Our previous experiments demonstrated that honeybee venom could induce a specific, adaptive humoral immune response in the American cockroach. Since honeybee venom is a complex substance made up of several proteins, a more defined antigen is needed for future characterization studies. One of the components of bee venom, phospholipase A2 (PA2) was found to be highly lethal and immunogenic in the roach. Roaches injected with PA2 generated a specific primary response that developed over a period of time, peaking within 10 days, and then gradually subsiding by the fifth week. Specificity of this response was demonstrated by the fact that immunized animals were protected against the original immunizing PA2, but not to PA2 from a heterologous source. In addition, a secondary response could be induced with PA2, demonstrating the existence of immunologic memory. Thus, we established that PA2 could induce as good, if not better, humoral responsiveness as whole bee venom, and therefore could be utilized as a more defined antigen in studies designed to characterize the inducible humoral factor in the roach.