Insect Sting Allergy: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/21/2020

Insect sting allergy is the development of an allergic reaction to the sting of insects including honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants. Most cases of insect stings do not cause an allergic reaction but may cause local pain, irritation, and swelling.

The most serious type of allergic reaction to an insect sting is anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock. These reactions can be life-threatening and are associated with symptoms such as

Other symptoms and signs of an insect sting allergy may include

Cause of an insect sting allergy

In some people, a true allergic reaction develops, caused by an antibody known as immunoglobulin E (IgE).

Other insect sting allergy symptoms and signs

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Itching
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Skin Flushing (Redness)
  • Swelling of the Tongue
  • Tingling or Itching Feeling Inside the Mouth

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.