If you've ever heard of a bot fly, you know how disgusting these pesky insects are. If you haven't, you'll want to learn about them — because we have them in Colorado.

Read on to see how you can protect yourself (and your pets) from bot flies in the Centennial State.

What is a bot fly?

According to a Facebook post shared by the Estes Park Pet Association, a bot fly is a parasitic insect that feeds on the fluids of its host. Female bot flies will lay their eggs near a host — when larvae hatch from the eggs, they burrow inside the host's skin to feed.

A rabbit bot fly larva. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A rabbit bot fly larva. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
loading...

Colorado State University reports that rabbit and rodent bot flies (in the genus Cuterebra) are most common in Colorado. However, deer and elk bot flies (in the genus Cephenemyia) are also present in the state, along with some less common species.

What do bot flies target?

CSU notes that, as their names imply, bot flies usually target rabbits, rodents, deer, and elk. Despite this, the insects occasionally parasitize dogs, cats, and humans — check out this tuscon.com story about a Colorado man who got bot flies in his head to see what we mean.

A bot fly exiting a mouse. Courtesy of megankhines // flickr.
A bot fly exiting a mouse. Courtesy of megankhines // flickr.
loading...

Thankfully, bot flies normally don't cause long-term complications for animals or humans. Medical treatment or minor surgery from a veterinarian or physician is often required to remove the insects.

Watch a bot fly removal from a dog below (warning: graphic footage).

How to protect yourself — and your pets — from bot flies

According to Castle Rock's Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, the best way to protect your pets from botflies is to keep them inside. If you take your pets outside, consider prepping them with an animal-approved topical mosquito spray.

Tua Saúde states that humans can also avoid bot flies with mosquito spray; however, the insects are unlikely to affect humans outside of tropical countries.

A bot fly wound on a dog. Courtesy of Canva.
A bot fly wound on a dog. Courtesy of Canva.
loading...

Another precaution against bot flies is keeping an eye on your pets (and yourself) for symptoms. Be on the lookout for small lumps underneath the skin.


Learn more about dangerous animals and insects in Colorado in the gallery below.

These Are the Most Dangerous Animals in Colorado

It's no secret that Colorado is home to stunning wildlife. However, that doesn't mean we should interact with the wildlife β€” some animals are meant to be avoided. See the dangerous Colorado animals you should steer clear of in the gallery below.

Uncommon Animals of Colorado

It's pretty rare to see these types of wildlife in Colorado.

More From Retro 102.5