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Natural Remedies for Bee, Wasp, and Hornet Stings

Written by Print 

Bee, Wasp, and Hornet Stings

If a stinger is left embedded in the body, then remove it as soon as possible. This should be the first step. Use whatever tools are immediately available to dig it out. You could use a knife, credit card, pliers, tweezers, or a needle. Sterilize the tool if possible, but do not waste time. For maximum absorption, clean the area with soap and water before applying remedies, otherwise the oils on the skin will repel them.

Wasp and Hornet Stings

Vinegar - Wasp and hornet venom are powerful alkalines. Use an acid such as vinegar to neutralize them. It can be applied via a piece of cloth or bandaging. Make sure to keep the stings soaked for at least 15 minutes. Some vinegar will absorb through the skin, and it should greatly help eliminate the discomfort.

Bee and Yellow Jacket Stings

Baking Soda - In the case of bee stings, baking soda will help to neutralize the acidic venom. Make a paste by combining baking soda with water. Leave this paste on the sting site for at least 15 minutes. Some of the dissolved baking soda will leach through the skin to neutralize the venom somewhat. After applying it, and cleaning the sting area of residue; a chamomile tincture may be repeatedly applied for any residual itching or swelling.

Emergency Allergic Reactions

If there is difficulty breathing, extreme dizziness, or nausea after a sting, then there is a high probability that it triggered a dangerous allergic reaction. In these cases, we recommend quickly consuming a large (i.e. quadruple) dose of chamomile. Chamomile is related to ragweed, so those with ragweed allergies should skip this step. A large amount of echinacea is also strongly recommended, if available. If pulse irregularities are experienced, then try to take some taurine, even if that means just holding the powder in the mouth. Then immediately get to the nearest hospital. The allergic reaction may stop by the time you arrive at the hospital, but you should definitely make the trip in case it does not. In these unfortunate latter cases, a steroid injection may be required to save your life.

Misinformation About Sting Remedies

Treating most bee, wasp, and hornet stings is easy, but that may be difficult to believe if you have spent any time researching this topic on the Internet. Researching natural treatments for bee, hornet, and wasp stings is revealing about how much misinformation there is on the Internet. Some of it is laughable.

The Incredibly Stupid Sting "Treatments" That We Discourage

  • Meat tenderizer
  • Onion
  • Potato
  • Mud (literally dirt and water)
  • Garlic
  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar combined with baking soda (neutralize themselves)


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Essential First Aid Item: Activated Carbon



Comments (8)
  • Lisa

    "Some of the dissolved baking soda will leech through the skin to neutralize the venom somewhat."
    For an acidic venom, would DMSO help the baking soda leech more through the skin? Or does it not matter how much baking soda gets through?
    thanks for this article.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    We would generally recommend against DMSO in such a case. It is unnecessary, and may actually cause the venom to sink further into the muscle tissue. We usually avoid DMSO, as it is not completely natural, and therefore comes with its own risks. However, there are some instances where it is very useful (such as healing scar tissue).

    It is an interesting suggestion, nonetheless. You always give us something to think about. :)

  • Lisa

    Sarah I didn't think about the DMSO that way! Makes alot of sense. Thanks for the response. Glad I didn't try it before asking a second opinion. :pinch: :confused:

  • Lori Nero  - Bee Stings

    I would like to keep this thread going by adding that in our industry, we have many bees around and occasionally step on bees (barefooted). The best tried and proven remedy we have found is to immediately hold or tape a penny to the sting site. Copper is the answer to this riddle. This is an old timers remedy and it does work!

  • Ivan Kukard  - Hornets stung my 3 year old son!

    I just wanted to say thanks!
    This afternoon after having a swim in his paddle-pool my 3 year old was walking under the plum tree with his nephew (3 1/2)when they disturbed a hornet's nest. My son was naked and got between 10 and 12 hornet stings down his left side from his face to his bum cheek, the his nephew was dressed so his clothes got stung & he was spared
    I immediately applied calamine lotion and ice, & then got onto the Net, found your site immediately with the vinegar remedy & voila! 10 minutes later we had a hard time finding the stings!The vinegar burned at first but the relief he felt was almost instant
    One hour later and I am having trouble finding any sign of the stings, including any swelling.
    Thanks for being there when we needed help
    Kind Regards
    Ivan Kukard
    Cape Town
    South Africa

  • Vicki Hughes  - jellyfish stings

    I have always heard; read that meat tenderizer is the thing to have on hand for this. I see you do not recommend. Would you help me understand why, and which of the aforementioned sting remedies is most appropriate for jellfish stings?

    Thanks (your site is a blessing)


  • Thomas Donald Houston

    Vitamin C is famous for being an antioxidant, it is the most powerful weapon in our available arsenal against many things but largely ignored not only by mainstream medicine but alternative/natural advocates.
    Vitamin C is an astonishingly powerful neutraliser of many toxins, add selenium to the mix and that multiplies its effect by a factor of 100. For any case of envenomation a teaspoon of ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate taken immediately (as soon as possible anyway) may be a lifesaver. With bee, wasp and ant stings vitamin c can take the pain away in twenty minutes or less. Vitamin c is also a natural antihistamine so dampens down allergic reactions and can be the difference between some swelling and redness and anaphylaxis.
    I have read reports of vitamin c being used to effectively treat snake bite and that is real serious envenomation. For snake bite it has to be administered immediately as about twenty minutes later the toxic effects of the venom will cause anything ingested to be vomited straight back up (although apparently enough may still be absorbed to mean the difference between life and death, doctors attribute my son in laws survival to vitamin c I administered twenty minutes later - he was bitten by a tiger snake which is far more venomous than any snake outside Australia). Some people here use vitamin c injections to treat snakebite in horses with great success, it is actually safer than antivenin treatment as it has no side effects and you don't need to know exactly what species of snake did the biting. I also use vitamin c for treating tick bites, for some reason ticks love me, especially our paralysis tick. One week to clear up a tick bite compared to six to eight weeks without vitamin c - it works and works well. I don't go bush without vitamin c now, we have too many toxic critters here.

  • Claire D Harbo

    Thank you,
    Accidentally came upon a hornets nest ( possibly, barely saw him and I wasn't going to stay around to check what the nest looked like!) and one hit me in the shoulder with a warning bite.
    Tried the vinegar for 15 mins and there is indeed relief. Have also used tea tree for insect bites, but have never been bitten by a hornet. The swelling has also gone down as well.
    Now the dilemma of having to remove the nest of these beneficial little guys...if anybody has a solution to not destroy the insects inside, would be greatly appreciated. I wouldn't do it at all, but it is inside the pool restroom, and, well that could be a really bad scene...not to mention embarrassing!
    Again thank you for the site, and looking forward to reading more of the natural ways of healing!

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