When it stings, the bee leaves its barb behind and usually dies as a result.
The composition and toxicity of the venoms of different types of insects is very complex and differs from one species to another.
Multiple stings present an additional risk factor. The location of the sting is also important. Direct penetration of the venom into the blood when a superficial venule is pierced or a sting affecting mucous membranes can have serious consequences.
The gravity of a reaction depends on the sensitivity of the individual as well as their age, the location of the sting and the quality and quantity of the venom injected.
The venom is bactericidal, bacteriostatic, antifungal and antibiotic, as well as being allergenic... Its anti-inflammatory properties form the basis of venom therapy, popular in the USA. According to traditional medicine, the venom relieves rheumatic and arthritic pain. Its use in the treatment of certain neurological conditions is very controversial.
To inject the venom, practitioners can use live bees (sometimes referred to as apipuncture) or freeze-dried venom injected subcutaneously or intradermally.
Individuals can be desensitised to the venom in a hospital environment; the effectiveness of this is recognised. The allergic patient is brought into contact with specific doses of venom. This type of treatment lasts at least 5 years.
** source: Abeilles et Fleurs – Apitherapy special edition – January 2012