Allergy to honeybee … not only stings

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Aug;15(4):364-8. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000191.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to provide a brief overview of the risks of consumption of bee products in honeybee venom allergic patients and compositae allergic patients, the potential allergens involved in these reactions, the advancement in solving diagnostic difficulties, and management of allergic reactions to bee products.

Recent findings: Allergic patients to bee venom and compositae allergic patients may be allergic to bee products. Several bee products allergens have been identified in bee venom.

Summary: Anaphylaxis to bee products is rare. Some studies show a clear association between some aeroallergens such as compositae with allergic reactions to bee products. Additionally, allergic reactions to bee products are associated with severe outcomes in atopic and patients with lung disorders and are a common occupational disease in beekeepers. Possible cross-reactivities have been suggested between bee components and bee venom. Furthermore some studies found patients with concomitant allergy to honey or to propolis and bee venom. Nevertheless a direct relationship between allergy to bee products and bee venom has not been shown. However, cross-reactivites between bee products and bee venom might be relevant in some cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Bee Venoms / immunology
  • Bee Venoms / toxicity
  • Bees*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / pathology
  • Honey / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Insect Bites and Stings / immunology*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / pathology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*


  • Allergens
  • Bee Venoms