Bee and Wasp Sting

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are the complications of a bee or wasp sting?

Complications can include the development of infection at the sting site requiring treatment with antibiotics. Systemic allergic reactions can be life-threatening, as discussed above.

How can I prevent a bee or wasp sting?

You can take preventive measures to decrease your chance of being stung by an insect. Effective prevention tips include the following:

  • Avoid, and do not disturb, hives and nests
  • When participating in outdoor activities, avoid fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants outdoors
  • Do not walk barefoot outdoors
  • Do not swat at swarming bees or wasps
  • Exercise caution around fruit trees and blooming flowers
  • Keep garbage away from outdoor activity areas


Vankawala, H. H., et al. “Hymenoptera Stings.” Medscape. 24 Sept. 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2015

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