A young woman who attended hospital complaining of an itchy eye was found to have four bees living under her eyelid.
Named only as Ms He, the woman had been tending a relative’s grave when her eye became swollen and tender.
The bees were discovered – and carefully extracted while still alive – from her eye socket by medics at Fooyin University Hospital in Taiwan.
The insects are “sweat bees”, so called because they are attracted to human perspiration. In Ms He’s case, they were feeding on the moisture and salt of her tears.
In a press conference reported by AsiaOne, Dr Hung Chi-ting said the 20-year-old had been admitted with cellulitis and keratitis, a bacterial infection and the inflammation of the cornea.
He told reporters that Ms He was fortunate not to have rubbed her eyes as it may have killed the insects, which could have blinded her.
He also advised those those cleaning graves to wear goggles to prevent further ocular infestations of sweat bees.
“She couldn’t completely close her eyes. I looked into the gap with a microscope and saw something black that looked like an insect leg,” Dr Hong, an ophthalmology professor at the hospital told the BBC.
He added: “I grabbed the leg and very slowly took one out, then I saw another one, and another and another. They were still intact and all alive.”