Last night I got sting by a wasp and because of the time of the year I suppose it is a queen. But usually it swells and hurts for a day after it, but this time nothing happened only that I woke up of the sting which hurt a little for a short time, but in the morning I couldn't find any signs of the sting.

Now is this because of the poison is worked out because it could be a pretty 'old' new wasp queen and her enzymes like histamines and aptoxine are got too old? Or do queen wasps not use/have poison or less? Or is it my body that just reacted different?

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    $\begingroup$ A good read. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Mar 28, 2017 at 11:17
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    $\begingroup$ Ok interesting, so higher levels of spiroacetyls in the worker venom are more harmful than the acetamide in the queens. $\endgroup$
    – Marijn
    Mar 28, 2017 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because question is based on an anecdotal example. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Mar 29, 2017 at 9:31
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD although I agree the bulk of the question is based around an anecdotal experience, the root of the question is both on-topic and interesting. I'm voting to keep open. Marijn, perhaps you could edit this a bit to reflect more on the biology and less on the personal experience. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2017 at 12:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Marijn If you read that article carefully, the focus of the research isn't on the potency of the venom itself with repsect to how much harm is caused to the victim; but instead, the research was exploring a comparison between a queen wasp's venom with that of a worker (or guard) wasps, in regards to how well the release of the venom alerted other wasps to attack -- i.e., the signaling efficacy of the venom, not the potency of its damaging effects. ".. as soon as a guard wasp stings an attacker, the venom releases an alarm-signalling odour picked up by the workers .." $\endgroup$
    – user22020
    Aug 17, 2017 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


Yes, all female wasps are expected to have venom. In the case of social wasps, which I am inferring is what stung you, all female wasps are equally potent as they're morphologically the same. [This opens the question of how could you say this was a queen wasp.] The only difference between a wasp worker and a queen is that a worker is forced to fly around and forage by the queen so it doesn't have the time and energy to invest into laying eggs.

The following paper discusses this: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2008000600011

However, not all individuals are the same, both wasps and people, so you may have been stung by a rather weakened wasp/species to which you're not particularly sensitive.

I'd like to recommend the following paper which isn't about wasps, but discusses fundamental venom composition differences between fire ant workers and queens.

Fire Ant Queen Venom is Fire Ants' Secret Weapon This is the DOI reference: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2018.11.428

(Free Version) This is the DOI reference: https://doi.org/10.1101/454637

Contrary to wasps, most species of ants present a marked caste specialisation, meaning queens are quite different from workers. However, they still produce (and deliver) venom.

Thanks for your account!


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