Forty patients who had previously experienced severe systemic reactions after a bee sting were desensitized using pure bee venom. A modified 'Rush' regimen was employed whereby patients received two injections a week and reached maximal desensitization in 5 weeks. Eleven patients have subsequently been stung again and have developed no generalized reaction. Although this form of desensitization is considered to be highly effective in protecting sensitive patients, both generalized and local side-effects were frequent. Maintenance desensitizing injections are required every month for an indefinite period. It is concluded that desensitization with pure been venom should be undertaken only in highly selected sensitive patients, and should be performed under strict control.