Everyone has heard that myth that spiders can lay eggs under your skin. Well, rest easy, because spiders cannot, in fact, do that. However, don't rest too easy, because there are some creepy insects that lay their eggs in human bodies. You may not notice right away, and you may not feel it as they burrow, but these insects have a knack for using us as big lovely incubators for their young, and the results are never pretty. With this in mind, be warned that what we discuss here will be graphic and definitely not for the weak of stomach.
Before you get too freaked out, be aware that most of these insects rarely go after humans. There are so many other animals out there, so why would they go after a creature that covers their skin with clothing? Just be smart and safe when you travel, and this will probably never happen to you. Probably.
But if you're still curious and really want to give yourself nightmares, then let's get to it. Let's explore a few of the insects that lay their eggs in your body.
**Warning: Some of these images are graphic and may be upsetting.**
There are a couple of types of botfly and, unluckily for us, one of them specifically targets humans. The human botfly is a fly that sort of looks like a bumblebee, and while it doesn't feed on human flesh, or even eat at all, its larvae certainly do. In order to make sure that its offspring get fed, human botflies use our bodies as a perfect place to incubate their eggs and maggots. That being said, botflies don't put their eggs inside us themselves!
Botflies will first lay their eggs on mosquitos or ticks, and then when a person is bitten by one of these insects, the eggs and larvae make their way under our skin! The maggots burrow down and down, leaving a hole behind them to breathe through while they feed on our blood and tissue. Someone infected with the larvae may feel them wiggling around inside their skin. Luckily, they leave on their own after about eight weeks, but during that time, it's still a very creepy visitor.
We're not exactly this mite's favorite breeding ground or food source, but when the original host is gone, they'll make do with a human briefly. They're too small to see easily without some magnification help, but you will be able to see the impact they have on your body.
Most of the time, a bird mite will bite you and then drop off, because your body isn't really good for gestation. That being said, on occasion they're desperate enough, and may burrow under your skin, especially if you're older or have a compromised immune system! This is where the female mites lay their eggs. Here's the good news, though: your body isn't suitable for raising a family. The mites will most likely die, and any eggs laid on you won't survive. That doesn't make the concept any less icky, though.
You may know this little creature by another name: the "jigger." These little fleas drink blood and create lesions on human flesh, as well as the flesh of animals. The damage these little guys do can cause serious health problems, and they can even cause deadly infections. But it's possible that the life cycle of the flea is even more distressing than the damage the flea does.
The pregnant female flea will burrow down under your skin and begin to feed. Then her abdomen becomes a giant egg sac, like a little pearl under your skin. The eggs form there and after they gestate, they drop out of the flesh to finish off their transformation outside of the host body. The upside is that the fleas are probably not going to hatch in your skin, because your scratching actually pushes them out. The bad news is that the female can do some serious damage to your skin as she's acting as an egg sac inside you.
There are two types of screworm fly, the Old World screwworm fly and the New World screwworm fly. Both are pretty damn terrifying in their own ways, and they have been known to show up in Florida. In general, these worms seek out open wounds, then lay their eggs in or around the wound before it seals over, then the maggots gestate inside. And they don't really care if you're an animal or a human, as long as your body is warm.
Once the eggs hatch, the maggots start to thrive inside you, and they seek out any small or secluded area to grow. In one horrifying case, the flesh-eating maggots gave one British woman a lifetime of nightmares in 2013. Upon getting home from a visit to Peru, the woman said she started experiencing headaches and shooting pains down the side of her face. Then there was a strange discharge from one ear. When doctors examined her, they found that her ear was full of flesh-eating maggots from the screwworm fly.