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Name: Philip
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

what type of acid is in a bee sting

The question reflects a common misunderstanding about the nature of bee venom. While anyone who receives a sting might think that she/he had received an acid burn, one of the main components of bee venom, mellitin, is actually a highly basic peptide which is cytotoxic or kills cells. Bee venom also contains several identified enzymes that further act to destroy tissue and, not surprisingly, are found in inflammatory cells that are drawn into the reaction to the sting. Acting specifically on local pain receptors, this soup of reactive peptides can make the victim feel that massive damage has been done. The most dangerous aspect of a sting, however, lies in its induction of an allergic reaction; hypersensitive individuals can be at high risk of death from their own reaction to the toxins that are allergens.

Dr. Dinsmore

Hi Philip...many species of bees and wasps have 2 poison glands, one secrets a toxin that between others have formic acid as constituent, and the other secrets an alkaline neurotoxin; if the poisons act independently they are quite mild, but when they are inject together through the stinger, the combination has strong irritating properties.

And thanks for asking Newton!

(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)

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