Bee poison

Apitoxin; Apis venenum purum; Insect sting; Insect bite; Wasp sting; Hornet sting; Yellow jacket sting

This article describes the effects of a sting from a bee, wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poisoning from a sting. If you or someone you are with is stung, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Insect stings and allergy

Allergic reaction to bee stings occurs when a person becomes sensitized to the venom from a previous sting. This reaction is different from the reaction to the poison in the bite of a black widow spider, which injects a potent toxin into the blood. Ordinarily, bee venom is not toxic and will only cause local pain and swelling. The allergic reaction comes when the immune system is oversensitized to the venom and produces antibodies to it. Histamines and other substances are released into the bloodstream, causing blood vessels to dilate and tissues to swell. Severe reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening series of symptoms including swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing. Persons who develop an allergy to bee stings should carry prescription bee sting kits to counteract the reaction to bee venom.

Poisonous Ingredient

Where Found

Symptoms

Home Care

Before Calling Emergency

Poison Control

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

Outlook (Prognosis)