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Worst Bug Story
You have an amazing site; I have spent the last three hours looking it over. Before I share my awful bug story, I would like to suggest an idea to your readers who experience ladybug invasions. You mention that they can vacuum the ladybugs. Yet, why waste good ladybugs that are just trying to survive the winter? Gather them up (a bagless vacuum might work without killing them) and refrigerate them or store them in a cool place until you can release them outside in the spring — targeting, of course, prized shrubs that may be hosting some nasties that the ladybugs could eat.
Now, here is the story (which pales in comparison to the mystery plague and tampon stories listed on your page). Before the store closed down, my stepmother had a bad habit of shopping at a local IGA that frequently sold expired goods. She also never looked at the expiration dates. After one of these shopping trips, I opened up a “new” box of cereal (I forgot — or suppressed — which kind), poured a bowl, and started to eat. Very soon afterward, my family noticed several flying insects buzzing around the kitchen. They looked like quarter inch mayflies, but with shorter proportioned bodies. I thought that they were a bit strange, but I merrily continued to enjoy my cereal — until I happened to look closely at the bowl. The cereal was alive. I ran to the garbage disposal and spit out what I had in my mouth. When I had collected myself, I reopened the cereal box, and a swarm of the pests escaped. The box was very expired, though I am not sure that such is a good excuse for the cereal company. Larva and Flakes just doesn’t sound like a winner for General Mills. Needless to say, it was the last time that I confidently poured cereal without an inspection.

Dear Anonymous,
We hope the Reputation Defender Service Team doesn’t attack us for your letter mentioning General Mills or IGA. We haven’t posted a letter to the Worst Bug Story Ever page of our site in three and a half years, but your story grabbed our attention. Expiration dates are on products for a good reason. While this does not look good for the manufacturer, the burden of enforcement does lie with the retailer and the buyer. On a more positive note, a little additional protein is far less injurious than E. coli in spinich, Salmonella in peanut butter, tainted pet food from China, or the myriad chemical additives that have been approved by the FDA. Thank you for a thoroughly engaging letter and a tip on ladybugs.

What the Hell is This!!!
Please Help!
This is probably one of the sickest stories you’ll come across.. It was like a scene out of “Aliens”. This morning, I came across our pet greyhound, Merlin, calmly sitting in our family room, with what appeared to be a rather large, dead rat in his jaws!!! He immediately dropped it, once I told him to. Our back yard, while fenced in, is bordered by wooded areas. Consequently, we do get the occasional mouse or rat in the yard. The rat, upon further inspection was not dead. It was fairly mangled up and appeared to be taking its last gasps of air. I grabbed a plastic bag and like picking up dog poop, grabbed the rat by the tail and took it out back. My wife, by this time, had joined me and the initial shock of finding such a large, disgusting “present” in the house had slightly abated; we were quite impressed by its size. As I turned the rat around by the tail, I thought I was looking at internal organs that were beginning to “protrude” through the puncture holes and small lacerations on the rat’s body. . . . To my and my wife’s horror, we realized that these were not organs, but large writhing “things” (grubs, worms, maggots)!!!!????, boring their way out of the body. I quickly disposed of the “present”, but not before one of the things in question, dropped to the pool deck, where I scooped it into a plastic bag for identification. . . . Since we have no idea what this thing might be, my wife is now worried that our beloved grey may have swallowed or eaten one of these creatures and that at this very moment, it is making a lovely home for itself and its larvae in the body of our greyhound. Doubtful, but I am passing along the concern. If you can make out the picture, it is segmented and colored a dark- greenish black. Tried to identify it myself, but had no luck. Hope you can help.
Palm Beach Gardens, Fl.

Hi MP,
Based on just your vivid description, we would identify your creature as a Rodent Bot Fly, Cuterebra emasculator. This fly which resembles a Bumble Bee lays its eggs indirectly on habitat and the warmth of the rodent body causes the eggs to hatch and the maggots to attach to the host animal. The maggot then enter the rodents body through an opening, either being licked inside or by boring through the eye membrane. It then settles beneath the skin and forms a warble, a type of pimple through which the parasite can breath and excrete. The parasite is rarely transfered to another host, and the risk to predators is minimal. Just to add to your nightmare, there is also a Human Bot Fly, Dermatobia hominis, reported from Central America. We have not been able to locate a photo of the Bot Fly Pupa, but your image is consistant with fly pupa, and the supporting story lends credance to our identification.

Potato bugs
Back in 1956 in San Francisco–when I was a ten year old tomboy and loved helping my dad out by doing chores in the garden–something inexplicable happened to me. It was a sunny day and I had just finished siphoning the water from our family’s cement fish pond. My dad was away from the house, at work, and I was looking forward to surprising him with a clean, sparkling pond. This siphoning ritual was one that repeated itself two or three times each year. After bringing the water level down to about four inches, I would step into the water barefoot, catch the pond’s large and wriggly, orange, black, and white, spotted fish, throwing them into a nearby bucket of green pond water filled with lily pads. Next I would siphon out the water even further, until only a scummy sludge was left. I would scoop out this sludge with a metal dust pan, scrub and mop the pond’s cement floor, then turn on the garden hose and start adding water. A few minutes later I would squirt in some water-treating liquid, and finally I’d start tossing in fish. I had done this so many times that it was second nature to me.
On this particular day however, right after having brought the water level down to about three inches, and right after taking off my shoes and stepping into the pond, in order to start catching fish… I was startled to discover that the ground was crunchy underneath me, almost as though I were standing in a pool to which had been added buckets and buckets of popcorn. Cupping my hands together, I bent down and scooped the water, thus hoping to discover the source of this odd sensation. It was then that I beheld a mound of drowned Potato Bugs. Yes… Jerusalem Crickets! There they were, all jumbled together in a tangled, ungodly heap, filling my cupped, wet hands. And here I was, ankle deep, in a sea of, crunchy yet rubbery, sci-fi horror corpses. It grossed me out so bad! I remember suppressing a gag reflex as I jumped frantically out of the pond. I ran hose water over my feet, at full force, almost compulsively for about twenty minutes. I wanted to run away forever! To call my mom and dad on the phone, and somehow convince them to sell the house.
And yet, it was only a matter of minutes before the tough and rugged jungle queen/cowgirl (that I fancied myself to be) started to emerge again. An almost delirious calm came over me, accompanied by a mounting sense of determination. I would not be turned into a chicken-shit sissy by those miniature, ball-headed, ball-eyed monsters! So I went into the house to fetch my galoshes and my mom’s rubber gloves. I jumped into that pond from hell, and scooped out every one of them. Eventually they formed a pile about two feet tall and three feet wide. I left it sitting there, at one side of the pond. It was my trophy, my multi-faced shrunken head. Proof that I could successfully make it through even the most unspeakable of horrors. Besides, I wanted my dad to see this horrific vision for himself. Perhaps he could explain it to me, reveal to me why hundreds upon hundreds of tiny monsters from the id, would tumble to watery deaths. My dad had no idea however, and neither did my mom. When I told friends and relatives about it, they looked at me aghast, as well as perplexed. I always wore my galoshes after that… before stepping into that fish pond. But even though we didn’t sell our house for many, many years, the incident never repeated itself.
If you, or anyone, can explain this experience to me, or share similar [or
un-similar] experiences, I will be deeply grateful.
your sister in Potato Bugs, Anya Luz Lobos

Hi Anya,
You are our new hero. We can post a link with your request that takes people to your email address if you would like. Our best explanation is that there was a population explosion that year. Potato Bugs are nocturnal ramblers and often drown in pools. What happened in your case was a perfect storm.

Hi Daniel,
Hello again, New hero? Me? Worst Potato Bug Experience Ever? ALL RIGHT!!! About posting a link… Why not? It would be fun to receive email responses. I can’t help but think that maybe there are other “perfect storm” accounts waiting to be told. Still, it boggles the mind, doesn’t it? I mean, wouldn’t the first two or three bugs that fell in the pond yell, “Help, I’m drowning!” in their language of Jerusalem or via insect radar or whatever, thus alerting the others to the danger? Or is it possible that Potato Bugs are noble and self-sacrificing (albeit stupid) creatures, and that each of the remaining 997 Potato Bugs took the fatal plunge in an effort to save the others? In any case, thank you for the bestowal of honors. I truly do feel honored. Yay me! (This fifty-nine year old cowgirl/queen of the jungle… still rules!) Sincerely,
Anya Luz Lobos
P.S. I might be able to dig up a picture of me at age ten, sitting next to the–now historic–fish pond. Would that qualify me for your home page?

I just found the photo in one of my albums: I’m almost ten tears old and am sitting next to the pond with my best friend Beatrice. This photo was taken shortly before the “perfect storm” incident. Neither Beatrice (left) nor I even knew that Potato Bugs existed, at that point!

Ed. Note:  November 15, 2011
We believe that 1000s of Potato Bugs were driven to drown after being parasitized by Horsehair Worms or Gordian Worms.

Hi there bugman, It’s Amy again. I just wrote a rather wordy letter a little while ago. Well, I had to write you another letter after browsing the website a bit more. The part about the worst bug stories ever, and itching…I can tell you from personal experience (unfortunately) that the bugs causing big red itchy bumps on the skin in the one womans story about her three kids very well could have been "body lice". I know, sounds gross. I was sixteen when I got them from kids I babysat. Their mother had a very hard time trying to identify what was going on, even finding a bug to begin with was difficult. When we finally found the buggers, they were all over the bed underneath the sheets. We had to do the "magicians swipe" of the sheets to catch anything before they scattered. They look like ticks. I brought one to my dermatologist and he identified it as a body louse. The treatment is just like for headlice…pretty much, but you have to leave the lotion on for 24 to 48 hours then shower, and wash everything and spray mattresses and couches, etc. Pretty nasty experience, but I suspect that’s probably the problem this woman had with her children. I would encourage you to try to find a pic of a body louse, as well as other types of lice, so that people can try to identify them if need be. Talk about nasty bugs with no earthly good use…ick

Thanks for the tip Amy. Body Lice are not fun and should have professional attention. We only post photos supplied by our readers, but we will gladly post any images of Lice that come in..

my oh my can you help me?
about 2 months ago I started to notice the paint in the restroom area of my 750 sq ft apt. just small areas seemed maybe too much moisture. along with tiny bubbling. Well one month ago today I after being somewhat itchy off and on for 2 weeks awoke with over 50 lesion like blisterous wounds that appeared to have borer traits. this began on my back and the backside of my thighs and armpit area. at first I thought the common insects of home pest however after a lot of quarreling with property management and their continuous refusal to exterminate I began infestation eradication myself. What I have found is that my apt is now unlivable walls are bubbled (paint) every square inch my couch ,kitchen cabinets, my bed, even makeup and jewelry as well as my skin are home to what? The health dept environmental serve. said they found nothing but look at these pic and please tell me I am imagining that I am homeless, possesionless and scarless or identify this so I can prepare my traumatized head for infectious disease lockdown. I can also tell you it is contagious as my neighbors buddy now has problem along with all residents in our building. please help me. my truck leather seats and even down to my shoe soles are damaged permethrins did not work in removeal even large doses.
there will be another email of pics thank you please hurry with help.

Walls In early June came out of leg in ???

Rear Thigh Exit Wound Wood Candle Holder

Try to Enter Skin Arm Suddenly Crustatedon

my oh my help! here are some more pics thank you please keep name anonymous however city phoenix state arizona can be public.

Wall Exit 3 Weeks Later Edge Kitchen Cabinet

Picked Off Arm in Iodine Side View Cabinet

Dear Anonymous in Phoenix Arizona,
There is definitely a problem here, but we don’t feel qualified to diagnosis it. I would strongly suggest a trip to the dermatologist as a start.

Ekbom Syndrome
October 21, 2009
Here at the University of Georgia we are conducting a research project on Ekbom Syndrome (the clinical name for delusory parasitosis). We know responding to these individuals can take a lot of your time, so please feel free to refer them to us at 706-542-9033 or
Dr. Nancy C. Hinkle

Hi, Your website is awsome, and answers many questions. Anyway, I thought I would share a termite (I think a termite?) horror story. You may not be able to post it as it is a bit graphic but I think it is a great story and a very important PSA for any woman with termites in her house. Anyway, when I was about 12 or 13 I started using tampons. As any girlcan tell you, when you first start you can’t do it very well. So I was in the bathroom (of our termite infested house) wrestling with this damn thing which I couldn’t (THANKFULLY) get in and finally gave up. Blaming the product, I put it up to my face and popped the cotton part out of the plastic applicator to see if maybe there was something wrong with it. Well,to my horror there were maggots (my biggest fear) writhing all over the cotton, in and out of little holes they had made. I threw it across the room as I assume anyone would and then realized after the shock of maggots in my face, that I had just been trying to shove that thing in myself. After thinking about it I realized that the grubs were most likely not maggots but termite larva, we had just had a “termite night” the day before, where the adult termites fly all over the place and you have to sit around with the lights out. I do not use tampons anymore without first inspecting the cotton part THOROUGHLY. So the moral of this story is to all women, pop the cotton out of the tampon before using to make sure you are not disturbing anyone’s meal.
Jade Shiroma

Dear Jade,
While your story is truly horrific, I don’t believe you had termite larvae eating the cotton of the tampon. Termite young are cared for within the colony. A more likely suspect are certain moths or beetles that eat natural fibers.

That makes so much more sense. Thanks and I will continue to tell everybody about your site. Thanks so much.