Honeybee and wasp venom allergy: Sensitization and immunotherapy

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2018 Oct;16(10):1228-1247. doi: 10.1111/ddg.13670.


Hymenoptera venom allergy is the most common cause of anaphylactic reactions in adults. In children, it is the second most common cause after food-related anaphylaxis. Such reactions are primarily due to stings by honeybees (Apis) and certain social wasps (Vespula vulgaris and Vespula germanica in particular). Especially in adults, stings are frequently associated with severe anaphylaxis. Established diagnostic methods including molecular tests allow for greater success rates in terms of determining the insect actually responsible for triggering the anaphylactic reaction. Sensitization to both venoms, or a history of systemic sting reaction without any evidence of sensitization, complicate the decision regarding treatment. Venom immunotherapy (VIT) is a safe and effective causal treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy
  • Animals
  • Bee Venoms / immunology*
  • Bees
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / diagnosis
  • Insect Bites and Stings / immunology*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / therapy*
  • Intradermal Tests
  • Male
  • Wasp Venoms / immunology*
  • Wasps


  • Bee Venoms
  • Wasp Venoms
  • Immunoglobulin E