Topic Overview

Many insects, such as the following, cause mild reactions:

Some insects are more likely than others to cause allergic or toxic

  • A
    bee leaves its stinger behind and then dies after
    stinging. Africanized honeybees, the so-called
    killer bees, are more aggressive than common honeybees
    and often attack together in great numbers. Reaction to bee stings can range from minor skin swelling and redness to a serious allergic reaction.
  • Wasps, including hornets and yellow jackets, can sting over and over. Yellow jackets
    cause the greatest number of allergic reactions.
  • A
    fire ant attaches to a person by biting with its jaws.
    Then, pivoting its head, it stings from its abdomen in a circular pattern at
    multiple sites.

Bites and stings are more serious if you develop one or more of the
following conditions after an insect or spider bite or sting:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP – Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O’Connor, MD – Emergency Medicine

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017