10 Ways To Treat Insect Stings

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Insect stings are never a pretty thing to deal with, especially if it’s a bee, wasp, or hornet that has stung you. Not only is it painful but also quite dangerous unless you treat it immediately and appropriately!

Therefore, keep reading this article that tells you about 10 ways to treat insect stings and bites at home and discusses what steps you need to take upon having the misfortune of getting stung in the first place!

Why is getting stung by an insect dangerous?

Insects in the Hymenoptera class, which includes bees and wasps, are the most likely to give you a sting. If you’re stung by an insect, it’s important to know how to treat the wound. In some cases, an insect sting can be dangerous if not treated properly.

10 ways to treat insect stings

Insect stings can be dangerous because they can cause both allergic reactions and infections. An allergic reaction is a response from the immune system that can be life-threatening and cause an anaphylactic shock if you are prone to an allergic reaction.

Further, insect venom can also cause infections, which can lead to serious health complications. The venom from some insects can also cause an allergic reaction, which can lead to anaphylactic shock.

What are the common symptoms of an insect sting?

Close-up of an Insect Bite on Arm of a Young Man.

In most cases, the symptoms of an insect sting are fairly mild. But, there are cases where the reaction to the sting is very severe. Here are some of the mild symptoms and reactions you might face if stung by an insect –

  1. swelling around the location of the sting
  2. soreness or pain at the sting site
  3. itchiness and high temperature at the sting site
  4. red welts or a rash on your skin, also known as hives

However, in the event that you have a worse reaction, here are some of the more severe symptoms you will have to face –

  1. ticklishness in your throat along with severe coughing
  2. palpitations as a result of a tightness in your chest coupled with anxiety
  3. issues with breathing and inhaling normally
  4. nausea which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting
  5. loss of consciousness or dizziness
  6. excessive sweating
  7. severe rash or hives all over your body

What steps can you take to prevent insect stings?

Preventing insects from stinging you is not always a guarantee. But, there are certain things you can do to reduce the possibility of dealing with an insect sting!

Use a good insect repellant.

One of the best ways to prevent insect stings is to use insect repellent. There are a variety of different types of insect repellents available, so be sure to find one that works best for you.

Wear neutral colors rather than bright ones when you go outside.

When outdoors, it is important to avoid brightly colored clothing and floral patterns. Insects are attracted to these colors, so you are more likely to get stung or bitten. Wear neutral colors instead, like green, beige, and brown.

Wear proper footwear when heading outside.

When you are outdoors, it is important to avoid going barefoot as this makes you more susceptible to insect stings.

Additionally, be sure to check your clothing and gear for insects before using them. If you are traveling in an area with a lot of bugs, be sure to carry an insect repellent with you.

Cover your entire body before heading for your nature’s trail and stay away from insect-infested areas.

When you’re outside, it’s important to wear clothing that will protect you from insect stings. Long-sleeve shirts and long pants will help to keep the majority of insects away from your skin.

Additionally, don’t enter an area that is swarming with bees or other insects. If at all you do cross paths with a stinging insect, simply avoid conflict and walk away!

Extract the stinger and call for first aid.

If you’ve gotten stung despite taking these precautions, using a bee sting kit is the best way to remove the stinger and venom. The kit will have a pair of tweezers that can be used to grab the stinger and pull it out quickly and easily.

Once you have pulled out the stinger from your skin, call for first aid or medical help immediately. If you are ever in a situation where you have to deliver first aid to somebody who got stung, the following sections are bound to help you immensely.

How to administer first aid for an insect sting?

Knowing how to administer the proper first aid for insect stings and bites is essential since it could help save someone’s life or, at the very least, help ease their pain.

Below, I have highlighted the main steps you should follow when delivering first aid to any person who has been stung!

Extract the stinger if it’s a honey bee sting.

If you have been stung at home by a honey bee or even a yellow jacket, the first thing you should do is remove the stinger. The best way to do this is with a fingernail or credit card. You can also use a pair of tweezers, but be careful not to accidentally pinch the stinger itself.

Pinching the stinger directly with fingers or tweezers will only inject more venom into the wound, so it is important not to do that.

Rinse the area with water and soap

This is a pretty self-explanatory step – you must use soap and mildly warm water to thoroughly rinse the location of the sting. Washing will ensure that any lingering bacteria are killed, and the wound itself stays sanitized and uninfected.

Treat the symptoms directly.

bee needle on finger

When you are bitten or stung by an insect, the first thing you should do after rinsing the stung area is to get rid of any jewelry or accessories around the location of the sting.

If the sting swells up, that jewelry may restrict blood flow. You can then apply ice for 10 minutes to help reduce swelling and inflammation.

If the sting was on an arm or leg, elevate the area. This will help reduce swelling further. Additionally, pain relief medications that are formulated for babies or children can help relieve pain and swelling.

If there is significant swelling, an antihistamine formulated for children may help with itchiness and swelling.

When should you seek emergency care for an insect sting?

In some cases, an insect sting can be quite dangerous. If you are having difficulty breathing, the swelling is affecting your lips, eyelids, or throat, you feel dizzy, faint, or confused, or your heart is racing, then you should seek emergency care right away.

Children and infants are especially susceptible to the effects of insect stings, so it is important to be aware of the signs that require emergency care.

If a child experiences shortness of breath, facial swelling, chest pain, hives, or vomiting after being stung, they should seek immediate medical attention.

How do you know if an insect bite or sting is infected?

Close-up of wasp

Typically, you will know if a bite or a sting is infected by the way it looks and feels.

If the location of the bite looks or feels worse than when you first got it, and that discomfort is accompanied by an increase in swelling, redness, or the oozing of pus from it, the wound is infected.

If your wound does get infected, you must seek out professional medical help rather than treat it yourself.

10 ways to treat insect stings!

Here are the top ten ways that you can treat stings from bees, wasps, or even hornets! However, if the symptoms are of a severe nature, you should simply administer first aid and call 911!

At Home Remedies

Treating bee, wasp, and hornet stings at home

Ice the bite

Icing the area of the sting is a sure shot way to reduce the swelling regardless of whether a bee has stung you, a wasp, or a hornet.

The science is fairly simple – the reduction in temperature will gradually reduce the blood flow to the site of the sting, and as a result, it will also reduce the swelling!

Remember that you should preferably apply ice to the concerned spot by wrapping it in a handkerchief or a similar piece of cloth.

Apply garlic paste

Garlic has been known to have pain-relieving properties for centuries. Make a paste by thoroughly crushing a few cloves of garlic and applying that paste to the stung area. Preferably, cover up the sting after applying the paste.

Place a layer of onion on the sting.

You can also cut up onions and place the flesh of the onions on the sting for some relief from pain.

Treat a bee sting at home with the following home remedies.

The next two methods are methods that you can specifically use if you have been stung by a bee. The reason is that these items are alkaline in nature which counteracts the acidity of the venom that bees inject into you.

Baking soda paste

Mix some baking soda with water and smear it on the stung region. The alkaline properties will render the venom in your body neutral.


Sprinkle some salt onto the sting. Now, I understand that sprinkling salt on a wound seems counterintuitive, but I assure you, it works very well in the case of a bee sting.

Treatment for a wasp sting at home with the following items

In stark contrast to bee stings, wasp stings are known to be quite acidic. Therefore, the items in this section are alkaline in nature to counteract the acidity of the venom that wasps inject into your body!

Fresh lemon juice

Lemon is rich in citric acid. Therefore, simply squeeze out some juice and apply it to your stung region. You can soak a cotton ball in some juice and use that to smear the juice onto your skin.

Freshly cut lemon

If you feel that squeezing lemon juice and soaking a cotton ball is too much work, simply skip those steps and proceed to apply a freshly cut slice of lemon on your stung portion.

Apple cider vinegar

Simply soak your sting in some apple cider vinegar in a dish or use a cotton ball to apply it on the part of your body that the wasp has stung you on.


The easiest technique to treat wasp stings with vinegar is to put it on a piece of cotton wool and place it directly on the sting, just like with apple cider vinegar. The vinegar-soaked cotton swab can be used to treat insect stings as well.

How to treat a hornet sting at home?

There are a variety of ways to treat hornet stings, depending on the severity. If you are not allergic to hornet venom, then most treatments will be the same as for bee stings. If you are allergic, then you will need to carry an EpiPen and know how to use it.

The giant Asian hornet is the most infamous of all the hornet stings. This species can inflict a particularly painful sting, and its venom contains toxins that can cause anaphylactic shock in some people.

If you are stung by a giant Asian hornet, you should seek medical help immediately.


Bear in mind that you don’t mix the ways to treat bee stings with those of wasp stings. The nature of the venom that both these bugs inject in you is entirely different.

Further, if you see severe symptoms, don’t bother treating them at home. Instead, call your doctor for proper medical attention!

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.