that on our visits there, plus our 18 months living there full-time, we were never bit by doctor flies. They sound awful! You are smart to come prepared.

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Monique
6/21/2014 01:54:24 pm

Greetings All -

Just returned to US from Placencia - OMG!! I've never had bites like this in my life. After reading the posts - I know it's not mosquitoes but possibly sand flies. Deet products did not work in preventing the bites and the only thing helping the itching is the pink calamine lotion. I hope these bites don't leave scars - the skin is going from pink to dark brown/black marks. Don't think I will be returning to Belize - it is very beautiful and the people very kind, but my body took a beating!

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BeBelize Emily
6/22/2014 12:17:55 am

Hi Monique ~~ So sorry that you got bitten so bad in Placencia. We also found the sandflies to be very bad there. Some people are very allergic to them, others much less so. If you ever watch "Survivor", which is filmed on tropical islands, you'll often see the contestants covered with what look like sandfly bites all over their bodies, but especially their legs. They are intensely itchy and ugly but in my experience do not leave scars. And as I was told when we moved to Belize, the more exposure you have to them, the less your body seems to react. I found this to be true as I barely noticed getting bit after we'd been in the country for six months.

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Katherine
8/23/2017 11:26:30 pm

I know this post is old, but I just got bit by a ton of sand flys and I was wondering if your bites ended up scarring?!?!!! I'm so worried about my legs, and I'm trying to ask some posters who seemed to have bites like mine.

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BeBelize Emily
8/27/2017 08:52:36 am

Hi Katherine! Even though this post is about botlass flies, believe me, I got plenty of sandfly bites in Belize as well, especially down in Placencia. And no, they did not scar. None of the bites I got down there scarred that I can tell. Of course, I have freckly legs, so that hides a multitude of sins, but I don't think you're likely to scar from your bites. Obviously avoid scratching them if you can as that might make them more likely to scar.

Pam Dillingham
7/29/2014 12:46:43 am

We've been to Belize several times jungle to coast, the worst area we have found for bug bites was around Hopkins, & when we went to Mama Noots hiking. We have been in Oct and March. I have never had a problem in Placencia. However, I got sand fleas last Oct. on Caye Caukler, red dots all over my legs & this past March got one "doctor fly" bite while down in Hopkins. It was on my finger & my hand swelled quite a bit. I didn't have benedryl, but I kept ice or a cold glass on it for a couple of days & tried not to scratch as the locals told me too, also got sand flea bites walking from the water to the beach chair. I am usually a insect magnet, so I always use something for insects. I make an all natural insect spray with a soybean oil base, & as long as I had that on didn't get a bite, just didn't think to put on my fingers. My hubby on the other hand didn't get a single bite except when he stepped on a fire ant nest ouch! The bugs are definitely much worse around Hopkins & some of the cayes than in Placencia, & it won't stop me from going to that beautiful country, we are heading back in Oct.

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Michael LaBelle
8/24/2014 11:36:45 am

I just returned from Placencia, across the lagoon from Independence. While consulting with a grower in the Stann Creek district (bananas) I was bit several times on my arms, but the bite that got my attention was on my left pointing finger. It swelled up and itched like CRAZY! Only after returning to the States did I realize I had several bites on my arms, that look exactly like yours.

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Manoj
8/25/2014 07:19:53 pm

Thank you so much for this blog. I am from Pune, India. Last weekend I spent in a Management training camp in remote place in jungle. During the activities i notices some insect bites. But didn't think thank it will be so painful. Both my legs and some parts of arms are now covered with pink dots. Initially it was not itchy but now it is quite itchy. Was wondering what it is. Just stumbled upon your blog. glad to know that it will be oaky after 2 weeks. Hope this gets better fast.

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12/3/2014 01:44:18 pm

My son and I went on a trip during the middle of November 2014 for two weeks all over the country of BELIZE. We definitely got bitten on the beach in South Hopkins mostly at dusk while having dinner outside on the resorts deck area. After the first night we sprayed ourselfs heavy with OFF with DEET. From then on we always sprayed ourselfs with repellant, no problems after that. We had no issues in the northern part of BELIZE or the Zoo. Ambergris Caye they raked the beaches constantly so no problems there as well but by that time we learned our lesson from Hopkins and apply bug spray heavy. Hopkins has some of the best beaches in BELIZE but the resorts are smaller and don't have people raking their beaches. It's December 3rd and I'm still itchy and trying not to scratch myself.

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BeBelize Emily
12/3/2014 09:56:48 pm

Hi CET -- Sounds like the sandflies found you. They are really active at dusk and on the beaches in Belize. The first time you get the bites, they seem to itch more and hang around longer than later "attacks", or at least that was my experience in Belize. It seems that I built up somewhat of a tolerance to them over time. These are not the same as the bites discussed in this post, which occurred in the jungle (no sandflies there), but they can also be very misery making for awhile!

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lilasaid
12/6/2014 01:09:43 am

I'm sad to come across these posts but they are also very helpful! I plan on going to Belize for the first time with my 2 boys. In the past, I have been extremely sensitive to mosquito bites and experience almost an allergic reaction to them. I'd hate to think our vacation may be ruined by something like this. Is there anything someone can do (dieterarily or otherwise) in advance to somehow reduce possible sensitivity to these bites? Some people seem to be really reactive and others not at all...even both my boys have different experiences and I have always wondered what that is attributed to. On a side note, it sounds like most of these bites occur in outdoor areas but any advice regarding getting accommodations with a fan vs. a/c in the context of bugs and heat in general? Thanks!

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BeBelize Emily
12/6/2014 03:33:03 am

Unfortunately, I am not aware of anything that you can do dietarily to improve your chances of not getting bit or not reacting as much. Insect repellent is going to be your best friend. Wearing loose-fitting but longer clothing can help too. I wouldn't have gotten these bites, in all likelihood, had I been wearing any. As far as A/C vs. fans, it all depends on your heat/humidity tolerance. We were generally fine with fans, but there were times when the A/C sure felt good, especially in the summer and especially for sleeping. I also found that the Benedryl lotion (topical) and pills (for sleeping at night) helped me after the fact if I did get bitten. Please don't let your fear of bites keep you from visiting this beautiful country. Just come prepared!

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BeBelize Emily
12/6/2014 04:10:45 am

..."had I been wearing any" <<-- insect repellent, not clothing! I was wearing clothes. ;-)

lilasaid
12/6/2014 07:13:35 am

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I'll take the advice of posted here and come armed for defense. Financially, I think I will just have to find a balance between places with A/C and fans. Thanks so much!

lilasaid
12/6/2014 07:14:57 am

Oh, and ha, ha about clarifying about the possibly misinterpretation. I didn't read it that way, but that's funny!

Jeanne BelizeBitten
12/11/2014 01:13:10 am

I wouldn't put much belief in the idea that Botlass Flies are seasonal. We visited the zoo 4 days ago and It's December now with unseasonably cool temps. No doubt Botlass flies are alive/thriving at the Belize zoo (aka: Belize Sanctuary). Our tour guide played down mosquitoes, saying bats keep the mosquito population down. After we got off the bus and before entering the zoo, i looked down to see at least 40 of the horrid little things on my legs. I started slapping them and was mortified to see blood splattered all oved my hands and my legs. I was definitely a Botlass favorite. I got nearly 80 bites--most on one leg. By the next day, the bites were feverish, the circular red splotches around the blood dot had turned bright red, and my ankles had disappeared into the swelling. One ankle worse than the other. We happen to have had hydrocortisone cream and Allegra. I also took Ibuprofen and was lucky that few travelmates had wraps for my ankles. The itching was mild compared to my hometown mosquitoes. I kept my ankles wrapped for 2 days and continued with the cortisone cream and the ibuprofin. This is the 4th day, and all that remains are some very light red dots. For a few others that did nothing, the dots are redder today and really itch.

This could have a few fairly simple solutions. First, the tour description should clearly and STRONGLY suggest REPELLENT. Second, the Tour guides should not Downplay mosquitoes, as if they are the only thing to worry about. Third, people need to report this issue. This blog proves to me that the zoo is fully aware, and probably the cruiseline. I will be logging a comment regarding this incident. I firmly believe 90% of these can be avoided in the first place with warnings (suggestions) and a better treatment solution could be provided.



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BeBelize Emily
12/11/2014 02:47:18 am

So sorry this happened to you, Jeanne. It sounds like the botlass flies are becoming more and more of a problem. Back when I got bit, I could find so little information about them and seemed like they were pretty isolated to the Silk Grass area of Belize. I certainly agree with you that the zoo needs to warn people better and definitely prescribe insect repellent! I had the swelling like you did, and my legs (especially the one with the most bites) actually hurt and ached for a few days. The itching lasted longer. It was definitely NOT a fun experience, and I would have worn repellent an inch thick if needed to avoid it.

I hope you heal up quickly. Thanks for your comment. If you review the zoo on Tripadvisor, you could definitely mention this. If enough people do, perhaps they will take action.

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Jeanne Belizebitten
12/16/2014 10:40:37 am

So my bites were healing up nicely, until i made the mistake of shaving my legs, thus erupting the small red freckles into red itching bumps. I noticed that the itching was much more similar to my poison ivy rashes than mosquitoe bites. So, I might possibly have made my second error, which was using hot water to relieve the itching, which was effective. However, today i have noticed several more red itching bumps (not a part of the original bites and of course also without the distinctive red dot). Has anyone ever mentioned a spreading of the rash?

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BeBelize Emily
12/16/2014 11:47:13 pm

I'm not aware of that, Jeanne. I know I shaved my legs at some point afterwards once the scabs were gone and don't recall having any spreading of bumps or rash. Hope you'll heal soon - completely!

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Jeanne BelizeBiten
12/17/2014 07:58:39 am

My mistake is that the little pinpoint scab was not gone. Wish I had thought about the fact that shaving is the same thing as scratching. . The rash on my hand also has a red rash circle around the Botlass bite. Since I don't have a similar rash on my legs where there are many bites, it is not likely to be directly related to the bite. Thank you for your reply.

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Karen
12/19/2014 07:39:33 am

We just had our wedding at Hidden Valley Inn in the Mountain Pine Ridge area where we we covered by them. Hidden valley provided Skin so soft (Avon product) which is oil based and we lathered ourselves up with it. I didn't do as much but my husband and twins were all lathered up to a point where they were very oily on any exposed skin. Suffice it to say, I am sitting here at San Pedro, on the beach, with my leg in the salt water to try and ease my bites. Definitely a must have to bring next year when we come back. I bought 4 different kinds of big sprays and none worked. The skin so soft was recommended by the locals in the hidden valley inn.

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Jaime
11/23/2015 04:48:47 pm

What kind of Skin so Soft was it? The original?

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Vanessa Ryder
1/25/2015 12:12:33 pm

Thank you so much for this blog and posting this kind of information. My family just returned from a cruise in Jan 2015. We went zip lining and cave tubing in Belize. I got bit numerous times by this "Botless" fly on my legs. I am the only one in the family who had a reaction. Not one other member of my family even got bit. But both my legs had numerous blood dots and then they turned to red spots and my legs, hands and feet swelled up. The bites didn't start itching too bad until after we returned home almost a week later. This caused some fear because I didn't know what had really happened to me. But I did notice a couple of bugs on me that looked like the picture you posted. I am thankful I learned what this was and how to treat it. I'm glad I'm not alone anymore. Please keep sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. Thank you again.

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BeBelize Emily
1/25/2015 09:28:26 pm

So sorry you got bit, Vanessa. I am glad that the blog provided useful information! I guess in retrospect I am glad that this happened to me as being able to share this experience to help others has been one of the most positive results of our time in Belize! It really sounds like the Botlass are spreading to many parts of Belize besides those first reported, as well as expanding their season. I hope yours heal up fast, and I am glad I could help!

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CB
2/8/2015 03:57:06 am

Thank you so very much for your blog post! I too went waterfall repelling at Mama Noots and woke up the next morning with at least 100 tiny bites all over my legs and swelling like you wouldn't believe. Once I Googled the symptoms and found your blog I felt much better that I didn't contact some horrible disease. It's been about 3 weeks since I first was bitten, and while the bites aren't gone, they are fading. I would recommend wearing long pants and long sleeves to anyone doing water activities in that area, as bug spray wears off! Thanks again for your post.

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JS Carter
3/5/2015 09:20:31 am

A question from the "senior crew": A single bite on the forearm produced significant swelling from the wrist to six inches above the elbow and previously unknown atrial fibrulation. {1,2,3, (no beat); 1,2,3,4, (no beat); 1,2,3,4,5,6 (no heart beat), following no specific group pattern. This is disturbing, but there seems to be an almost total lack of this happening to the awareness of American doctors. Has anyone else suffered from A FIB following a trip to Belize?
It has been two weeks past the return from Belize and it does not seem to be getting better--in fact there is still some swelling. Any suggestions or medical references would be appreciated.

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elizabeth herrera
8/17/2015 06:10:50 am

8/17/15 Thanks for the info. A group of 12 of us went to the Waterfall repelling last week and we had the same experience with the little black gnat looking insects, drop of blood and many many bites. Its been 5 days since our day in the jungle. I noticed additional red bumps yesterday that i hadnt noticed before that are also itchy. I am guessing they are additional bites that are just now resurfacing. I will treat them just as ive been treating the others. Hopefully its not anything worse.

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Jaime
11/23/2015 04:55:15 pm

Wow. I'm currently battling an insane amount of these bites on my legs and arms. We live here in Belize now, and guess where we visited yesterday? ! Yes, the zoo is still full of theservice lovely little bugs. We all had the same experience, little red blood spots, then swatting almost constantly to try and keep the bugs off. Today I have tried everything from benedryl oral, and cream to apple cider vinegar with hardly any relief. The sad thing is we are taking a group of kids from a local village school and a team from our church to the zoo next Friday. Now I am not looking forward to this at all! Is there anything else you all can recommend to help repel the botlass fly? I saw one posting about Skin So Soft, and long sleeves and pants. Any other tips or suggestions?

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Donna Mize
12/18/2015 09:26:17 pm

It's comforting reading this blog and all the comments, so I know i'm not alone! We were in Belize 1 week. First my 1 leg was covered in bites, and then all over. We stayed 3 days on Ambergris Caye and 3 days at Mama Noots aka: Bocawina. We also went to the zoo. My husband has only bites on 1 arm. I started with 1 leg, then went to a forearm, now it's on both arms, both legs etc. I, like many others, didn't feel the bite, but saw the blood running down from the bites.
My biggest concern is we've been home a full week, and still new bumps are showing up. The itching is insane for me, and I've been slathering myself in anti-itch cream, calamine, baking soda, toothpaste, taking benedryl each night and I still can't seem to get it under control. I did read every comment and saw 2 people did have spreading, so I hope that means I'll be OK. I've not gone to a doctor yet, but may have to. Sure was hoping they'd go away on their own.
Thanks for all the info! Just gaining some of this knowledge eased my mind.
It sure was a beautiful trip, and we thoroughly loved Belize, just not this side-effect.
Sincerely,
Donna

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Cindy Belize bitten
12/23/2015 08:17:25 pm

We just returned from San Pedro in Belize and my husband had several bites on his leg. I had a few. We notices a group of gnat like bugs on his legs so this may be the same Botless flies reported elsewhere. Has anyone else encountered them in Ambergris Caye?

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Abby
1/29/2017 09:32:43 pm

Yes, we just returned from Ambergris Caye 3 days ago, and we are all noticing more red and itchy bumps showing up on our arms and legs. Tt

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Erica
1/20/2016 11:24:52 pm

I am so grateful for your post, thank you! I visited a Banana farm between Bocaina (Mama Noot's) and Placencia (in mid-Jan) and was swarmed by these tiny black bugs. I was wearing shorts and brought repellent but wasn't able to apply it until about 5 min into the tour (which was wonderful, by the way). I batted the annoying little flies away and applied tons of spray but my legs were covered in the tell-tale spots with the little dot of blood. The itching didn't set in for me until a few days later when I returned home but was pure torture. Caladryl and Paramoxine HCI 1% aren't cutting it so I'm off to get oral Benedryl and cortisone cream and hope those will help me get through the worst of the itching.
Thanks again for posting this; I feel so much better knowing it's not something even worse. Much appreciated!

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Crystal
3/24/2016 04:03:02 pm

I wanted to let you know that this bug, the botlas fly, can also be found in Guatemala...I was afflicted with them while working a two week internmship on Lake Atitlan, I'm pretty sure they are more widespread than we may thing.

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3/27/2016 08:09:25 am

I returned from Belize a few days ago and bites continue to appear. Has anyone experienced this. my legs, arms, and neck are covered with bites. They do not itch much but are driving me crazy as new bites continues to pop up

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5/11/2016 09:57:16 am

Is there a big difference in rainfall between June, July or Aug in Belize? I'm freaking out reading this blog about these insect bites. I got horrible itching bites from Nicaragua last Dec- which were from sand flies... These bot flies sound even worse!
Any thoughts on the Blancaneux Coppola resorts? Is this the part of Belize where we can be eaten alive by bugs? Any info or help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much-GG

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lovinbelize
5/17/2016 07:59:02 am

Second trip to Belize for us. Great times and thinking about getting a place down here but both times now, bitten by bugs like crazy. First time in Placencia the second at dinner at a high end resort outside of San Ignacio, both times sitting near a planter (won't do that again). First time was sand flies but don't know what this time. My husband calls me the canary in the mine for bugs.

Either way, in addition to oral benadryl, after several miserable days the first time I tried 5 different remedies on different sections of my legs. Cortisone cream, Afterbite (like we get in th US but bought in Belize), oil from a lime skin (per a local lady), Jungle salve (made in Belize and bought at a pharmacy), and at the recommendation of Eddie, our beach captain, aloe juice from an aloe leaf he gave me.

And the winner hands down, the aloe leaf gel! Itching and swelling went down quicker. Still red for a while but I'm wondering if I tried it earlier, if would have kept my legs from getting so blotchy.

Had a hard time finding an aloe leaf this time, so tried using aloe gel for sunburns from the local store. Helped the itch some, but not as much. Finally after two days of looking, I found an aloe plant at Maras laundry in Placencia. Luckily she was willing to part with a couple leaves. Even though the bug might be different the relief was immediate. I recommend bringing some 100% aloe gel. I know I will next time.

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Suzieq
5/25/2016 08:22:21 am

Thank you so much for the information I have been back over my from Belize and we are going unfortunately for me I think I do have botfly I still have ones that have a pinpoint with blood but are swollen and red I had over a hundred bites on me I still have real bad ones so I'm thinking after a month not only did I get botfly news about eaten alive we did buy property there so I'm hoping we can figure out how to repel them because nothing is going to stop me from living in Belize it is still a beautiful country and no matter where you go even home we have bugs that bite we are just used to and I'm willing to get used to there's thank you for the information again now I know which way to turn I think over a month is long enough I never even thought about it until this last week good luck everybody it is what it is it just depends on what you're willing to do

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Culture
8/26/2016 03:14:45 pm

Hello.....i am from Belize......these bug bites that you alll get while visiting here more severe for you because you have not adapted to the tropical weather ....there is a lot more biting insects here but its nothing really serious for us ......do its our immunity living in Belize ......these flies are nothing but tiny pests

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Frances
8/26/2016 07:24:26 pm

Thank you for posting about this. I went to Belize over 10 years ago and have always wondered what had bitten me. We had just gotten to the resort (don't remember where exactly) and were eating lunch at their outside patio. I looked down and saw drops of blood on my legs. I didn't feel getting bitten, and when I asked the staff about it, they just shrugged their shoulders and said they had no clue. The next day I woke up with my legs itching like crazy. I spent the rest of our vacation drugged up on benedryl and was pretty much miserable. I have often wondered what the bug was, and for some reason tonight I thought about it and did a google search and discovered this. Thank you for posting this!

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Courtney
11/3/2016 03:03:25 am

Thank you so much for this post, and thank you all for the informative comments! I got bit a week ago (tell-tale blood dots and all) and now I'm experiencing the first relief I've had since, thanks to this blog!

I returned from Belize last week with 30+ extremely unwelcome itchy souvenirs from the otherwise very lovely zoo. :(

I truly loved that place and the work they do, but my allergic reaction to these botlass bites is far worse than any mosquito bite I've had. And I live in Texas so I've had plenty to compare...;) I didn't see the botlass at Ambergris Caye so it may be more of a jungle bug.

Every person's body may react differently, but I wanted to reiterate some advice from the other comments in case it helps someone with this misery. Belize is lovely and I would hate for someone to avoid going or have their experience ruined:
- wear long pants/sleeves when not on the islands
- 100% deet spray was otherwise helpful (the zoo day I didn't wear any bc I heard it could harm the snake if you want to interact with their boa constrictor)
- try not to scratch or shave the bites (seems obvious but I was unthinking and shaved my legs since we were in tropical paradise and were wearing shorts...not worth it! As a poster mentioned above, it's the same as scratching. I had the delayed reaction where the itching/swelling kicked up 3 days post-bite.
- oral Benadryl, 1% hydrocortisone cream, coconut oil, & neosporin were somewhat helpful (even tried isopropyl alcohol once bc burning felt preferable) but the one thing that gave me more relief just now after being woken up for about the 4th night was 100% aloe vera gel! I used it chilled and may actually sleep tonight. Thank you so much, commenter "lovinbelize"!
- keeping the bites cool and uncovered has been a help too- when the wave of fresh itching starts I feel fevery and will go to the doctor if that keeps up.

Best wishes to everyone dealing with this and thanks again!

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Cindy Belize bitten
5/30/2017 11:44:32 am

Just a quick note. We were bitten on Ambergris Caye is few years ago. So the islands are not necessarily safe. See my earlier post

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BugMagnet
2/23/2017 03:10:58 pm

Hi all - does anyone know if insect-repellent clothing works? I am dying to go to Belize for the snorkeling, jungle birds, beaches etc, but I am a lightning rod for mozzies, sand flies and fleas. If I get to go, I know I'll have to wear long sleeves and pants. does anyone know if March is a bad month to go?

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Lilasaid
4/9/2017 09:27:48 am

Hello, I posted with concerns back in 2014 and ended up traveling to Belize in 2015. My kids and I did not have any problems, but it sounds like part luck-of-the-draw and part taking good precautions. I am a mosquito magnet and itch like crazy when I get them. When in the jungle, we always wore long pants, sprayed all of our clothes with permethrin prior to departing, and used Deet for myself and a eucalyptus/lemon repellent for my kids. Both kinds worked effectively. I also brought other products that are advised for the bot flies but luckily never had issue. I was nervous about these things, too! We also spent some time at Tobacco Caye, Hopkins, and Placencia in addition to a couple of jungle locations. This was in July which is considered rainy season.

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Tommy G
5/24/2017 06:27:24 pm

Thank you for this post. I thought I was going insane trying to describe to everyone how over-the-top maddening the itching I'm experiencing is. These little gnat-like bastards hit me real good at a cacao farm outside Hopkins. The experience was just as described by everyone else replete with tha telltale little blood dots and the delayed arrival of the hellish itching. I got two hours of sleep the night the itching hit. Hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl take the edge off ever so slightly, but really I've felt very little relief. this is absolutely awful. On my 4th day and I read a comment that this could last two weeks!!! I honestly don't know how I'm going to make it. Worst way to end a honeymoon.

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BeBelize Emily
5/28/2017 06:06:08 am

Oh, I feel so bad for you getting these awful bites on your honeymoon. It's been years now for me, and I'll still never forget the misery. You have my sympathies!

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