The allergenic properties of bee venom and whole bee body extract were compared by in vivo and in vitro tests. The majority of patients with known bee sting sensitivity had positive intracutaneous skin test reactions with bee venom and had bee venom specific IgE in their sera. Of seventeen patients with positive bee venom skin tests, nine had positive tests with whole bee body extract. Of thirty sera containing elevated levels of bee venom specific IgE obtained from untreated patients, fourteen sera contained whole body specific IgE but in much lower titres.
In RAST inhibition experiments using both bee venom and whole bee body extract as coupling antigens, bee venom was a more potent inhibiting antigen than whole body extract.
From these experiments we conclude that bee venom is a more potent allergen than whole bee body extract.