Home Remedies for Bee Stings

HOME REMEDIES FOR BEE STINGS

Bites and stings from insects can be quite painful.  If you have been stung, make sure to identify whether you were stung by a wasp or by a bee, because wasp stings and bee stings are treated differently.  Read our blog about wasps to see if the insect that stung you was a wasp.

Wasps are more likely to sting because, unlike bees, they won’t die after stinging. Wasps generally sting to protect themselves, their food, or their nests.  Bees generally sting as a very last resort. Bees do not want to harm you, and are actually beneficial insects because they pollinate many crops, flowers, and other plants and trees.

SYMPTOMS

The sting may cause the site to swell and turn red.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as hives, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, dizziness, etc., seek medical attention.  Stings from bees or wasps can cause anaphylactic shock in people who are allergic to the venom. If you know that you are allergic to bee stings, you should carry an EpiPen at all times.

TREAT THE STING

Before treating the sting, remove the stinger to prevent more venom from being released. Many people recommend removing the stinger with tweezers, but this method can actually cause more venom to be released. To remove the stinger, scrape the stinger away with a fingernail or credit card.

  1. Wash the sting using soap and water.  This will help to remove some of the venom and prevent an infection.
  2. Ice the sting to reduce inflammation.
  3. Use a cream – hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion are some options to reduce inflammation of the skin.
  4. Rub a slice of cucumber over the sting. Cucumbers naturally constrict body tissue, so using a cucumber on a sting will help to reduce pain and to cool the site of the sting.
  5. Garlic and onion can be used on the sting to reduce pain.
  6. Use pain killers, such as ibuprofen or tylenol, if you are experiencing a significant amount of pain.
  7. Cover the sting with a bandage to reduce the chances of infection.

Bee stings have a venom which is acidic and can be treated with with alkaline substances to neutralize the effects of the sting. Here are a few alkaline substances you can use:

Alkaline substances:
Honey: This sweet substance made by the bees themselves, soothes pain and speeds the healing process.  Dab a bit of honey on the sting, and cover with a loose bandage.
Baking soda: Mix baking soda with water to form a paste, then apply directly to the site of the sting and cover with a loose bandage.
Indigestion tablets: Wet the tablet, place on the sting, and cover with a bandage to keep it in place.
Toothpaste: It is best to use a natural toothpaste – especially a baking soda toothpaste – so as to avoid putting chemicals on your skin. Dab a bit of toothpaste on the site of the sting and cover with a loose bandage.
Lemons and limes: While one might think that these citrus fruits are acidic, they are actually highly alkaline.  Dab lemon or lime juice onto the site of the sting with a q-tip to neutralize the venom from the sting.
Essential Oils: Use essential oils such as lavender, lemon, and tea tree oil to soothe the pain and to speed up the recovery process.
RELATED CONTENT

Beneficial Insects: Bees

Home Remedies for Wasp Stings

What are Wasps?

How to Get Rid of Wasps