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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, according to a report by Taiwanese news channel CTS.
In a news broadcast uploaded to YouTube on April 3, a CTS reporter said that the 29-year-old Taiwanese woman named 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.
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."
29-year-old Taiwanese woman named He
Curious to know more, his team launched a year-long study. They stopped by 10 sites throughout Thailand. They studied dry and wet sites, at high and low elevations, in evergreen forests and floral gardens. At half of the sites, they put out seven smelly baits that they knew many bees like — such as steamed sardines, salted and sometimes smoked fish, smoked ham, cheese, fresh pork, old meat (not yet rotted) and the Ovaltine powder used to make cocoa. Then they watched for hours. Many stingless bees visited the baits — but none of the type that had shown a preference for tear-sipping.
team leader Bänziger volunteered to be the primary guinea pig, allowing more than 200 interested bees to sip from his eyes. His team recounted the bees’ behavior in a 2009 paper in the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society.
It didn’t hurt, Bänziger reported. In some cases a bee was so gentle he wasn’t sure if it had left until he used a mirror for confirmation. But when multiple bees came for a joint drink-fest, which might last an hour or more, things could turn itchy. Bees sometimes cycled in to take the place of a departing bug. Several insects might line up in a row, each slurping up tears for several minutes. Afterward, Bänziger’s eye sometimes stayed red and irritated for more than a day.