Toxin components of sweat bees and fire ants

Asked September 17, 2015, 10:03 PM EDT

I have tried to research this but have not been able to find an answer: Is the toxin found in fire ant stings the same chemical composition (or similar) as the toxin found in sweat bee stings? Forty years ago I had a systemic allergic reaction to fire ant stings (hives/welts). Even though stung by wasps several times since then, I have not had the same systemic allergic response as with the fire ants (only localized swelling after wasp sting). This week I was stung by one sweat bee (yellow black variety) and had the same systemic hive/welt allergic response. Is the toxin found in fire ants the same as that in sweat bees (but different from that found in wasps)?

Greenville County South Carolina

1 Response

The venoms for ants bees and wasps vary considerably depending upon the species. Fire ant venom is very unique and I would be surprised if the components were similar to sweat bees. You can develop allergies and allergic reactions over time to more than one specific protein.

I would highly recommend that you visit an allergist to determine what you are reacting to and develop an appropriate treatment.