Hymenoptera venom allergy: analysis of double positivity to honey bee and Vespula venom by estimation of IgE antibodies to species-specific major allergens Api m1 and Ves v5

Allergy. 2009 Apr;64(4):543-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2008.01794.x. Epub 2008 Dec 18.


Background: In patients with hymenoptera venom allergy diagnostic tests are often positive with honey bee and Vespula venom causing problems in selection of venoms for immunotherapy.

Methods: 100 patients each with allergic reactions to Vespula or honey bee stings and positive i.e. skin tests to the respective venom, were analysed for serum IgE to bee venom, Vespula venom and crossreacting carbohydrate determinants (CCDs) by UNICAP (CAP) and ADVIA Centaur (ADVIA). IgE-antibodies to species specific recombinant major allergens (SSMA) Api m1 for bee venom and Ves v5 for Vespula venom, were determined by ADVIA. 30 history and skin test negative patients served as controls.

Results: By CAP sensitivity was 1.0 for bee and 0.91 for Vespula venom, by ADVIA 0.99 for bee and 0.91 for Vespula venom. None of the controls were positive with either test. Double positivity was observed in 59% of allergic patients by CAP, in 32% by ADVIA. slgE to Api m1 was detected in 97% of bee and 17% of Vespula venom allergic patients, slgE to Ves v5 in 87% of Vespula and 17% of bee venom allergic patients. slgE to CCDs were present in 37% of all allergic patients and in 56% of those with double positivity and were more frequent in bee than in Vespula venom allergic patients.

Conclusions: Double positivity of IgE to bee and Vespula venom is often caused by crossreactions, especially to CCDs. IgE to both Api m1 and Ves v5 indicates true double sensitization and immunotherapy with both venoms.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Bee Venoms / immunology
  • Bees / immunology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / immunology
  • Insect Proteins / immunology*
  • Phospholipases A / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serologic Tests / methods
  • Skin Tests
  • Wasp Venoms / immunology


  • Allergens
  • Antigens, Plant
  • Bee Venoms
  • Insect Proteins
  • Ves v 5 allergen
  • Wasp Venoms
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Phospholipases A
  • Api m 1 allergen, Apis mellifera