If you are stung by a wasp or bee, it can range from excruciating pain to throbbing, dull pain that stays on your mind all week. People’s pain tolerances may vary, but you can manage the symptoms to speed up the recovery, or at least reduce the stress which accompanies it. Mark from All Round Environmental Services goes over the internet’s top 50 remedies to see how they stack up.
Before we get started, though, it worth noting that the difference between a bee sting and a wasp sting. For bees, you should attempt to scrape the stinger out immediately, while a wasp’s stinger is barbed and shouldn’t be pulled out. You can attempt to wipe it off with your hand, just don’t try to pick it out with your fingers or you’ll just be pushing more venom through the stinger and into the affected area.
Browse by Category: Click any of the links below to jump to each category.
Fruit and Veg
1. LEMON JUICE
If you want to use lemon juice as your acid base, do so carefully. One only needs a few drops of fresh lemon to negate the effects of the venom of a wasp sting.
Garlic is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that can be used in conjunction with any of the immediate venom neutralising treatments. Simply crush some garlic up into a fine paste and then keep it pressed with a bandage.
A great alternative to using citrus-based acids, onion has various medicinal properties that may prove to be more effective on some people. You can prepare it for use by peeling off a thin layer from the flesh and placing it directly on the sting.
Another great “cooling” agent used to reduce inflammation and irritation.
Place a freshly sliced piece of cucumber on top and hold in place.
Sliced, raw potato is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. Try holding a thin slice over the affected area to see if it helps.
6. BANANA PEEL
We don’t know what it is about the properties of a banana’s peel, but it does have a tradition of being used to treat bee stings. We think it has something to do with the decomposition and releasing of gases, but you can try it for yourself if you’re ever stung. Scrape the inside of the banana peel lightly, then wrap it on the sting area for 15 minutes.
Papaya should only be attempted to treat wasp stings, as it is a fruit. We don’t know how its effectiveness stacks up to the stronger citrus, but if you have it on-hand, why not?
Herbs and Spices
This can be added to your baking soda or vinegar solutions to create an additional catalyst that actively draws out the venom. A quick response time after a sting can reduce recovery time greatly.
9. GARLIC & SALT POULTICE
Another great combination of two natural pain and anti-venom cure. Mix one part salt with two parts garlic and spread onto the sting.
This super spice is known to treat numerous diseases and ailments inside the body, so it comes as no surprise that it can also treat bee stings. If you aren’t allergic to Tumeric, take a spoonful and mix enough water to make a paste that can be spread over the sting and leave on until the redness and pain has subsided.
11. PLANTAIN HERB
This small green herb is a little known anti-inflammatory plant that can grow throughout the country. Pick a few leaves, crush it up in your mouth if a mortar and pestle are not on-hand, then apply directly to the sting.
12. MUSTARD SEED
Like turmeric, mustard seed is a spice that has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling and pain when applied directly to the affected area.
Treat this application the same as you would with the previous herb by crushing a few leaves up and pressing it down with a bandage for 10-15 minutes or until inflammation subsides.
One more herb that possesses medicinal properties that can be beneficial to stinging attacks is parsley. This herb, when crushed into a paste, can stimulate healing.
Benadryl is an effective way to keep the urge to itch the affected area to a minimum. It will also make you drowsy, so if you happen to fall asleep early, that helps skip some of the worst moments of the initial sting recovery.
16. HAND SANITISER. (ETHYL ALCOHOL GEL)
If you need quick relief and have a bottle of hand sanitiser gel nearby, try rubbing some of it in to try and neutralise the venom and cool off the surrounding area.
While it sounds extreme, bleach truly neutralises anything and everything it touches. This works not only on bees and wasps, but also scorpions, which pack an even more potent venom. The initial application will rival the pain of the sting, but within seconds the pain will be greatly reduced and the sting will be gone.
This is essentially the less embarrassing version of using urine to treat a sting. Not the greatest solution to treating pain and inflammation, so you’ll want to use this in combination with other ingredients on this list.
19. CLEAN AND CLEAR ASTRINGENT - PINK
Similar to the hand sanitiser gel, this face wash will absorb all the moisture in the applied area and, hopefully, pull out the venom with it. This might prove to be more effective than other solutions if it does a good job at keeping your pores clean and clear.
20. WATER, SOAP AND RUBBING ALCOHOL
For bee stings, the combination of these three act as both a sanitiser to prevent infections and as a natural defender against the venom, thanks to soap’s natural alkaline properties. Make sure the soap is something moisturising and free of fragrances, like Dove.
The fresh taste of minty green toothpaste works great against bee stings by both neutralising the venom and drawing it out from the glycerin in its ingredients.
22. LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
Another superb anti-inflammatory agent that doubles as a great sleep aid when your bee sting has occupied your mind all night. Just use a few drops of this directly on the sting.
23. CALAMINE LOTION
Calamine is a great long-term solution for managing the irritation that comes with any bite or sting. Provides immediate relief. Remember to shake the bottle before applying.
24. EPSOM SALT AND WATER
Epsom salt baths are terrific for soothing stings and any other skin irritations that have been nagging you and won’t go away.
An “epi pen” is used when someone is stung by a bee and has a severe allergic reaction and goes into shock. These can only be acquired with a prescription from a doctor. If you don’t know whether you are allergic to bee stings, see your doctor to get tested.
26. PREPARATION H
Don’t let the brand’s stigma deter you from using it on burns, bites, and stingers. It can help reduce the swelling and irritation as good as any other remedy and it goes to work right away!
27. ALOE VERA GEL
Any aloe vera product is good for skin problems and damage, but if you have access to the plant, you can get the best healing results from fresh aloe vera gel applied throughout the day. Don’t forget to let the area breathe for a little between applications.
This is more of a temporary solution until you can get something better to help treat the sting. Basic deodorants can provide some comfort and reduce body odor at the same time.
This can be used when the stinging is just too painful to handle. Using it as a local anesthetic, use just a fingertip-size amount over the affected area.
We don’t prefer this to be a top choice on the list, but if you spray Windex on a bee sting, the ammonia in it will neutralise the venom and disinfect the area all in one shot.
The idea behind vinegar being a good treatment option for stings, wasps in particular, lies in the PH level of the venom. It is extremely alkaline based, so the acidic vinegar acts as the counter-balance to minimise the pain and discomfort.
32. Baking Soda
Take the concept that applies to wasp and hornets’ stings and flip it to treat a bee’s sting, which is acidic. Create a paste by mixing a little water with the baking soda and leave it on the sting for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water and icing it to reduce swelling.
Creating a cold press is important for reducing the amount of swelling that occurs after a sting and to help numb the pain. Don’t apply ice without placing in a Ziploc bag to keep moisture from irritating the puncture opening.
34. Apple Cider Vinegar
This can be an alternative to vinegar for wasp sting solutions, some prefer apple-based vinegars for various holistic treatments and homemade sanitising products. It has anti-inflammatory properties which helps provide fast relief.
35. Colloidal oatmeal
You can take an oatmeal bath or make your own cool oatmeal topical creams to help soothe the burning sensation caused by the venom.
36. Olive Oil
The anti-oxidants and natural moisturising properties of olive oil can help speed up the healing process.
37. PEANUT BUTTER
Who knew that something that tasted so good could also cure bee stings? Simple spread it over the sting and rinse off after abound 10 minutes.
38. ORGANIC HONEY
Raw honey is said to be the perfect overnight healing solution for many topical treatments, insect stings included.
- Apply honey to the affected skin area
- Use a large square band aid to give enough coverage for the honey, so that it will stay in place overnight while you sleep.
39. MEAT TENDERISER
If you make a wet mix of this stuff, you can significantly reduce the swelling and minimise the impact that venom will have in the first few minutes.
40. RHUBARB JUICE
Rhubarb is another great superfood that is connected with a number of medicinal solutions. Everydayroots stumbled across its effectiveness as remedy for bee stings!
- Simply grab a fresh stalk of fresh rhubarb and break the stem
- Rub the juice the area affected by the sting
41. LIPTON TEA BAGS
Tea is a natural anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory plant. Place a wet tea bag on top of the sting and keep it pressed down to reduce the swelling, pain, and spreading of venom.
MSG is another effective dehydrating compound that can help dry the venom out and slow its progress from spreading over a larger area.
When you are outdoors or camping, there are times where you don’t have anything in our list within reach. Luckily, urine has natural enzymes that can sterilise the venom until you can get it properly treated when you get home.
If you have nothing to use and you can’t muster any urine out of you, take a handful of mud and slather it onto the stung area. This will provide some quick cooling relief and potentially suck out some of the venom as it dries.
45. ALOE VERA
In case you didn’t notice, this list is not numbered in the order of effectiveness, otherwise aloe would be in the top five just based on its miracle soothing properties that will bring relief to virtually any skin-related injury or illness.
46. APIS MELLIFICA
This remedy is derived from bees themselves. Not many studies have been done on this new homeopathic drug, so you must use caution and don’t ignore the warnings and instructions.
47. CALENDULA (CALENDULA OFFICINALIS) FLOWERS
Crush these flowers up with a small bit of water to create a paste to directly apply to the sting and reduce inflammation.
48. BEE BALM (MONARDA DIDYMA) LEAVES
These leaves just need to be crushed up to activate the chemical compounds in them that help negate the potency of the bee’s venom.
Old Wives' Tale
49. A penny
This was an old wives tale that essentially made claim that the alkaline copper from a penny would act the same way that baking soda does on bee stings. You would need to tape it securely onto the bee sting, but the effectiveness of this is highly inconsistent.
50. Toothpick behind left ear
This is a lesson in mind-over-matter or just giving up on ideas to treat bee stings. We don’t recommend trying this unless you want to appear insane.
Please Note: These treatments are intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. This information is provided for general knowledge purposes only
Have we missed anything?
We are always looking to add to our list, let us know what bee and wasp sting remedies have worked for you and if there is any ones we are missing.
Let us know in the comments section below!