Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 170 (4), 223-7

Mass Envenomations by Honey Bees and Wasps

Affiliations
Review

Mass Envenomations by Honey Bees and Wasps

R S Vetter et al. West J Med.

Abstract

Stinging events involving honey bees and wasps are rare; most deaths or clinically important incidents involve very few stings (< 10) and anaphylactic shock. However, mass stinging events can prove life-threatening via the toxic action of the venom when injected in large amounts. With the advent of the Africanized honey bee in the southwestern United States and its potential for further spread, mass envenomation incidents will increase. Here we review the literature on mass stinging events involving honey bees and wasps (i.e., yellowjackets, wasps, and hornets). Despite different venom composition in the two insect groups, both may cause systemic damage and involve hemolysis, rhabdomyolysis, and acute renal failure. Victim death may occur due to renal failure or cardiac complications. With supportive care, however, most victims should be able to survive attacks from hundreds of wasps or approximately 1000 honey bees.

Similar articles

  • Hymenoptera Stings
    KT Fitzgerald et al. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract 21 (4), 194-204. PMID 17265905. - Review
    The medically important groups of Hymenoptera are the Apoidea (bees), Vespoidea (wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets), and Formicidae (ants). These insects deliver their v …
  • Massive Honey Bee Envenomation-Induced Rhabdomyolysis in an Adolescent
    DP Betten et al. Pediatrics 117 (1), 231-5. PMID 16396886. - Case Reports
    Massive envenomations by honey bees are capable of causing multiorgan dysfunction as a result of the direct toxic effects of the large venom load received. Although all v …
  • [Acute Kidney Failure Due to Stings by Africanized Bees]
    R Muñoz-Arizpe et al. Bol Med Hosp Infant Mex 49 (6), 388-90. PMID 1632913. - Review
    Africanized bees are unique in their aggressive behavior, characterized by massive attacks during which the victims are injected an important amount of venom. For this re …
  • Acute Renal Failure Following Massive Attack by Africanized Bee Stings
    NL Bresolin et al. Pediatr Nephrol 17 (8), 625-7. PMID 12185470. - Case Reports
    Bee venom is a complex substance, which acts in several tissues. Although severe allergic reactions have occurred after one or more stings, several deaths have been repor …
  • Acute Myocardial Injury and Rhabdomyolysis Caused by Multiple Bee Stings
    A Mathew et al. J Assoc Physicians India 59, 518-20. PMID 21887913. - Case Reports
    Massive envenomation by honey bees is capable of causing multiorgan dysfunction as a result of direct toxic effect of massive envenomation and secondary to systemic anaph …
See all similar articles

Cited by 32 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. FEBS Lett. 1974 Sep 15;46(1):141-4 - PubMed
    1. Br Med J. 1972 Jan 15;1(5793):156-7 - PubMed
    1. Vrach Delo. 1974 Jan;(1):116-7 - PubMed
    1. Clin Chim Acta. 1976 Feb 2;66(3):405-9 - PubMed
    1. South Med J. 1979 Apr;72(4):483-5 - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback