Putzi Flies

It’s pretty cushy living here in Lusaka, but one thing that kind of freaks me out is the “putzi” fly (sometimes called “putsi” fly).

Back in September when I commented on the fact that hardly anyone has a dryer (just like Italy) someone said, “oh, you can have your help iron your clothes.”  I said, “we don’t have much that needs ironing,” and they responded, “you have to iron everything, even your underwear, otherwise the putzi flies will get you.”

Apparently, the putzi fly lays its eggs on damp clothes and then when humans come into contact with the eggs through putting on their clothes, the eggs hatch into maggots who burrow their way under your skin and create boils.  This scenario, truly, is the only thing that has alarmed me about living here.  Malaria, polluted water, snakes, those are all fine, but the idea of a maggot sneaking up on me through my clothes gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Fortunately, heat kills the eggs very easily (if, in fact, a putzi fly has found your clothes).  So, you can iron everything as my friend said, or, you can get a dryer and dry all of your clothes like most Americans (Angie excepted … 🙂 ).  (BTW, we have no problem living without a dryer; we lived a year in Rome without one just fine though I do have to say I don’t miss the stiff jeans.)

As you know, we arrived last Thursday, guess what we bought on Friday?  White Wanda below.

The odd thing about dryers here are that they have no vents; you just plug them in and see that grate in the front?  It spews out all of the lint and hot air.  Luckily, we have a little laundry room with big windows so the lint is well-contained.

p.s.  for those who want to read up on putzi flies, here you go:



p.s.s.  To all of our anticipated visitors, we have seen no flesh-eating-bugs/snakes/lions/terrorists and rest assured, we will make sure your sheets are dried by Wanda and ironed.


About Kimm X Jayne

Gravatar Photograph from the exceptionally talented Ben Heine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/benheine/3794765860/
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9 Responses to Putzi Flies

  1. Marge says:

    I am totally grossed out about the putzi fly…Michigan Winters seem okay now.

  2. Mikey says:

    Yuck! The flies, slugs, paralyzing ticks, spiders and sharks in Oz somehow don’t seem so bad. So I endorse the Wanda solution.

  3. Sarah says:

    I lived in Lusaka for a year and completely feel your pain. I never would have anticipated having to iron my underwear and towels before moving there. The plus side I guess is that I am incredibly good at ironing very effectively and efficiently now. Ah, but I miss Lusaka for sure, even with the possibility of parasitic flies 🙂 enjoy it!

    • Peter Pratt says:

      my six year old daughter Tracey had putsi flies in her head, the doctor said we must shear vasalene over the eruption as grease smothers them so they come up without breaking the head inside…it did the trick, we found out that our house boy hadn’t ironed the bed pillow case’s. My wife after that horrible scenario did her own ironing after that. as told in my book ‘The Road From Grimsby’ that tells our life in Africa and the Copperbelt 1964

      -Dec 75
      Peter Pratt

  4. Pingback: Ewwww…. | Letters from Lusaka

  5. Jackie says:

    I remember having a putzi fly in my back a number of years ago in Lusaka, funny grew up there my whole life and never had any as a child but in my adult life!! My poor granddaughter almost 2 has 4 with two of them popped out….so painful!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am moving somewhere with the same kind of flies. How long do you have to iron the clothing and at how high of a temperature? Do you iron both inside and outside? How many minutes of dryer time is needed instead of ironing? Thanks!

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      hmmmm…I really have no idea. Some things I’ve read have said when the clothes are completely dry. I just put my clothes straight from the washer to the drier and never had a problem. Also I just read that the eggs die within 48 hours so any clothes worn after that period (that they’re dry) are okay. Good luck!

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