The honey bee, at least according to one school of entomological thought, shares with the yellow jacket the distinction of being among the most common of the venomous stinging insects. Only the female honey bee stings, usually only on perceiving a threat.
Mayo Clinic investigators from Rochester, Minn, reporting at the American Academy of Allergy meeting in New Orleans, described four patients sensitive to honey bee stings, for whom active immunization with honey bee venom failed to provide protection. All are from families that keep bees.
Passive immunotherapy was attempted using plasma from hyperimmune beekeepers. Eventually, reported John W. Yunginger, MD, and P. J. Santrach, these patients could tolerate daily (deliberate) bee stings.
However, systemic reactions again resulted if the interval between stings was increased to one week. Yunginger and Santrach conclude: "Clinical immunity to stings is not simply dependent on IgG phospholipase A antibody levels but may be modulated