Specific IgE-antibodies and haemagglutinins to bee venom were determined in fifty-five bee sting allergic patients, fifty-seven bee keepers and fifty-two blood donors without evident allergy to hymenoptera stings. IgE-antibodies were detected by RAST in 70% of allergic patients, 40% of bee keepers and 12% of blood donors.
Most bee keepers with detectable IgE-antibodies to bee venom recorded severe local or even general reactions to bee stings. Most blood donors with detectable specific IgE had been stung by hymenoptera in the past.
High titres of haemagglutinating antibodies against phospholipase A were found in most bee keepers, occasionally in bee sting allergic patients but only rarely in blood donors.
The determination of specific IgE-antibodies to insect venoms by RAST seems to be a valuable method for the diagnosis of hymenoptera sting allergy.