A Taiwanese girl was discovered by physicians to have four little sweat bees residing inside her eye. It was a shocking discovery and there was more to it.
The 28-year-old girl was pulling weeds out when these sweat bees flew right into her eyes.
Dr. Hong Chi Ting of this Fooyin University Hospital told the BBC that he had been”shocked” when he pulled off the sweat bees from her eyes.
Why do bees hang around someone’s eye in the first place? We know that all bees only collect nectar and pollen for food. There are bee species all around the world that also feed the bodily fluids of living and dead animals, such as animal honeydew, blood, dead meat, dung, sweat, feces, urine, and tears. This is a source of significant nutrients they can’t get from flowers, like sodium, or protein and sugar when floral resources are scarce.
Sweat bees also referred to as Halictidae, are attracted to sweat and suck the sweat from our body. Although they don’t sting, it’s better to kill them, if they seem to have a nest near your home.
She had been weeding about her relatives’ graves once the pests flew right into her left eye.
She had been seeing the grave as part of this yearly Chinese Qing Ming tomb-sweeping festival, and this is traditionally detected by sprucing up family members’ graves.
“She could not fully close her eyes. I looked to the gap using a microscope and found something small that seemed like an insect leg” Dr Hong, an ophthalmology professor at the hospital told the BBC.
“I caught the leg very slowly took out one, I saw the other one, and another and yet another. They were intact and alive.”
Dr. Hong added that the bees might have been blown in her attention with a gust of wind and also found themselves stuck indoors.
“These bees do not normally strike people but they enjoy drinking sweat, hence their title,” he explained.
Dr. Hong added that she had been”blessed” she didn’t rub her eyes while the bees were indoors.
“She had been wearing contact lenses so that she did not dare to rub her eyes if she broke off the lens. When she did she might have triggered the bees to create venom… she might have gone blind.”
“They’re still alive, they have been shipped as specimens to different business and will be analyzed,” explained Dr. Hong. “This is actually the very first time in Taiwan we have seen something similar to this.”
The expression”sweat bee” is used colloquially for bees that ingest human perspiration as a nutritional source.
A lot of people believe the term only refers to bees at the Halictidae household. However, maybe not all of halictid bee species are known to accumulate perspiration, while some species at the Apidae family, particularly stingless bees, are all typical sweat-collectors in tropical regions around the world. Swarms of all sweat-seeking stingless bees can be a hassle to sweaty humans in tropical places.
And it is not just perspiration; stingless bees possess quite diverse tastes and collect many non-floral resources. Additionally, there are a few neotropical Trigona species that accumulate animal tissue as their main protein source, rather than pollen. These species collect floral nectar and make honeylike other stingless bees, but mostly scavenge on carrion.
Irrespective of taxonomy, bees that are attracted to sweat frequently use other physiological fluids, too, such as tears. Tear-feeding is such a common behavior among insects; it’s an official title: lachryphagy. Some stingless bees from south Asia, such as the Lisotrigona species mentioned above, are well-known lachryphagous insects, often seen congregating in groups around creature eyes (like humans) to harvest fluids. They do not harm the creature from the procedure, although their activity might be a nuisance to a.
In South America, Centris bees are large, solitary apid bees, in the same household as stingless bees and honey bees. These bees tend to be observed drinking tears from animal eyes; printed observations comprise interactions using caimans and turtles.
Bees aren’t the only insects that regularly drink from animal eyes. These baits are also generally seen clustered around livestock eyes.