Last Modified on Jan 09, 2014
What Is an Insect Bite?
From ticks to mosquitoes and even bees, several different insects bite or sting. Often these bites and stings cause an immediate skin reaction. Generally, a bit from a fire ant and sting from a bee, wasp or hornet causes pain. A bite from a mosquito, flea or mite, however, typically causes more itching than pain.
Most people experience minimal side effects of a bite or sting. The common symptoms of an insect bite vary depending on the insect and individual. Nonetheless, most people experience pain, redness, inflammation and itching. Some slight burning, numbness and tingling may also be experienced. In some rare instances, individuals experience a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis which requires immediate emergency care. Anaphylaxis causes chest pain, facial or oral swelling, difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing and even shock.
When an insect bites or stings an individual, the insect typically injects some type of venom or saliva into the individual. As an individual’s body reacts to the foreign substance, the characteristic insect bite appears – red, inflamed and even heated bump or lump at the site of a bite.
Natural Insect Bite Remedy
Most insect bites require little medical attention. However, these bites are often itchy and sometimes even painful. Applying a natural, topical treatment can help relieve itching and soreness. Tiger balm, aloe vera and apple cider vinegar can be applied to a bite to relieve the symptoms and reduce swelling. Additionally, Echinacea, bentonite clay, charcoal and even aspirin used as a poultice treat common insect bites. Preventing insect bites is also fairly easy to accomplish naturally. Brewer’s yeast, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 taken several days prior to insect exposure help prevent mosquito bites. Likewise, avoiding sugar before and during outdoor activities and exposure to mosquitoes helps keep bites at bay. Continue reading below for many more home remedies for insect bites from Earth Clinic readers!
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Table of Contents
- POPULAR REMEDIES
- Aloe Vera
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Apply Heat
- B Vitamins
- Baking Powder, Ammonia, Meat Tenderizer
- Bee Remedies
- Brewer's Yeast as Repellent
- Castor Oil
- Chigger Bite Remedies
- Clear Tape
- Coconut Oil
- Dishwashing Detergent, Garlic, Apple Cider Vinegar
- Essential Oils
- Fels- Naptha
- Geranium Oil
- Ice Pack for Mosquito Bites
- Joe-Pye Weed
- Lavender Oil
- Mosquito Bites
- Mud, Garlic or Charcoal
- Oregano Oil
- Over the Counter
- Peppermint Oil
- Remedies Needed
- Saliva, Salt Water
- Tea Tree Oil
- Tiger Balm
- Tobacco Poultice
- Vinegar for Biting Flies
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin C, Apple Cider Vinegar
- White Vinegar
- Whiteflower Oil
- Yellow Jackets Remedies
[YEA] 07/11/2011: Cocoandrico from Kingston, Ny, Usa: "Aloe Vera applied to an insect bite is very soothing and anti-inflammatory, reducing the urge to SCRATCH and risk infection. It's also antibacterial and dries to form a protective barrier, speeding the healing process. Store it in the fridge and it feels even better. For instructions for how to use the leaves of the plant and how concoct a spray with aloe at home, check out: www.aloeplant.info/natures-powerhouse-aloe-vera-for-insect-bites-and-poison-ivy/"
Apple Cider Vinegar
10/15/2012: Lrhouse from Mesquite, Tx, Usa: "I was just wondering if the ACV would work on Flea Bite Dermatitis I have read alot of the post and a lot on itching. I have tried everything but vet says all it takes is one bite to have a reaction. I dont want to keep her on steriods and am looking for relief for her. She has lost all her hair from the hips down. And yes we have been through all the testing. Yeast, mange and such. But am looking for relief for her. Any suggestions?"
[YEA] 09/26/2013: Lokismum from Banbury, England: "I just got a bite on my foot four days ago which itched so much I nearly scratched myself raw. I had a look on Earth Clinic as I knew the wonderful people who pass on wonderful remedies would have the answer. I tried a lot of things that didn't work as this bite was really fierce with the itching, and remembered I had tried using a hair dryer on a hot setting aimed at the bite until it got too uncomfortable, which had helped when I had a milder bite a couple of months ago. So when I saw the remedy using boiling hot water to soak a flannel and applying that to the bite I wanted to try it. As soon as the flannel hit the red inflamed skin covering half my foot and also half my ankle which was swollen the itching was intense, but strangely comforting. When the itching stopped I took the flannel off, and for the next six or so hours it was absolute bliss. No itching! I woke at three last night with my foot starting to itch, and slapped the very hot flannel on my foot, and once again it worked wonderfully. Thank you so much all of you who recommended this treatment. Colloidal silver sprayed on it several times a day from yesterday evening has taken the swelling down and stopped it looking so angry. I took a tablespoon of silver a couple of times yesterday and today as well, as it was so swollen and itchy yesterday I thought I might have to see the doctor, but I don't want to take anti biotics and it was obvious the foot was infected and that is what the doctor would have prescribed. So once again thank you Earth Clinic."Replies
09/27/2013: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello Lokismum from England: About that bite on foot; from your description sounds like a spider. I'm big on Colloidal Silver (CS) and if a spider was the culprit it might have had numerous pathogens with the poison. A great salve that I learned about for "bites" is the herb Echinacea in liquid form. Dab it on the bite site and let dry, reapply and again reapply. Put five drops in glass of water and drink. Repeat every other hour.
You have to get the poisons out of you so the CS is a good idea but also you can use "clay" bought at most health food stores; a tablespoon in glass of water would help absorb poisons. Do that over five days once daily.
If that's not available, I've recently been reminded of the use of charcoal which is a great cleanser.
You can use all three; Echinacea, bentonite clay and charcoal, any of them, as a poultice on the bite spot itself. Apply and after drying wash off, then reapply and again let dry."
[YEA] 05/10/2013: Sealion from Alexandria, Va, USA: "Worked for me too. Just be careful not to accidentally scald yourself:) Aspirin rubbed in wet worked also but only for about 4 hours and left the bed sheet a little gritty."
[YEA] 07/14/2011: What Worked For Me from Bev Hills, Usa: "Ok I was in soo much pain with itchy flea bites that just got worse after the first day, red inflamed and extremely itchy. I came here and tried a few of the solutions. clear nail polish, nail polish remover, tea tree oil, camphor, deep heat (linement, which worked but only for an hour or so), tiger balm and lime. NOTHING worked...
then I thought oh what the hell and I tried the making an X through each bite with my fingernail then I put a very hot water bottle on each bite (the back of a spoon dipped in very hot water will work too) and wouldnt u know instant relief, they stopped itching straight away. A realy inflamed one I did twice, just held the hot water bottle on it for 2 mins, two times and yep im all good now. I highly recommend this."Replies
[YEA] 08/14/2011: Lizzie from London, Uk replies: "This is true. It's the only thing that actually takes the itch away completly. I used a flannel dipped in very hot water. Place it on the bites, it will sting and be a little unbearable, make it really hot. Keep on there for a few mins. Manadged to go to bed and sleep with absoloutly no itching!! Amazing, at last a cure for the terrible itching!"
[YEA] 04/19/2013: Molly from Corte Madera, Ca replies: "Yes! Heat is the best. Whenever I get poison oak or a batch of bug bites while vacationing, hot showers are the only thing that brings total relief. I take a shower as hot as I can stand. The heat releases all the histamines that cause the itch. If I can't shower for some reason, I'll carefully use a blow dryer in short blasts. The blow dryer gives you less ability to control the heat or keep the heat on the area for an extended time. The hot shower feels great, and you get 5-8 hours of relief before you need to do it again."
[YEA] 06/26/2008: Ann from Deer Park, WA: "I had multiple mosquito bites and checked earth clinic for relief. Found a remedy of wetting the bites and rubbing in an aspirin. (I also wet the aspirin.) Immediately the burning and itching was gone and the bites healed so much faster than previous episodes. Also,the bites didn't swell anywhere near as much as previous bites. My arm was so full of bites that it was red from the wrist to the elbow. The first time it took two aspirins, but as the bites healed one did the job. The aspirin left a white gritty residue, but that was a very small payment for great relief. Thank you!"Replies
[YEA] 08/04/2009: Star from Stamford, Ct replies: "I get beaten by mosquito quite often even with insect repellent. I have bad reaction to mosquito bites, the area will swell up and get very itchy, it will take weeks to calm down and leave a mark on my skin. My doctor prescribed me with cortisone and it speed up the healing process. In an outdoor BBQ last week, I got 2 bites and as usual had bad reactions. I applied the prescribed cortisone, it gave me some relief on the itch for a short while and it did not calm down the swelling. I remembered reading about the aspirin remedy last week and decided to try it. It worked right away when I rubbed it onto the swelling spots, it calmed the itchiness and I can see the inflammation starting to heal, I left it on overnight and they were much better the next morning. I told my doctor about it, she said you need to be sure that you are not allergic to aspirin and be carefully if you have anemia. Thank you for sharing the remedy, I now have a speedy way to clam the bites!"
04/13/2011: Tinam from Brisbane, Queensland replies: "I unfortunately am allergic to mosquitoes and the swelling and itching is severe and painful at the same time. The bite will usually be bad for 2 weeks and then slowly fade. I was bitten on the foot last night which now is so swollen I can hardly walk on it. I tried the aspirin remedy, but unfortunately it did not work. I have tried tiger balm in the past which does not work either. I use Olive Leaf Extract on the bites, which takes the itching away, but only lasts for a short period, and doesn't help with pain and swelling. I think the remedies work, I just think my bodies reaction to the mosquito bite is too severe. I started taking a vit B supplement which is great. I get bitten very seldom. Thanks for the remedies and suggestions everyone."
[YEA] 05/20/2008: Sylvia from Wilmington, NC: "I tried the aspirin on a mosquito bite and it worked well, the itching left. Thanks."
[YEA] 03/27/2008: Roger from Richmond Hill, Ontario: "Mosquito bites drive me nuts. I'm one of these people who can't stop from scratching. So, living in Canada, there would be some years where I would end up doing a lot of scratching and scarring. When I read this remedy in the Home Remedy Book and it worked, I told myself that the $30 I paid for the book was worth this one cure. It also works for spider bites. It works better if you deal with the bite(s) as quickly as possible.
Wet the area of the bite with water and rub plain ASA onto the area. Because I'm a scratcher, I do it rather roughly. For spider bites I use two applications about a half hour apart. The itchiness disappears in a few minutes and may reoccur the next day. I just do another application and usually the itch doesn't return."
EC: We wrote Roger back to clarify what ASA is....
03/28/2008: Roger replies: "Just plain aspirin - I use a generic brand - it really works but be generous with the water - my daughter, who is health conscious, uses aspirin on her and her kids - it's saved a lot of hours of sleep."
[YEA] 04/11/2012: Pixie from Jakarta, Indonesia: "Around 20 years ago, when my mom was asleep, she was stung by a centipede. It was very painful, and her hand became swollen. So my aunt & my cousin, tried to find whatever herbs they can find outside the house. They tried applying several herbs, but none worked. The pain was getting worst & her hand start to swollen till the arm.
Out of desperation, my mom got an avocado & mashed its flesh & apply it to the swollen area. Finally the pain subside & she can sleep. The next morning, there were no more pain & her hand was back to normal.
Few years after later, my sister was stung by a bee at her forehead while she was riding a motorbike. She was crying & crying & it was already swollen when she got home. My mom had someone to buy an avocado, then applied to my sister forehead. Not long after that the pain was gone & it was healed completely.
So, if you was bitten by an insect & you have an avocade at home, please give it a go. Big yes for avocado!!!"
[YEA] 07/19/2013: Hercy from Brownwood, Texas, Usa: "B12 Liquid Sublingual formula with B2, B3, B5, B6 works for me. The first few days a renegade mosquito would go ahead & bite... by the forth day, was free of bites. By night, I required another dose, so the B12 formula only lasts about 8 hours on me. Note: A drop of the Liquid B12 formula applied directly to a mosquito bite will give immediate relief."
02/02/2011: Jen from Danbury, Ct: "Vitamins B12 and B6 are listed as the top preventative for insect bites. Can you give me a recommended dosage to achieve this effect? I am a magnet for mosquitos in the summer. When everyone else is unbothered, I am the first one the mosquitos gravitate to. I've tried taking a B complex vitamin in addition to my multi vitamin and this did not do the trick. So I think there probably wasn't enough of B12 and B6 to deter the mosquitos. Thanks! "Replies
02/09/2011: Brijorg from New Haven, Ct replies: "Jen from Danbury, I used to be the same way. I have been using tea tree oil for cuts (and poison ivy, insect bites, etc). The last time I went camping my friend who usually does not get bitten was complaining about the mosquitos which surprised me because I hadn't noticed any. Then I realized I had put on the TTO and the mosquitoes didn't seem to like the smell (many humans don't either though). I read here on EC that most essential oils have this effect (I think the mosquitos cannot distinguish your scent from the oils). So try applying some blend of essential oils you like (add a musk to last longer if you want)."
[YEA] 09/26/2011: Jholl from Louisville, Ky replies: "Back a few years ago, I had been on a health kick, taking brewer's yeast as a natural source of B vitamins. I didn't think about it much until I went on a canoe trip with a group. The woman I was with, was swarmed by black flies. We counted forty bites! She was a bit peeved at me. They were completely on her, not one came near me. I am certain it was the brewer's yeast I had been taking. I literally took a handful that morning figuring it would give me extra energy for the trip. Later I read the B1 in the brewer's yeast is especially repulsive to insects. You put off a smell they don't like. I like being repulsive to them for a change!
I hope this is hopeful for those reading it. I don't know the exact doses, but I think it is wise to keep taking those brewer's yeast tablets if you know you will be outside where you are likely to be bitten. You can take them indefinitely as far as I know."
Baking Powder, Ammonia, Meat Tenderizer
[YEA] 06/30/2007: Gary from Claxton, Georgia: "The recommended first aid is: wash the sting area with copious amounts of warm soapy water then wash the bite site with household ammonia, scrubbing vigorously with a sponge to get under the skin flap to the poison.
Make a solution of baking powder, meat tenderizer, and ammonia, i.e. 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer, and 1 cup ammonia. Scrub this solution into the wound.
The ammonia and baking soda return the body's acid/base balance to normal neutralizing most of the effect of the poison injected into the skin by the insect. The meat tenderizer's enzymes help break down the protein aiding the solution in neutralizing the poison.
I keep a pint jar of the solution stored at room temperature. It's very effective."
06/09/2011: Bonnie from Fairbanks Ak, Alaska, Usa: "for people bothered with bees on their patio:
I lived in arkansas they have lots of rice patties there so the bees are really really harmfull to kids'. they showed me how to make it safe for me and my family and dogs to set outside with out being bothered. take a small bucket with a handle put enought water in the bottom to just enough cover the bottom place a wire around the center of the handle hanging down. half way down to the botton on the wire push a ham hamhock cheap one with lots of fat on. the bees will eat so much they fall in the water and drown.
hang the bucket at least 10 feet away from the deck in a tree branch. Up high enough kids can not reach it. It really works.
ps my friends used empty gal milk jugs put water just to cover bottonwrap two slices of baccon wrapped tight around the wire even a little sweet on it helps. Slide in hole threw the opening return lid leave enough wire to hang it from a tree limb. now take a phillips head screw driver push holes half way around the milk jug. this way the bees can get in but not out they will eat and fall and drown
throw away jug and start a new one. where the bucket you you have to wash
hang where chidren play and dogs rest. it really works I had them by my front swing so I could set out at night'
ps do not set where flowers pollen they need the bees to grow.
summer tips to make summer more enjoying
on the bucket handle wire a wire about in the middle of the handle let it hang half way down in to the bucket."Replies
06/09/2011: Lisa from Rabat, Morocco replies: "Why would you want to kill the bees? Haven't you heard of colony collapse disorder? If all the bees disappear then we will disappear also! Bees are our friends. I would respectfully suggest that you find a better way to deal with them, or better yet learn to live with them."
06/09/2011: Carly from Seattle, Wa - Usa replies: "Lisa said:06/09/2011: Lisa from Rabat, -, Morocco writes: "Why would you want to kill the bees? Haven't you heard of colony collapse disorder? If all the bees disappear then we will disappear also! Bees are our friends. I would respectfully suggest that you find a better way to deal with them, or better yet learn to live with them."------------------Hi Lisa - Bees that ingest or go after ham and bacon meat (as suggested in the post on traps for them) are generally wasps, not honey bees. Wasps can be quite agressive - especially in the Fall, and also if one is barbecuing meat. We have had a natural hive of feral honey bees in a huge tree in our back yard for the past 5 years or so, and so far they have bothered not a soul. They are about 40 feet from our back door. It is quite a large hive, and I believe it has split off once since we have lived here. Anyway, point being... If the bees are agressive, or attacking people and pets, chances are very good that they are not honey or mason bees (the ones that pollinate plants). They are most likely wasps - and they are nasty creatures. Just my opinion - now will someone help me down off of my soapbox please. ;-) I just wish I lived where the sun would actually shine enough to worry about the bees at this point. sigh."
Brewer's Yeast as Repellent
[YEA] 03/28/2012: Jholl from Louisville, Kentucky: "I went canoeing with a friend on a river. We were attacked by these black flies. They bit her numerous times and completely stayed away from me. I had been taking probably 5-6 tablets of brewer's yeast tablets for about a week prior to the trip. I later learned they are a great source of b vitamins. In any case, I felt very bad for my friend. But, it sure worked for me. I do not know how well it works for other insects. I have been told it puts off an odor that insects detest."
06/19/2009: Kathy from Chicago, IL: "hi e mailed you with a question but think it was misunderstood. had a flea infestation and revieved several bites which have turned brown and look awful. question was referred to pet section. didnt want to know how to get rid of fleas wanted to know if any remedy for the brown spots. have been bit before and never had this happen. thanks for any help"Replies
11/09/2009: Suzie from Ashmore, Qld Australia replies: "do you think castor oil will work for acne scars? please and thanks"