Works For Me Wednesday: Remedies for Insect Bites & Stings

I decided to participate in W4MW again this week, and in keeping with my Summer Safety theme, I came up with a list of treatments for wasp, yellow jacket, and bee stings. Shortly after I met my husband, we were outside walking, and I got stung. I had told him before that I was allergic to wasps & bees. And in the days following the sting, he admitted to me that he had kinda thought I was exaggerating a bit about how allergic I was, that is, until he saw how badly swollen my foot got. When he saw that my foot was still swollen after 4 or 5 days, he swore he’d be taking me to the hospital if I ever got stung again…and looking back, that’s probably not a bad idea.

It’s funny…as I think about all my topics for this week’s posts, I’m reminded why I don’t like the outdoors…because every time I go out there, something happens to me!


If you are highly allergic to wasp & bee stings, you should seek immediate medical attention. Don’t wait for the the sting to swell, etc. At the emergency room they will remove the stinger & will most likely give you a shot to prevent pain, swelling, and itching.

Otherwise you can take care of the stings yourself through a number of techniques and treatments. Here are some which I have used to provide relief:

If stung by a bee, you should remove the stinger as soon as possible. It is said that using a credit card for the removal of the stinger, rather than using tweezers is best, as to prevent the stinger from breaking and/or releasing more poison in to your body. But the most important thing is to remove it.

Shortly after being stung, use tobacco on the sting. Use chewing tobacco or tobacco out of a cigarette. Place a few drops of water on the tobacco and then place it on the sting. Cover with a bandage or gauze. It doesn’t feel good to have this one the sting. You’ll feel a little pressure and a pounding/pulsating feeling. But this method is very effective at preventing some of the pain and swelling.

Take an antihistamine, such as a Benadryl.

As with other injuries, you should wash the sting with soap and water.

Ice may used to relieve itching and pain.

Use creams such as Cortizone or Benadryl.

Also, try Campho Phenique. I’ve never personally tried this for a wasp/bee sting, but Campho Phenique works wonders on mosquito bites (more so than the other creams), and I imagine that it would work better on stings as well.

Use a pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol for the pain.

Keep the sting elevated if possible. Elevation is very important; this prevents a lot of blood flow from going down to the area of the sting, and will help with pain and itching. And if stung on the foot, avoid walking if possible, as this will cause more pain and swelling. You should also avoid writing, typing, or doing other work with your hands, if you are stung on the hand.

Lightly rub the sting, Don’t Scratch!

What Has Worked for Others:
Here is a list of other items you can try. I’ve not used these personally, but on the around the internet, others have attested that these remedies work.

  • applying meat tenderizer
  • applying toothpaste
  • applying tobacco
  • applying chili paste
  • applying mint leaves
  • applying clay paste, and
  • applying a copper coin
  • applying hot water
  • applying lavender oil
  • baking soda
  • vinegar

To view other Works for Me Wednesday posts, visit Rocks in My Dryer.


  1. Hi! THanks for stopping by my blog. I hardly ever get stung and about 2 months ago I was stung on the underside of my upper arm. Holy cow…I forgot how bad they hurt. Too bad I didn’t have your tips then, or my dad wasn’t visiting so I could destroy one of his nasty cigarettes for the tobacco….nah…still don’t think I’d try that one.

  2. yeah, i agree the tobacco sounds nasty, but it’ll wash off and it really helps. When I was a kid my dad made me put tobacco on my sting…i tried my best to refuse and object, but it turned out that I didn’t have a choice. But it helped.

  3. Soutenus says

    You know, this brought back memories! I vaguely remember my Mom telling me about this. She was from tobacco country in KY!
    Thanks for the tips!

    And, thanks for stopping by my garden place (Coffee Grounds and Egg Shells)

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