15 Bee Sting Home Remedies & Tips

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Getting stung by a bee is no fun and the pain can last for a few hours, here are a bunch of home remedies for pain relief as well as some interesting tips and bits of info.

HandFirst make sure the stinger is removed (look for a black spot in the bite area), do this immediately as it can reduce the amount of venom released into the body.

At one time it was thought that you had to scrape it out (with something like a blunt knife or plastic edge) but you can effectively use tweezers to pull it out.

Wash the area with soap and water then try a remedy or treatment below for pain relief. Technically it’s a sting but I used bite below to describe the injured area.

  1. Make a paste of meat tenderizer and water or baking soda and water–apply to bite.
  2. Sprinkle generously with baking soda then drizzle some drops of vinegar over the baking soda to make it fizz. Leave on skin until pain is gone.
  3. Cover with a dot of mustard.
  4. Slather on a thick paste made of meat tenderizer and vinegar.
  5. Cover with honey and reapply as needed for pain.
  6. Dab with a generous amount of toothpaste and leave on the wound.
  7. Use ice or an ice pack.
  8. Soak in Epsom salt and water or make paste with it.
  9. Slather on Aloe Vera.
  10. Chew a plantain leaf then apply the macerated leaf.
  11. Crush fresh parsley and apply.
  12. Crush fresh basil leaves and apply.
  13. Drizzle apple cider vinegar over it.
  14. Cover with a slice of fresh papaya.
  15. Dab on a bit of deodorant.

Symptoms:

A normal reaction is to experience pain and itchiness, redness and swelling. Pain will last for a few hours then should disappear.

If the following occurs, seek medical advice:

  • If it stung inside your nose or mouth (the swelling will affect breathing).
  • If you were stung several times by many bees.
  • If you have difficulty breathing or your breathing seems to have been affected.
  • Your tongue begins to swell.
  • You experience dizziness.
  • You experience blurry vision.
  • You feel nauseous.
  • Your speech is slurred or you find it difficult to talk.
  • Hives or a rash appears (especially in an area away from the wound).
  • The wound swells alarmingly large.

If the reaction seems severe (especially if breathing is affected), don’t hesitate to call medical emergency services as the victim may be experiencing an allergic reaction that can trigger anaphylactic shock.

Simple logic: To avoid being stung, avoid attracting them. Bright clothing, fragrances from hair sprays, perfumes and cosmetic products as well as sweet foods like soda pop, fruits and syrups can attract them.

If you don’t appear to be aggressive or startle them–chances are they won’t bother you. If one lands on you or is near you, hold still until it loses interest and flies away. Rapid movement and swatting will signal them that you’re ready for a fight so if you’re going to scream with arms flailing–make sure you outrun it ;).

  • Tip: If one lands on you, blowing gently on it will help convince it that it’s time to move along.

Did you know: Pickings are slim in the Fall when bees are busy looking for flowers, fruits and plants that haven’t yet died off or harvested for the season. When you’re wearing bright clothing and smelling pretty while much of the vegetation they depend on are gone, it might think he hit the jackpot with the largest, loveliest flower of all (you).

Why Do They Die After Stinging?

The stinger is torn from its body and left in the victim’s skin (it’s the tool that releases the venom). It basically disembowels the poor critter and it cannot survive. Because of this, they will only attack when they feel a threat (to themselves, their hive or to the queen bee).

Even though they can be intimidating, they are very much needed to help our plants and flowers flourish (and to make delicious honey for us to enjoy).

Please Note: None of the information above is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it’s provided for general knowledge purposes only.

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Published: June 8, 2007
Updated: September 8, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
73 Comments to “15 Bee Sting Home Remedies & Tips”
  1. Kim says:

    Does the mustard thing also work with mosquito bites…or just bee stings?

    • domino says:

      I did try the mustard on mosquito bite but it not work.whereas the toothpaste did southern the pain and i had to where it overnight.

  2. TipNut says:

    I’m not sure Kim :dunno:. The information I had on that just mentioned bees, sorry :(.

    Are you looking for something to help take the itch away for mosquito bites? I’m pretty sure I have some info for that, I’ll try digging it up and posting it this week :). UPDATE: I made a list of mosquito bite itch relief tips here.

  3. Kelly says:

    I have also heard that if you put a cross on your itching insect bites it will stop itching
    (i have tryed this and it has worked for me)

  4. Ashley says:

    Mud!

    It sounds weird, but when I was a kid, I got an unusual amount of bee stings, and my dad used to pack some mud on them. Leave it there for a few minutes, let it dry up and then wash it off.

    It’s messy, but kids don’t mind (and I almost always stepped on them, so if the sting is on your foot it’s not so bad).

  5. Samantha says:

    My grandma used to make a “paste” of meat tenderizer and water and apply to my bee stings when I was a kid. I heard it had something to do with the enzyms in the meat tenderizer would draw out the venom from the sting. I know it did help me feel better. :)

  6. Lucy Graham says:

    We have used a penny for bee stings for years…..Just tape them on….sting is gone. WORKS TOO!!!!!

  7. mary says:

    I have also heard tobacco out of cigarettes will take the sting out. It used to work when I was a kid.

  8. TOM says:

    when i was in Army Ranger school and Special Forces training we would dab a band aid with mylanta and apply this has many other uses as well

  9. Teresa says:

    The penny taped on, the mud, and tobacco mixed with your own saliva: these all work.

  10. Amanda says:

    I can vouch for the mixture of bakind soda and water. When we would step on bees as children at the local pool, my mom would slather on a little bit of the mixture, cover with a bandaid, and lay us down for a nap. When we woke up, the stinger would be stuck to the bandaid and the pain would be gone. Also works with splinters!

  11. Jen says:

    Immediately after the sting, flick it with a credit card/debit card, etc. It easily removes the stinger. Then I hold a cut raw onion right on the sting. It’s suppose the draw out the poison. I’m allergic to bee stings and this always reduces the size of the bite if I do it right away. You’ll still have some itching afterwards. You can apply the onion as much as you want throughout the day and it does help a bit.

  12. Susanna says:

    Thanks for the advice! Just came back from the emergency room after my husband had an allergic reaction to several bee stings. He got hives on his feet after being stung on his arm and ear several times. I was checking this site for home remedies, and went to check on him with baking soda and vinegar on a washcloth and saw hives on his feet and legs. I immediately took him to the ER. While on the way, his throat started to get tight, and by the time we got to the hospital he was having trouble breathing. Four hours later, after steroids and IV antihistamine, he is fine. Thank you!!!! Save my husband’s life.

    • TipNut says:

      Wow Susanna, that is so scary! I’m so glad your husband is ok!

      • Susanna says:

        Thanks TipNut!

        • DNR RAO says:

          when a honey bee stings/bites, it’s best to remove the sting first, but some times it would not be possible. however my mom use to apply the paste of match stick head chemical and it would help me control the burning and itchig. At times if available she used to make a fine paste of some borken gramophone record plate by grinding on a rough stone surface with water and apply. Cutting the onion and rubbing on the surface of bite also helps overcome pain, burning and itch.

  13. Pearl DeLorme says:

    I was told by a bee keeper the best thing for a bee sting is after removing the stinger apply honey. I have tried this and it relieves the pain immediatly.

    • JimA says:

      You are correct. Probably best if you have local honey. I just got stung, applied honey and took an antihistamine. The honey worked after about a minute, but I noticed you have to rub it in and keep applying. My sister who is a biology teacher and a degreed nutritionist swears by honey for cuts and sores too. There is something in the Honey that kills bacteria. It must be right, because my little Sister is one smart cookie. ;-)

  14. Bruce says:

    Actually bees are not attracted to soda pop and will not drink it.

    What you are seeing is most likely yellow jackets.

  15. Tia says:

    Ok a bee crawled into my shoe like 2 minutes befor I put it on and it stung me . Well im here to day with my toe that is about as big as a bottom of a fat pencil and it is throbing like crazy . #1. DOES IT MATTER WHAT KIND OF TOOTH PASTE YOU USE? #2. MY STEP FATHER SAID THAT TOBACO JUICE WORKS ALSO IS THAT TRUE?

    • Bridget says:

      With the tooth paste try to use just a plain white one. Something without like the blue in it. Toothpaste also works for acne!

  16. Erica says:

    I have stepped on a bee twice in the last wk, one being just about twenty minutes ago, last time it hurt for 3 days…. this time I called my mother in law (she always has cool remedies for everything!) So anyway long story short… she told me to wrap a fatty piece of bacon around the bite for as long as I can stand to have bacon on my foot and Ill tell you what! NO Pain! Still swelling but the pain is gone! It works! Good luck!

  17. Teresa says:

    Not sure if anyone has tried this but I have done it since I was little. My Mamaw used to cut an onion and put it on any sting. I swear by it and thought I might share. It really works, honest!

  18. belle says:

    I keep the travel tubes of toothpaste handy all summer long! Brand doesn’t matter but it has to be the white paste. It really works!

  19. Vera says:

    I got stung yesterday by a bee. It got me on my middle finger. There was no stinger, only a tiny red hole. Hurt like the dickens. My hand is swollen, it itches. What can I do? No other symptoms. Thanks

    • Bridget says:

      The same thing happened to me! I made a paste out of baking soda and water. Mix baking soda and water until you get a some what thick paste. Then put it on the bee sting and put a bandaid on it. Wait a little while and the paste will try up and take the stinger out and stop any swelling or pain. Hope it helps!

  20. dede says:

    my home remedy for a bee sting is gasoline-instantly takes the sting out

  21. Cass says:

    Ok I stepped on a bee and we put ice on it its under my foot and I can barely walk what do I do?

  22. Mitchell says:

    In the compilctaed world we live in, it’s good to find simple solutions.

  23. ShawnaG says:

    Lavender oil works on bee stings -
    My son just got stung twice by one bee (on lower left abdomen and back of left hand)and came running into the house howling.

    I thought of apple cider vinegar but desperately searched for a home remedy book; a quick look in the index for “bee sting” suggested Lavender to my surprise. This research and scurrying about took about 3-4 minutes. I sent him to lay down while I looked up “bee sting”.

    I found some lavender oil in my kitchen cabinet and applied drops straight on the sting sites (neat, without first diluting in a carrier oil). I left to see what else I could do. But in less than 3 minutes, my son was acting as if he sting were nothing, even though he still had a small welt on his abdomen.

    I was totally amazed at how quickly it calmed him and the sting down. One note of caution: he rubbed his eyes and got some lavender in his left eye, arghh. Secondary crisis, I smeared some Almond oil with a tissue on his closed eye (eyelid & lashes) in the hopes of diluting the oil. Still stinging, we rushed to the bathroom to flush his eyes with cool water. I cupped my hand and “squashed” water against his eye (closed–who could keep eyes open for that) several times. He was fine.

    We’ll see how he fares later in the day. Itching may set in–don’t know yet–but
    I’ve got more Lavender and Apple Cider Vinegar on hand.

  24. casey says:

    I got stung by a bee today. I was in the car and it sent a stinging feeling up my spine. (I did not know it was a bee at the time, I have never been stung by a bee before) It scared me so bad. Got home figured out the bee had stung me just to the right of my spine, almost on my spine. Does not hurt to bad. I put the baking soda & water paste under a bandaid and so far there is no pain anymore. (1hour in)

  25. kim sen says:

    i disturbed a nest clearing a garden and got15 stings vinegar was the best for me.

  26. Amanda u. says:

    A potato cut in half with vanilla poured on it or on your sting works great.

  27. Leigh Anne says:

    Regular table salt and water work for me. I dab the sting with water and rub the salt in, applying thickly, making a crust.

  28. Lori says:

    Great tips! A doctor once told my mom that meat tenderizer also works on jellyfish stings.

  29. Rhonda says:

    I was stung twice today. It didn’t hurt that badly, but come evening my finger and thumb swelled alot and hurt to bend. I soaked them in ice water, then applied ARNICA cream…which I use for all injuries. It seems to be taking the burning and pain away. No hone should be without a tube.

    • Fr.Tony FTL says:

      That sounds interesting, but I have never heard of “Arnica Cream”, what is it? and what’s it’s main use for? (Other than the “Home Remedy” use?). Also, what other uses have you found this stuff to work on as well?

      ** As for Bee Stings and any other Stings for that matter, I have learned and used over many many years, several of the remedies I have read about on this “Wonderful and Helpful” site.
      In my years serving in our country’s Great and Powerful Navy (U.S, NAVY) and in my several decades of being, teaching, and training First Responders, Emergency Medical Tech’s and Paramedics (EMT’s, EMT -B’s, EMT-D’s and beyond) I’ve learned and taught the use of the good Ol’ Meat Tenderizer / Water mixture to draw out the stinger and the toxins and venom that was pumped into the sting site. I also learned over the years that applying several drops of plain Ammonia to the site after the use of the “Meat Tenderizer” mix, does either STOP or significantly reduce the itching at and around the sting. So I know for a fact, that these do work.
      So I hope this information does work for many, if not all of you. Plus, good Luck!

      Best Regards,
      R.R. Fr. Tony FTL

  30. Tabby says:

    Tobacco mixed with your saliva always worked when I was growing up and I now do the same for my kids but I’ve never tried any of the stuff listed above but I can vouch for the tabacco remedy he draws the sting out instantly ;)

    • Rhonda L. says:

      My mother used this on me and my 6 siblings. It always worked, she would cover the wet tobacco with a bandaid and we went back out to play. We removed it in a short while. I’ve used it on my children and grandchildren. No matter how many stings it has always worked.

  31. Becks says:

    On monday, I sat on what I thought was a Bee on the train of all places, I saw something fly off under the seat, but it took me another 2 hours to get home, so it had two hours to get nice and puffy on my thigh. The problem is it’s on the back of my thigh, so I can’t see a thing unless I twist around like a Prezel :S When I got home, I asked my husband’s Grand parents what I should do (they’re old farmers) and they put some homemade alcohol on it. It seemed to be fine, but then the next day swelled up like a balloon!! So Grandpa took me to the dr, and he gave me tablets to take down the swelling, cream and told me to ice it. The redness is growing and growing and growing! The area where it stung feels like dry lumpy skin, and around it is a massive area of redness! It’s so unbelievably itchy it’s crazy!! Would any of these remedies work after so long? Would the stinger still be in? My husband had a look for it, but couldn’t see anything. Do you think I should just go back to the doctor? It looks yucky :S

  32. Dianne Shaw says:

    Beck, please go to a dermatologist. I think you need specialized medical help. Arnica is great for bruises, but NEVER use it on open skin–a puncture (bite) is open. Please don’t put gasoline on your skin. It is a toxin. Tobacco is an old remedy, but again, the dangers outweigh the benefits. Amonia is another toxin to avoid. Meat tenderizer is often used for jellyfish stings, buy could be a problem if you are Celiac or allergic to MSG. Ocean water, don’t use plain water as it will make the stings worse, can help while you go for medical care. I do believe in baking soda mixed with water or vinegar to make a paste, then keep it iced–15 minutes on and 5-10 minutes off. You want to neutralize the venom. Benadryl if it is safe for you, can help. Anytime you get a lot of stings, start feeling faint, nauseated, or feel that your beathing is being, get medical help ASAP! If the swelling doesn’t subside in a day, redness spreads, or you have any of the afore mentioned symptoms occur, get help! Soda with water or vinegar and ice packs are always helpful. Try the “safe”–non-toxic–remedies, but get help if it gets worse or affects breathing.

  33. Alexandra Weber says:

    What instantly works, is IODINE – the moment you spray a drop of IODINE on the sting, the pain is gone – IT WORKS LIKE MAJIC – trust me :) you will remember me forever. Keep the bottle of IODINE in your house and car all the time it works great on any cuts, too. Be aware it stains the brown / yellow so keep your clothing away from the fluid. Good luck!

  34. Allie says:

    The toothpaste doesn’t work

  35. Ouch says:

    got stung twice on my thumb. used baking soda and water. Worked for about 30 mins. but took about 15 mins to work. toothpaste(used blue kind, gonna try white) helped and made the pain and itch more on-and-off all day.

  36. emma says:

    whats black and yellow and swollen all over? my foot after stepping on a bee!! i appplyed an onion and itching cream and ice but it still swells like a beach ball and i can barley walk! still lots of pain! what should i do???

  37. Vincent says:

    Was stung by bee on Friday it’s Sunday and still red and sore to the touch how much longer should I wait before I go to doctor

  38. kate says:

    just got stung by wasp. i used tooth paste, [not the gel type] took the sting away but still swelled but great to take fishing, camping,

  39. sandra says:

    I was stung by a bee three days ago on my hand. It is still swollen and hurts real bad how long will this last.

  40. Fudgewart says:

    Baking powder instantly neutralizes the sting. No pain. Just wet it and let it sit a little bit.

  41. Barbara Wilhelm says:

    Ammonia sprayed on any insect bite within the first few minutes of the sting, will relieve all the burning, itching, swelling and rash. I keep a spray bottle on my deck (out of reach of children) just incase i get into ants or wasp etc while outside. Almost instant relief. (Pure household ammonia)

  42. Jennifer Cellini says:

    My teenage daughter has decided to be a beekeeper so consequently she was strung over 20 times today! I heard crushed aspirin made into a paste and applied to the site reduces swelling. We experimented on a few and sure enough, the aspirin coated stings were dramatically improved (less redness, less swelling) in comparison to the non-coated stings. Wish I put it on all of her stings now.

    • Song says:

      If she is serious…………… have her train with an experienced bee keeper. Bees are amazing and necessary for our food supplies to grow.

  43. Jackie says:

    When we were young we used baking soda and water or tobacco on bee stings. I have another rememdy now that I use for LOTS of things. It’s called a milk poltice and works wonders on splinters (helps draw them out), any type of sore, bee stings, AND I always put it on the site my children got their shots and they never were sore from them. You take flour, add just a pinch of boric acid, warm some milk and pour in to make a paste (doesn’t take much). Apply to the area and cover with a cloth as hot as you can stand it and cover this with plastic (grocery bag, saran wrap – whatever). Keep on til it’s cool. On young children I would just apply the poultice cool and a barely warm cloth without the plastic. This recipe was given to me by an old mountain woman back in the 70′s and it really works.

  44. Stuart says:

    A bee sting is acid so the antidote is ammonia, and a wasp sting is alkaline so the cure is acid(vinegar)
    The opposites neutralise, and take the irritant away.

  45. Cassie says:

    I have tried several of these to little to no effect, including baking soda and vinegar, toothpaste, aloe (I love aloe straight from the plant for burns, btw), and ice. The mustard may provide some relief if it contains turmeric, but not all mustards do. I have to carry an epipen because of my extreme responses to stings and I will tell you that my first line of defense is tobacco. Mix it with a bit of water and apply it to the sting site and you will experience relief from both the pain and the swelling.

    We initially dismissed this as an old wives’ tale, but our dog got into a yellow jacket nest after hurricane Irene – when power was still out and even the emergency vet in the city was closed. She was laying and groaning and wouldn’t move except to weakly rub her muzzle on the floor. We were certain she would die. Out of desperation, I went to the local gas station which was doing cash only business (always keep cash for emergencies) and bought some rolling tobacco. By the time I had gotten home and mixed it with water, she was laying on the floor no longer moaning or moving at all. I put the tobacco all over her and within thirty minutes she was up and looking for water. She was her old self before bedtime.

    Since then, I have used it on several stings myself and have not had to use my epipen or go to the hospital as a result, even when I was stung on the lip. My husband got stung by some strange little wasp we had never seen before and he was practically screaming from the burning pain and his leg was swelling quickly. I put tobacco on it under a bandaid (we had to be somewhere) and when we got home, there was no swelling whatsoever.

    I will never be without tobacco for stings in my first aid kit.

  46. Diane says:

    For any bug bite, be it bee stings, mosquito, or spider bites, I tape a penny over the bite. In 10 minutes or so the pain, swelling and itch are gone. The venom is pulled out somehow by the copper in the penny. It’s my guess…. You can see a bright spot on the penny as you pull the tape off. Try it, then judge for yourself. I am highly allergic to all three kinds of bites and have tried many other solutions. Taping a penny on the bite is the best so far.

  47. Michelle says:

    The last time I was stung by a bee a friend of mine put a slice of onion on it. The pain went away and after 15 minutes the spot that I was stung wasn’t even red anymore!!!

  48. Jessica says:

    The Girl Scout camped I worked at used a combo of meat tenderizer and Vaseline. It helps pull out the venom.

  49. ee says:

    Got Stung Yesterday, think it was a hornet.
    Applied ice and it was fine.
    Think I scratched it overnight,
    Today it is swollen and hard.
    was itchy this morning
    Have been applying calamine lotion.
    Should I apply the baking soda paste tonight ??

  50. Song says:

    Coming from a long line of former bee keepers, never, never use tweezers on a honey bee sting. When they sting the stinger is ripped out of their abdomen and remains by a small barb in the sting site. It actually will continue to pump venom so scrape it out as soon as possible. African bees are different and more aggressive. You won’t be stung by just one; a swarm will attack. They can sting repeatedly. On mosquito and spider bites (Wife was stung by black widow two days ago) we us a mix of baking soda and meat tenderizer (make sure without salt). add drops of water to make a paste, apply, let dry and fall off by itself. Apply as soon as possible and if needed especially for spider bites. The Indians used to use mud, which helps draw out venom as it dries; along with other poultices. When little I was stung by fire ants, in my pants. no one ever has shed pants that quick……… Granddad put straight Ammonia (plain) which stopped the fire immediately. Bees can sense if you are scared……….. just calmly walk away…….swatting at them can anger them…. try not to crush a bee this releases an attack signal chemical to other bees… Bees are attracted to sweet liquids (soda, soda spills, nectar from flowers). They will drink sugar water from your hand( only for experienced people) Bees are necessary for crops to grow.

  51. Lori S says:

    I was stung by a wasp last weekend on my ankle, and tried the soda and water. didn’t seem to work very well, but may have helped some. I then put some nosporin with pain releif on it and it took the pain away. now a week later, it is itchy an swollen. I put ice on it, and the swelling has gone down some, but still itches like crazy. Any suggestions for a week later flair up?

  52. Ron says:

    I was mowing at a girls camp and did not have any of the above listed items, however in my truck was a can of windshield de-icer in an aerosol can, I sprayed it on the sting and it was cold for a second then all the pain of the sting left instantly.

  53. shyanne says:

    I got stung on the arch of my foot. The pain was awful! It hurt all day long. I found a home remedy where you mix apple cidar vinager and baking soda til you get a paste. I applied it on the bottom of my foot and it took the pain away about a minute later! Today is the second day and my foot is itching like crazy. I applied baking soda and water mix (paste) and it took some of the itching away. Personally, I think baking soda and vinager works the best.


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