Four Bees Found Living In Woman’s Eye, Surviving Off Her Tears

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Graeme Gallagher Contributor
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Taiwanese doctors found four small sweat bees living inside a woman’s eye who were surviving off of her tears, according to BBC.

Measuring only three to four millimeters in length, the tiny bees flew into the 28-year-old woman’s eye when she was pulling weeds at a relative’s grave site. The woman, identified by her family name of He, thought it was only dirt that got caught in her eye and tried to wash it out with water, but the severe pain continued through the night.

“It was very painful. Tears wouldn’t stop coming out of my eye,” she said. “I was scared to death.”

Seeking medical attention after hours of agony, He went to a hospital in southern Taiwan the next morning in which doctors made the surprising discovery. (RELATED: Two Boys Facing Felony Charges For Slaughtering 500,000 Bees)

“She couldn’t completely close her eyes,” said Dr. Hong, an ophthalmology professor at Fooyin University Hospital. “I looked into the gap with a microscope and saw something black that looked like an insect leg.”

“I grabbed the leg and very slowly took one out, then I saw another one, and another and another. They were still intact and all alive.”

In the “world’s first” operation, the doctors removed the bees, who were feeding off the moisture and salt of her tears, from He’s tear ducts and that it could have been much worse if the woman had rubbed her eyes. (RELATED: Man Survives Being Lost On Mount St. Helens By Eating Bees)

“She was wearing contact lenses so she didn’t dare to rub her eyes in case she broke the lens,” said Hong. “If she did she could have induced the bees to produce venom…she could have gone blind.”

“Thankfully she came to the hospital early, otherwise I might have had to take her eyeball out to save her life.”

Each bee was extracted alive and was sent to another organization to be studied.

The woman was diagnosed with cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, and severe corneal erosion caused by the tiny insects. She has been discharged from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. (RELATED: Watch The First-Ever Robotic Bee Pollinate A Flower)

Also known as Halictidae, sweat bees are attracted to sweat and land on people to drink their perspiration. They are known to “nest near graves and in fallen trees, so it’s easy to come across them while hiking in mountains,” said Hong.

They have also been discovered to consume tears because of their high protein content, according to research by the Kansas Entomological Society.