Holy crap, these bees will DRINK TEARS FROM YOUR EYESS

Understand that when I say "this creeps me the hell out," it's coming from somebody who is usually pretty okay with bees. Hell, I like bees. But this? This is just... well, see for yourself.

The insects you see pictured here belong to various families of bees native to Thailand that actually consume tears, both human and animal, as a form of sustenance. The photographs were taken by a group of entomologists who used their own eyes as bait while studying the saline-suckers. According to 80beats, the researchers also used meat, Ovaltine, cheese, and other foods to attract the bees, but these ravenous hellspawn found nothing as alluring as good ol' human tears.

In one of the most skin-crawling accounts I've ever seen in a journal article, the researchers describe the bees' unyielding tenacity in all tear-related pursuits:

On landing, automatic blinking with the eye often prevented the bee from getting a firm hold, causing it to fall off the eyelashes. If so, the bee persistently tried again and again until it was successful, or finally gave up and flew off. In a very few cases the approach was so gentle that the host (H.B.) did not realize he had a Lisotrigona attached to his lid, imbibing his tears. After landing and whilst sucking tears, H.B. often could barely feel the presence of a bee; indeed, checking by mirror was then required to make sure whether it was still there or had left.

However, when several bees were involved, the experience was rather unpleasant, causing strong tear flow. Once a bee had settled and more were approaching, these tended to settle near each other in a row. Closing the eye did not necessarily dislodge bees but some continued to suck at the slit.

Emphasis mine. Because that last sentence is nothing if not highly concentrated nightmare fuel, and I wasn't about to let any of you miss it.

The researchers hypothesize that these bees actually use tears as a protein source, though it's possible that their salt content plays a role, as well. That would gel with recent findings on sweat bees — bees which, like their name suggests, feed on human perspiration, using our skin like a salt lick. [Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society via 80 Beats]