A young Taiwanese woman named He took herself to a hospital this week complaining of a swollen eye, she expected to be treated for a simple infection.
Instead, the 29-year-old and her doctor were horrified to discover four bees living under her eyelids, feasting on her tears.
Doctors at Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan described the incident as a “world first”, having successfully managed to extract all four sweat bees alive from He’s tear duct.
Speaking at a press conference, the hospital’s head of ophthalmology Dr Hung Chi-ting 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.”
According to CTS News, He, who was referred to by her surname only, had been tending to a family member’s grave and was pulling out weeds when she felt something go into her eye. Presuming it was soil, she washed it out with water but by night it had begun to swell up and she felt a sharp stinging pain under her eyelid.
At the hospital the next morning, Hung had suspected an infection, but when he looked at He’s eye through a microscope, he saw the tiny legs of the bees wriggling in her ducts, where they were feeding off the moisture and salt of her tears.
He’s eyesight, and the lives of the bees, were saved by the fact she had not rubbed her eyes.
The small bees, known as Halictidae or “sweat bees”, are attracted to human perspiration and are found all over the world. They are not usually aggressive and sting only if touched.
Hung told the press conference that sweat bees commonly nest in the mountains and near graves which explained how they had come into contact with He.