Updated story from July 6, 2012
Insect bites can happen at any time, but in the spring and summer it’s open season on us all. Fortunately, a lot of these bites and stings can be prevented and there are many home remedies to “take the sting” out of the aggressive little bugs. Prevention can only go so far, of course, and, unless you live in an air conditioned glass bubble at all times, they are going to get you eventually. Most insect bites are not deadly, but some surely are. Home remedies can help most of the time; some bites and stings can be deadly.
Let’s start with bees, who kill more people than all the venomous snake bites put together. Bee’s can attack in mass when disturbed, and each sting is venomous, and there can be thousands of stings during an attack. In addition, there are quite a few people that are allergic to bee venom, and can go into anaphylactic shock, in extreme cases with just one or two stings.
Remember, if you see a bee around your place, be assured that there is a hive somewhere near by. Be sure and deal with it. Most people are better off contracting a professional exterminator, who comes out with a bee suit and poison. Bees are Africanized to a large extent all over the American South, which means they are much more aggressive than in previous generations. They kill many chained dogs, and farm workers and any kind of machinery operator must always be on the look out for an attack. Bees do not like loud noise such as a tractor or a lawnmower.
Home Remedies for Bee Stings
Removal of stinger
Wasps and hornets do not leave their injection equipment behind. But for honey bees the last act of their hard working life is to sacrifice their own self; when they leave their stinger in you they have committed hari-kari. But their stinger lives on for a while injecting venom into you. Gently remove the stinger with a scraping motion.
Check For Signs of an allergic reaction
This is especially important for someone that you don’t know the history of.
- Nervousness and panic
- Labored respiration or ragged breathing
- Swelling or hives that extend outward from the bee sting
- Lowered blood pressure
If the victim is manifesting these symptoms, a ride to the emergency room would be in order. If anti-histamines are available give them to the bee stung person. If this is not a medical emergency, well then it is not very serious.
Wash area with soap and water.
Use a thin towel with ice cubes and hold it on the sting area for about 10 minutes to help reduce pain & swelling.
Mix a little bit of water with a teaspoon of baking soda to form a paste and rub on the sting letting it dry for about 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. After a few hours, repeat.
Witch hazel, a multi-purpose skincare ingredient that helps relieve itching, can be chilled and applied to the sting. Let it dry and repeat if needed.
A cotton bal soaked with raw apple cider vinegar on the sting can be used. White vinegar will also work if you don’t have the apple cider vinegar.
Mix turmeric and raw honey (equal amounts) and apply this to the sting a few times daily for 3 to 5 days.
Use the gel from an aloe vera leaf on the sting and repeat several times a day for 3 to 5 days.
Mix a couple drops of peppermint essential oil with olive or coconut oil and rub on the sting. Repeat a few times a day.
Crush an aspirin tablet into powder and add water to make a paste then apply to the sting. After it dries for a couple of minutes, rinse with warm water and repeat if needed.
Use plain, white toothpaste on the sting and leave this on for a few hours then rinse with warm water and repeat if needed.
These are a few home remedies you can try for bee stings. Read more about bee sting treatments at The Mayo Clinic.
Update as of May 27, 2017
One important thing to remember is to never kill a bee when and if you are attacked. The dying or wounded bee will send a signal to the rest of the hive, and this will only intensify the assault.