Hymenoptera Stings

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


The Hymenoptera order includes over 150,000 different species of flying and non-flying insects. Some species within this order have modified ovipositors (female reproductive organs) which can also act as stingers. Hymenopteran stings only cause local inflammation in most people. However, they also account for the largest percentage of envenomation-related deaths in the United States. Most deaths result from immediate hypersensitivity reactions and anaphylaxis. This activity concentrates on the most common and clinically relevant species: Apidae (bees), Vespidae (wasps, yellow jackets, hornets), and Formicidae (specifically, fire ants). All 3 of these species inject venom via modified ovipositors in their abdomen (stingers), into prey, or as a defense mechanism.

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