SALT LAKE CITY — Doctors treating a 29-year-old Taiwanese woman for what they thought to be an eye infection were shocked to discover that the woman had four bees embedded in her eye socket and feeding from her tear ducts, Business Insider reported.
The woman, named He, went to Fooyin University Hospital last week after experiencing severe pain in her eye, Insider reported, citing the Taiwanese news channel CTS.
He said she initially thought she had sand or dirt in her eyes but went to the hospital after the stinging pain didn’t leave and her eyes grew increasingly watery.
Dr. Hung Chi-ting, head of Fooyin University Hospital’s ophthalmology department, said in a press conference on April 4 that when he examined He, he “saw something that looked like insect legs” in her eye. According to Asia One, that something ended up being four sweat bees.
Hung pulled the sweat bees out of He’s eye one at a time and under a microscope without damaging their bodies.
According to Business Insider, had He rubbed her eyes more excessively, it would have worsened the condition of her eye and potentially blinded her.
He said she began feeling pain while tidying a family member’s grave.
"I was visiting and tidying a relative's grave with my family. I was squatting down and pulling out weeds," she said, according to Business Insider.
Hung said that sweat bees nest near graves and in fallen trees, so the chances of coming across them while hiking or in graveyards is high.
Sweat bees range from less than one-fourth of an inch to three-fourths of an inch in length and are considered nonaggressive bees, according to BeeInformed.org. They most often nest in the ground.
While sweat bees do feed on pollen and nectar like other bees, they are attracted to the salts and moisture in human sweat, hence their name, according to Bee Informed. Sweat bees sting, but their stings are not as painful as honey bee stings.
All four bees were reportedly removed alive from He’s eyes, and He appears fully recovered, Asia One reported.