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A Taiwanese woman’s eye infection turned out to be caused by bees living in her eye and drinking her tears

Doctors found the bees feeding on her tear ducts under her swollen eyelids.
Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

Doctors treating a Taiwanese woman with an eye infection was surprised when they found four bees embedded in her eye, feeding from her tear ducts, Taiwanese news channel CTS has reported.

In a news broadcast uploaded to YouTube on April 3, a CTS reporter said that the 29-year-old Taiwanese woman – identified by her surname He – went to Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan after experiencing severe pain in her eye.

There, doctors found the bees feeding on her tear ducts under her swollen eyelids, CTS said.

The hospital’s head of ophthalmology, Dr Hung Chi-ting said at a press conference that such bees nest near graves and in fallen trees, so chances of coming across them while hiking in the mountains are high, Apple Daily Taiwan reported.

“I was visiting and tidying a relative’s grave with my family. I was squatting down and pulling out weeds,” He said at a news conference.

Assuming that sand or dirt had gotten into her eye, He said that she cleaned her eye with water at the time.

However, she started experiencing a stinging pain and teared continuously.

During the press conference, Dr Hung said: “I saw something that looked like insect legs, so I pulled them out under a microscope slowly, and one at a time without damaging their bodies.”

The insects were later identified as sweat bees, Apple Daily said.

Dr Huang explained to reporters that even though sweat bees do not attack people, they are attracted to the perspiration of humans.

Thankfully, He did not rub her eyes excessively – which could have worsened the state of her inflamed cornea – or in a severe case, could have led to blindness, Apple Daily Taiwan reported.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, sweat bees – also known as halictidae – are small but not aggressive.

However, sweat bees are attracted to perspiration and have a tendency to land on humans to obtain moisture and salts from their sweat, the department said.

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