Stinging Insect Allergies

Bees, wasps, hornets, and more

What are stinging insect allergies?

As the name suggests, stinging insect allergies are a category of allergic reactions to stinging insects like hornets, bees, wasps, and others. While most common insect stings are not harmful on their own beyond causing some pain and discomfort, a person who is allergic to insect stings may experience more severe symptoms, or even anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction to being stung.

Because of this, it’s very important for both adults and children to understand whether or not they are allergic to common stinging insects, and take appropriate steps to avoid exposure to these insects. At Premier Allergy & Asthma, our team is here to help. Call us at (614) 328-9927 to get the diagnosis and resources you need to manage your stinging insect allergy.

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Stinging insect allergy symptoms

Severe swelling, itchiness, and redness

Most insect stings cause minor itchiness, redness, and swelling. But these may be more pronounced in a person who has a stinging insect allergy.

Flushing and hives

Flushing of the face and body can occur when stung. Hives and redness throughout the body are also common signs of a stinging insect allergy.


Anaphylaxis is an acute, severe, and life-threatening allergic reaction. Signs of this include dizziness, fainting, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, and abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. You must call 911 right away if you suspect anaphylaxis due to an insect sting.

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Diagnosing stinging insect allergies

At Premier Allergy & Asthma, we will discuss your health history, current reactions, and symptoms to get a better understanding of the issue causing pain.

Then, we can use skin tests involving small amounts of insect venom to find out the exact insect causing a reaction.

Treatments for stinging insect allergies

Epinephrine auto-injectors

Known by the brand name EpiPen, epinephrine auto-injectors deliver a powerful dose of adrenaline that helps relieve the symptoms of anaphylaxis. An EpiPen is recommended for any patient who has experienced a serious anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting. It must be carried with you or your child at all times.


Venom immunotherapy

Through venom immunotherapy, a provider at Premier Allergy & Asthma gradually administers increased doses of venom to decrease the sensitivity over a period of weeks and months. Eventually, this can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your allergy to insect stings.

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How can I prevent insect stings?

First, identify areas where stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, and others tend to congregate, and be sure to avoid these areas. If stinging insects nest in or near your home, consider hiring an exterminator to eliminate them. 

You should also reduce the amount of exposed skin by wearing a hat, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, and pants in areas where you could be exposed to stinging insects. Keep food and drinks covered when eating outdoors to avoid attracting insects, and avoid outdoor garbage cans, which often attract stinging insects.

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