Bees Found in Woman’s Eye


Max Boland

Halictidae, better known as sweat bees, were found nesting in a woman’s eye in Taiwan. The woman’s name is He, and she was tidying the grave of a relative near a sweat bees’ nest when something that felt like dirt got caught in her eye. He did not think much of it after the incident, until she woke up the next day with her eye swollen shut.

How did this happen?

Sweat bees are attracted to salt, just how the name sounds–but never before have they been found to live on a human host. It’s likely that the four bees got trapped between the eye and the eyelid, and survived off the salt her tears produced.

When He was treated at Fooyin University Hospital, the insect’s legs found under the microscope and retrieved slowly are described as a “world’s first” for sweat bees. Four 3-10 mm bees were extracted, and the small size of the bees makes them hard to see with the naked eye. He will probably be wearing goggles the next time she maintains a relative’s grave, as per the request of her doctor.

Dr. Hung Chi-ting, the hospital’s head of ophthalmology, comments, “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.”

If He had rubbed her eyes, she could’ve killed the insects leading to greater infection and potential blindness. As unfortunate as this story is, He is expected to make a full recovery and the bees will be let back out into the wild.

Junior Nick Scott comments,”That’s real scary and I hope she’s okay.”