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10 ways to treat insect stings at home

The sun is out, winter coats have been stored away, it’s time to enjoy the weather in your garden. As you walk outside you notice something else has come out to enjoy the weather… Stinging Insects!

 Most of us have suffered the wrath of a wasp sting before, and if you haven’t, take it from me it hurts! However, for those lucky enough to not suffer from a severe allergic reaction from insect stings there are some home remedies which can help reduce swelling, ease the pain, and help with the irritating itch.

 If, however, you are allergic to wasp stings and/or bee stings the best course of action is to contact a hospital straight away.


Home remedies

What home remedies can you use for wasp, hornet and bee stings? Find out below:


Ice is a great way to help reduce the swelling from a wasp sting as well as both bees and hornet stings, the cold temperature slows down the blood flow to the insect sting. 

To treat insect stings using ice take an ice cube, or an ice pack and place it on the wasp sting for around 20 minutes. This will help with the pain and reduce the swelling. 

Note: If using ice cubes wrap in a paper towel or a damp cloth to protect the affected area.


Garlic acts as a pain relief for insect stings. For this home remedy crush a clove of garlic and slather it on the sting. Make sure the juices from the garlic are applied to the sting (this is what makes it an effective home remedy). After that is complete place a plaster on the affected area and let the garlic do its magic.


Another vegetable which is great for treating insect stings is onions. Simply cut an onion in half and place it (flesh side down) on the insect sting, pressing gently until the pain has reduced.

Bee sting home remedies

Bee sting venom is naturally quite acidic. Helping to reduce the pain and swelling consists of using home remedies which are alkaline as this will help neutralize the venom.

Baking soda

Baking soda is a great way to help neutralize the venom of a bee sting. All you need to do is create a thick paste out of baking soda and water and apply it to the sting.


Just like our previous home remedy, make a thick paste by mixing the salt with water and apply it to the bee sting.

Wasp sting home remedies

Compared to bee stings, the venom in hornet and wasp stings are alkalines. Using home remedies which are quite acidic is the best way to treat wasp stings by neutralizing the wasp venom.

Lemon juice

To treat wasp stings with lemon, slice a fresh lemon in half and squeeze out as much juice as you can. Dab either a cotton swab or cloth in the juice and apply it to the wasp sting. You can also use bottled lemon juice, however, fresh lemon juice works better

Apple cider vinegar

Soak a small bit of cotton wool in apple cider vinegar and place it on the wasp sting whilst applying a small amount of pressure. The acidity of the vinegar helps neutralize the wasp venom.


Much like apple cider vinegar, the best way to treat wasp stings using vinegar is to apply it to a piece of cotton wool and place it on the sting. You can also use a cotton swab soaked in vinegar and rub it on the insect sting.

Hornet stings

Although some of the home remedies on this list can help to treat hornet stings, they are not a definite cure. Compared to wasp and bee stings, hornet stings (especially one from a giant Asian hornet) can be much more painful, and deadly. This is because hornet venom is a lot more powerful than that of a bee and wasp as it contains a large amount of acetylcholine which is a powerful pain stimulant. This is what makes hornet stings so painful. 

The strength of hornet venom does differ between each species. Some hornet stings are just like that from a bee or wasp, whilst others can be extremely painful. European hornet stings are usually the most painful as they contain the most venom thus being the most deadly. 

The most infamous of all the hornet stings is that from a giant Asian hornet. This stinging insect is reportedly the cause of 30-50 human deaths in Japan every year, and 42 in China. The toxicity of a giant hornet’s venom is extremely nasty causing severe reactions such as melting skin and organ failure.

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