Last Modified on Jun 15, 2015
Bee stings can be a bothersome and even painful experience, but having an effective home remedy on hand can help you get rid of the issue quickly and effectively. If you don’t suffer from bee allergies, you can easily treat bee stings. Honey, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and a variety of other home remedies relieve itching and burning caused by bee stings and even help prevent swelling.
What Do Bee Stings Itch and Swell?
When a bee stings you it inserts its tiny barbed stinger along with a venom sac into your skin. The venom injected in your body is the main cause of reaction. Your body essentially has an allergic reaction to the venom, causing itching, swelling, and pain.
How Should I Treat a Sting?
Because the stinger houses the venom sack, getting the stinger out of your skin is the most important first step. Avoid pulling the stinger out, as you could break the venom sac and release more venom in your body. Rather, gently scrape the stinger out using your fingernail or a credit card. Once you have removed the stinger, apply a topical remedy and avoid touching or scratching the affected area.
What Are the Best Natural Remedies for Bee Stings?
You can use a wide range of natural concoctions to treat bee stings. A few of the best options include honey, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar.
Honey is a sweet remedy for bee stings. It helps dilute the venom at the injection site and has antibacterial properties that prevent infection.
2. Baking Soda
One reason bee stings burn and sting is because they contain formic acid. Baking soda is an alkaline product, so applying a paste of baking soda and water helps neutralize the sting.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works in much the same way as baking soda. Applied topically, it helps neutralize the acid in the sting. ACV also relieves inflammation and reduces itching.
Treating a bee sting quickly and effectively will help you avoid additional pain and inflammation associated with a sting. These remedies as well as several others suggested below by our contributors can help you naturally treat your bee stings at home!
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[YEA] I have used Charcoal for dozens of things, for Bee Stings use a Dressing, Make Up Removing Pad or even a Tissue; give it a soaking in water and put some Activated Charcoal on it. Put this Poultice on the sting, pain should be gone in under a minute. I have used this several times for Bee stings, it also works for ants and wasps, it would be my first choice for any poison including snakes but I would also rush to the ER for a Snake Bite.
[YEA] I am very allergic to bee stings. I had gotten stung a few times during my childhood and teens, each time with more severe swelling. The last time I had gotten stung (stepped on a bee going barefoot), my leg swelled up like an elephant leg all the way to the thigh (the time before that it was just above the knee). So I knew it would be worse the next time, so I carried an Epi-pen around for a while until it expired. Then I carried nothing with me, but I knew if I got stung again esp. above the waist it would probably cut off my airway circulation. Well, lo and behold, about 20 years later I got stung again, right on my throat, so I yelled for my husband to call 911, thinking I was done for. Then a few seconds later I said, "Never mind! Hang up and help me mix up this charcoal!" So we took some powdered activated charcoal, mixed it with water, and applied it to the sting site. When the paramedics showed up a few minutes later (they had traced the call), we told them we were fine, since there was no swelling at all. I changed the charcoal poultice quite often during that first day, I don't remember exactly how often. Maybe every hour for a few hours. We also ground up some flax seed and mixed it with the charcoal and water. This makes it gelatinous and less runny. I kept the poultice on for about 3 days. Two days later I felt it itch and begin to swell, and then I realized the poultice had slipped off the sting site. So I knew I was still very allergic, and the charcoal had probably saved my life.
Replied by Ruth
Replied by Tunc
[YEA] This is a boy scout remedy that I have know since my first camping trip. All bee and wasp stings are acidic. The best counter of these poison is ammonia. I was stung by a ground wasp on my leg. My scout master asked me to pee on a handkerchief and wrap the wound until we got back to our camp site. He gave me the "smelling salt" liquid, which is ammonia. I felt pain for a while, but the wound subsided very quick. Since then, I always have a bottle of household ammonia handy in the backyard. Fire-ant bites are the same. Try it. See if it work for you.
Replied by Ellen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
[YEA] Had a nasty bee sting recently. Used homeopathic Apis mel. low potency like 6C Immed. took the pain, sting, swelling away!
[YEA] Stood on a bee at a friend's house 2 nights ago. I yelled VINEGAR very loudly as it was instant searing pain and my friend poured some cold ACV into a bowl and I put my foot into it... AHHH, instant relief. We got the stinger out with tweezers and I iced it and was walking around fine within half an hour. Yesterday it swelled up and is very itchy, so just soaked it again and it feels much better. My mom used white vinegar for bee stings when we were kids but I think the ACV is even better.
[YEA] WOW! That was like a miracle... Got stung on the top of my middle toe whilst galavanting barefoot in the front yard. I've developed an allergy to bee stings in adulthood, and this was the first time I was stung in years, so I was a bit concerned. It took me a while to dig the stinger out, and by then there was a rapidly spreading white welt with the trademark bright red dot in the middle along with the too-familiar stinging sensation. The joints in the toe were swelling, it ached like the dickens to walk or bend my toes at all, and the redness surrounding the welt was about the size of a silver dollar.
Came to Earth Clinic and read about ACV. Soaked a cotton ball in ACV and held it over the welt. It took about 3-5 mins for the stinging to subside. By 10 mins, the welt had disappeared and the aching in the joints was all but gone. I couldn't believe it! By about 30 mins (I eventually taped the cotton ball to my foot because I didn't want to be stuck on the couch all day), the redness had vanished all over my foot, and even the bright red mark where the stinger was orignally stuck had faded to a light pink. NO PAIN!
I've been using ACV for allergies and asthma for a few years now... I'm a believer now!
[YEA] Went outside barefoot and stepped on a red wasp - it stung me - intense pain - came in the house and applied Apple Cider Vinegar with a paper towel - within a few minutes the pain was gone and didn't even know i'd been stung - Apple Cider Vinegar works better than bleach on a sting.
[YEA] Running barefoot in the grass when there is something flowering amongst said grass isn't the smartest thing to do -- I was stung on my instep by a bee this afternoon.
My foot was on fire! Poor bee, though. I managed to get the stinger out after limping to my picnic blanket. It was the most painful thing I've felt in a long while. I limped to my car to get home for an ACV soak.
I didn't use straight ACV, but diluted it, so that's probably why I didn't have a miraculous recovery like others on EC. It took about 15 minutes to get the discomfort to lessen. There's still a mild throb, but I can walk just fine now. There is still a little swelling, which is better than a lot of swelling. I'll be using straight ACV next time. Hopefully there isn't a next time.
[YEA] I was outside on the deck yesterday and got stung by a wasp. I rushed inside to see what Earthclinic viewers recommended. Took some ACV and applied it with a cotton ball, then held it there about two minutes. Pain gone and redness gone. It works!
Replied by Honor
[YEA] My poor grandmother suffering from dementia was stung by a bee recently. She tried icing it for about 10 minutes and was still in pain so i checked this website and read that ACV was good for bee stings. We soaked a cotton ball with organic ACV and applied it directly to the sting and her pain was completely gone in 3 minutes!! I love ACV!!
Replied by Molly
Greenville, N.c Usa
Replied by Trevor
East Corinth, V.t. Usa
Replied by E.j.
Brevard, N.c., Usa
Replied by Carina
Cochranville, Pa, Usa
I was stung on the toe (ouch!) by a nasty red wasp this morning while taking out the trash... my business partner referred me to this site and I read about Apple Cider Vinegar. Thankfully, I had just bought some last night for the first time, and quickly submerged my toe. Within 10 seconds, the pain was almost completely gone. 5 minutes ago I was unable to sit still because of all the pain, and now I feel great!
Thank you for the great advice.
Replied by Turtlewalk
Santa Ana, Ca
[YEA] I was watering my plants and my finger touched a living bumblebee and it stung me and it hurt bad. So I put 4tbs. of apple cider vinegar on it and it worked in a minute!
[YEA] I was doing some yard work and must have upset a hornets nest. The hornets were swarming around on the ground and I was stung on the leg and on my forearm before I realized what was going on. I was a bit frightened since the last time I was stung by a hornet, many years ago, my arm swelled up a lot and was very itchy so I was afraid of a more severe reaction. I had recently read how ACV worked on so many things, I immediately put ACV on the stings. Within a minute or two, the pain from the stings was gone! The next day there wasn't even a mark where I got stung. Amazing!
[YEA] Apple Cider Vinegar will cure an allergic reaction to many stings by killer bees. An elderly woman who lives alone out in the country told me this story. She had a gentleman fixing fence for her in a pasture when he disturbed a nest of African killer bees. They swarmed him and he ran to his truck and drove to the womans house. He fell out of his truck and drug himself up to her gate and yelled at her to help him. She said by the time she got outside his eyes were rolling back in his head and all he said to her was some bees had stung him . She ran back into her house and got a shotglass of apple cider vinegar and took it out to him. She shook him and told him he had to drink the ACV so he opened his mouth and she poured a small amount in. He refused to drink anymore so she set it by him while she ran in to call 911. She said by the time she went back outside the man was sitting up and had drank the rest of the ACV. By the time the EMT's got there the man was up walking around. They checked him out and said he was fine. The man said he never goes anywhere without a bottle of ACV just in case because it saved his life. He swears by it.
Replied by Mary
[YEA] I was trying to put a wasp outside that had flown into my kitchen (not a believer in killing any wildlife)... unfortunately it stung me through the paper towel as I lifted it from the window. Ouch!! I immediately dunked my finger in apple cider vinegar and baking soda (2 TBLS ACV and a shake of Baking Sod). The pain subsided after about 30 seconds and never returned. FAST REMEDY!
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San Antonio, Tx
Replied by Jackie
Boca Raton, Florida, Usa