Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme

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Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme Image by Marty Ross MD

Updated: 3/28/23

Probability of Health Improvement

  • My clinical experience: not enough experience to say
  • MyLymeData: no research conducted
  • Other research: no published research
  • Placebo effect benefit of any prescription medicine: 30-40 percent

Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme

Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) uses bee venom to improve Lyme symptoms. BVT is given directly through bee stings or through injection by a healthcare provider. One protocol developed by a person living with Lyme calls for 10 bee stings three times a week at spots located along the spine. For more information about this protocol, see the “Resources” section below.

To be clear, there is no research in Lyme disease showing how often or how much bee venom through stings per treatment is the most useful. My research on this shows that the protocols and treatment methods have been learned by trial and error.

Does Bee Venom Therapy for Lyme Help?

The best response I have to questions about BVT effectiveness is maybe it works. I think BVT is a therapy to consider if 6-9 months of The Ross Lyme Support Protocol does not provide significant improvements.

A small number of patients in my Seattle Lyme practice tried BVT on their own. Some got symptom improvements using this method. However, I am unclear based on my experience what the actual success rate is among people trying this healing method. There is no research indicating this either.

How BVT in Lyme Could Help

Non-Lyme Disease Research

Most of the research on BVT is done in laboratory animal studies. These non-Lyme disease studies show BVT

  • decreases cytokines,
  • decreases nerve cell death, and
  • lowers activation of NF-kB, which is a cellular messenger that triggers cytokine production.

Inflammation cytokines, created by the immune system attacking Lyme, cause most of the Lyme symptoms. So lowering them could help a person significantly. These non-Lyme animal studies may indicate what happens in humans; however, the effect in humans may not be the same.

To read more about these cytokines and ways to lower them, see Control Cytokines: A Guide to Fix Lyme Symptoms & The Immune System..

Lyme Disease Research

There is only one study about Lyme and BVT. In this study, Lyme researcher Eva Sapi, PhD carried out modified petri-dish experiments in her lab. She found that one BVT component called melittin and whole bee venom both

  • reduce Lyme biofilms,
  • decrease Lyme persister cells,
  • kill spirochetes, and
  • kill round bodies (cysts).

Therefore, it is possible BVT kills regular Lyme and persister Lyme. In addition, BVT could break up Lyme biofilms that block treatment. One word of caution here: it is very possible that this laboratory result does not correctly predict what happens in living people.

Read more about biofilms and effective treatment options in Biofilms: Lyme Disease Gated Communities. Read more about antimicrobial strategies for Lyme in A Lyme Disease Antibiotic Guide. Read more about persister Lyme and possible treatment approaches in How to Treat Persister Lyme and Bartonella


About 5-7.5 percent of all people could develop allergies to bee stings. Check with your physician or healthcare provider first before trying this form of therapy.


For more information about the ins and outs of doing BVT, see BVT for Lyme by Ellie Lobel ( This site documents the strategy Lobel uses to perform BVT on herself. She also runs a BVT Facebook group. I do not agree with the various supplements she describes and cannot verify her claims of success, but I am including her as a resource for those looking at how to do this form of therapy.

One other option is to find an apitherapist. Apitherapist are trained to use BVT.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.


View Citations

  1. Brown WA. The Placebo Effect. Scientific American. January 1, 1998: 90–95. Accessed Novemer 6, 2022. (View)
  2. Enck P, Klosterhalfen S, Weimer K, Horing B, Zipfel S. The placebo response in clinical trials: More questions than answers. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011;366(1572):1889-1895. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0384 (View)
  3. Socarras KM, Theophilus PAS, Torres JP, Gupta K, Sapi E. Antimicrobial activity of bee venom and melittin against Borrelia burgdorferi. Antibiotics (Basel). 2017;6(4):31. doi:10.3390/antibiotics6040031 (View)
  4. Zhang S, Liu Y, Ye Y, et al. Bee venom therapy: Potential mechanisms and therapeutic applications. Toxicon. 2018;148:64-73. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2018.04.012 (View)
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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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