Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants belong to the
same family of insects. The honeybee stings once, leaves its stinger behind
after stinging, and then dies. This is in contrast to wasps, hornets, and
yellow jackets, which can sting repeatedly and do not usually lose their
Reactions to stings may include:
A minor reaction with a bump, or wheal, at the
site of the bee sting. Pain and itching may be present and may last from a few
hours to a few days.
Large skin reactions that involve redness and
swelling extending beyond the sting site. This reaction may affect an entire
limb or large area of the body.
Severe life-threatening allergic
Toxic reactions, which are more likely to occur when you
have been stung 10 or more times.
Serum sickness, a rare reaction
to stings, that causes flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and hives beginning 7 to
14 days after an insect sting.
Home treatment is usually all that is needed for minor reactions to
relieve pain and itching. Severe reactions require medical treatment.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.