Allergy to bee venom


An allergy is a reaction of the body’s own immune system to foreign substances (so-called allergens) which actually have no infectious properties whatsoever. The organism reacts to these allergens by stimulating the development of inflammatory processes and the production of antibodies. Most allergic reactions manifest themselves through rashes in the skin and/or mucous membrane.

Bee venom (apitoxin) is one of the typical substances that trigger allergic reactions. It consists of a mixture of different secretions which are introduced (injected) into the skin through the bee sting. For allergy sufferers, a bee sting represents a life-threatening situation that must be treated quickly.


In humans, bee venom often causes small inflammations in the area of the sting. These inflammations are usually accompanied by local swelling, pain and redness. For the common non-allergic person, a single bee sting poses no danger at all; for such people, only a large number of stings can cause problems.

For non-allergic persons, only bee stings in the area of the throat and pharynx are dangerous, since the respiratory tract can be severely constricted by the local swellings and breathing is therefore restricted. In addition, the respiratory tract, the eyes and the gastrointestinal tract can be affected. Many allergens also typically cause fever, fatigue and severe sleep disturbances. For people who suffer from an allergy to bee venom, however, even a single insect sting far from the throat can become a life-threatening situation. Especially the shortness of breath is very pronounced here.

Causes of bee venom allergy

As soon as the substances (allergens) contained in bee venom enter the bloodstream, an allergic reaction can be triggered. Each insect venom is composed of a different combination of substances, the bee venom contains among others: These substances are significantly involved in triggering an allergy. As soon as the organism comes into contact with these substances via the bloodstream, it begins to produce certain defence substances (so-called antibodies).

Already in the course of the first sting a multitude of antibodies of the class IgE (immunoglobulin E) is produced and released into the bloodstream. These antibodies then bind permanently to so-called mast cells, which in turn are counted as white blood cells (leukocytes). With every further sting that leads to the organism being exposed to bee venom, the antibodies already formed recognise the allergens and form a firm bond with them (complex formation).

This is the signal for the entire organism to produce a certain substance, histamine, in increased quantities and to release it into the bloodstream. Histamine, in turn, itself plays a decisive role in the development of the typical symptoms of an allergic reaction; it causes severe itching, pain and the contraction of smooth muscle cells. This contraction causes, for example, a significant narrowing of the airways, which can lead to respiratory distress and, in the worst case, death by suffocation. – Phospholipase A

  • Mellitin and
  • Hyaluronidase.