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Because it felt like dirt or sand in her eye, the woman said she tried to flush it out with water but was unsuccessful. By that evening, the woman was experiencing sharp pains and watery eyes so she sought out medical advice, according to the outlet.
Doctors at Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan then discovered that woman had four sweat bees under her swollen eyelids, feeding on her tear ducts. One by one, Professor Hung Chi-ting said he removed the insects, which were still alive, from her eye.
“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,” he said during the press conference, according to
Though sweat bees do not attack people, Dr. Hung said they are attracted to human perspiration and are often found near graves, which is where he suggested the woman contracted the unwanted visitors in her eye.
She is now on her way to making a full recovery and will likely be wearing goggles at the next visit to her relative’s grave, per Dr. Hung’s suggestion.
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Sweat bees are incredibly small, which makes them difficult for humans to notice as they fly around, according to Terminix.
Though they can appear in large numbers, they typically do not show any signs of aggression — the sweat bees have the least painful sting of all stinging insects — and will only sting someone if they’re pressed against their skin.
Instead of attacking, the bees are merely interested in licking up human sweat with their short tongues as a way to supplement their diets, Terminix reports.
There are currently 1,000 species in the United States, Canada, and Central America, with 44 known species found in Florida.