Melbourne woman awakens with flying cockroach in her ear

ER doctors say scenario not uncommon

By Ashleigh Coran - Executive Producer
Katie Holley

Katie Holley, 28, of Melbourne, Florida, said at the ER a doctor removed part of a roach from her ear. It wasn't until 9 days later that the head and antinne of the bug were removed from her ear canel at an ENT.

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Those screams you hear?

They're the collective sounds of primal anguish coming from readers of a Melbourne, Florida, woman's account of waking up with a palmetto bug in her ear. That's the polite name for a flying cockroach, for those of you not acquainted with the reviled Sunshine State insects.

Katie Holley's gruesome experience happened in the early-morning hours of April 14. Soon after, her sister-in-law -- who works as an editor for Self Magazine -- asked her to pen an essay. She did -- in frightening, gut-churning detail.

Katie Holley, 29, of Melbourne says a roach recently crawled into her ear while she slept.

"I shot up out of bed because I felt something in my left ear," 29-year-old Holley said. "It felt like a chip of ice or cold water." 

In an interview with News 6 Friday, Holley described the moment she bolted out of bed and to the bathroom to figure out there was a palmetto bug stuck in her ear. 

Her husband confirmed that terrifying news while peering into her ear using the light on his phone. 

"He tried to remove it with tweezers and pulled off some legs," Holley told News 6. 

Holley went to the emergency room, where doctors used solution to numb her ear and kill the roach. 

"For two minutes, I could feel the roach thrashing," Holley said, "literally dying in my ear." 

Holley said within 20 seconds, the doctor removed three small pieces of the roach and said it was all over. 

Overwhelmed and relieved that it was done, the couple went to Walmart to get ear plugs before heading home. 

"I just couldn't sleep because I was too wired and my ear hurt," Holley explained. 

As it turned out, the pain in her ear did not get better as the week progressed, and Holley knew something was not right. 

"It felt like something was in there but I just assumed my ear was inflamed from having a bug in there," Holley said. "I didn't assume there was 75 percent of a roach still left in my ear." 

Nine days after the trauma of going to the emergency room, Holley discovered from her pediatrician that leftover roach was still lodged in her ear.

They removed it and the pain and discomfort went away. 

"It's a very bizarre thing to happen," Holley said, "It's a very Florida thing to happen." 

Since the incident, Holley and her husband have started sleeping with cotton balls in their ears as a precaution. 

She is now using humor to try and to handle the nightmare situation. 

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