Bees that bring a tear to your eye

An article at the Discover Magazine website describes how tiny sweat bees sit on the rim of human eyes and drink tears. According to the story, researchers used themselves as guinea pigs in order to study the bees as they lined up along their eyelids for a smoothie of sorts.

According to the article, the sweat bees use both tears and perspiration as sources of protein and salt. A quote taken from a Wall Street Journal article on sweat bees indicates that, “These bees prefer sweaty people—over most animals—because the human diet usually is so salty that their perspiration is saturated with the essential nutrient.”

Apparently these little bees rarely sting and they do not climb into your eye. Oftentimes the “host” human didn’t even know they were there. The article explains that the researchers also tested “meat, Ovaltine, cheese, and other foods but the bees preferred human tears.”

Check out the story. It’s interesting and the pictures are, well, kinda gross.

Rusty
HoneyBeeSuite

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Comments

Deborah
Reply

These must be different than those awful sweat bees that used to sting me at camp…

Jeff
Reply

Maybe they are trying to get some Lysozyme?

It is being studied for use as a therapy for treating Chalkbrood (shown to be effective) and Nosemosis (nosema apis & ceranae; mixed results) in honey bee colonies. Lysozyme is commercially extracted from hen egg whites, but it is also found in human tears.

Rusty
Reply

That’s cool–you’re just brimming with miscellaneous information.

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