Natural Cures for a Bee Sting

Last Modified on Aug 20, 2014

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.

1. Honey

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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Most Popular Remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar14 YEAS
Tobacco5 YEAS

User Reviews



Activated Charcoal   2  0   

Posted by Cameron (Brisbane, Qld, Australia) on 12/14/2011

[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.

Posted by Gean (Salina, Kansas) on 05/05/2008

[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.

Posted by Ruth
Dennisport, MA
09/20/2008
The symptoms you describe are a localized reaction to the bee sting, not an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are systemic (through your whole body) like hives. Even though the reaction can be painful and scary, it is not an allergic one. Treatment includes elevating the affected part, steroids and antibiotics (main stream medicine). Don't worry about an epi-pen unless you have some kind of affected breathing.

Ammonia   2  0   

Posted by Henry814 (Valdosta, Georgia, Usa) on 11/06/2010

[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.

Posted by Ellen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
11/07/2010
[YEA]   Another excellent remedy for stings and bites is oil of oregano. You get instant relief and a reduction in swelling. Oil of oregano can be applied for many problems, but it should be taken interally for only a very short time as it will eventually eat away at your organs. I cured my candida in two weeks using oil of oregano, taking 4 drops 3 times per day. After this time, I stopped and the candida never came back. It's easy and very effective. Good luck. Sue

Apis Mel   1  0   

Posted by GT (Vero beach, Florida) on 08/24/2007

[YEA]  Had a nasty bee sting recently. Used homeopathic Apis mel. low potency like 6C Immed. took the pain, sting, swelling away!

Apple Cider Vinegar   14  0   

Posted by Cait (Oakland, California) on 06/16/2013

[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.

Posted by Mommy V (Washington, D. C., Usa) on 06/15/2013

[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!

Posted by Cheryl (Abilene, Tx) on 07/28/2011

[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.

Posted by Sheila (San Diego, Ca, Usa) on 07/07/2011

[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.

Posted by Laurie (Saukville, Wi) on 08/13/2010

[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!

Posted by Honor
Seattle, Wa
06/21/2011
[YEA]   Worked great for a bumble bee sting right to the arch of my foot. Pain gone after about a minute. Hope the bee made it. :(

Posted by Jamie (San Jose, Ca, Usa) on 05/20/2010

[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!!

Posted by Molly
Greenville, N.c Usa
07/19/2010
I raise ducks and geese as pets and my neighbors wanted two. So when they came over to pick them up, the ducklings jumped out and ran to a bush. Well, we didn't know that there was three yellowjacket nests there. Within minutes there were 30 or so on this one duckling (3 weeks old) and he was dark colored so it attracted them even more. I picked out all the YJ's and ran inside and got Dawn dishwasher detergent and washed the wounds. Then I picked out the stingers and drowned the wounds in ACV. When I taught a water safety course at school, I learned that putting ACV on a jellyfish wound would stop the pain, so I tried putting it on a YJ sting. It worked in a short period of time. Thanks! :))
Posted by Trevor
East Corinth, V.t. Usa
08/09/2010
[YEA]   The Apple Cider Vinegar remedy worked very well. My sting went away immediately.
Posted by E.j.
Brevard, N.c., Usa
08/09/2010
6 Posts
Hi Trevor, Started to use last month and it helped lower my number. (I am a prediabetic). Would like to ask if anyone knows the different from blackstrap molasses and sorghum syrup? The reason I am asking is sorghum is grown local in my area of NC. And N. GA. It is also a grass! I have some in my shelves. Thank you for any answer! E.G.
Posted by Carina
Cochranville, Pa, Usa
07/03/2011
[YEA]   A pesky little bee stung me on the arch of my foot today, and since ACV seems to do the trick for so many things, I tried it on the bee sting. Two minutes later: no swelling, pain OR itch as I usually get and I never thought about it again! YEA for ACV!

Posted by Russell (Denton, Texas, Usa) on 08/27/2009

[YEA]  Hi,

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.

Sincerely,
Russell

Posted by Turtlewalk
Santa Ana, Ca
11/21/2009
[YEA]   My daughter was saving a bee from the pool today (doubt she'll do that again) and got stung on her thumb. It began to swell immediately. We put baking soda on it and iced & elevated it. She kept asking for relief from the pain. I found this site and dunked her thumb in Apple Cider Vinegar a few minutes ago. She says the pain is almost gone.

Posted by Nick (Colorado, Colorado) on 06/15/2008

[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!

Posted by Mary (Dartmouth, Massachusetts) on 08/17/2007

[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!

Posted by Sandy (Caldwell, TX) on 09/28/2006

[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.

Posted by Mary
Arcadia, CA
08/20/2014
27 Posts
Thank you for your story. I recently went to an Apitherapist for bee stings to heal my arthritis. He gave me a sting near my throat in the back of my head.

I quickly started to itch and my tongue became red and very itchy. He did some kind of Accupuncture on me and gave me a Mung Bean drink.

I had red spots all over my feet and my vagina was itching so bad. I finally calmed down. I have to go again tomorrow but he said I cannot have any more stings. I will definitely carry ACV with me. Thank you for your help. Should I carry Benadryl with me?

Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda   3  0   

Posted by Sharon (Vinings, GA) on 03/28/2007

[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!

Posted by Crystal
Liberty, KY
07/02/2008
[YEA]   My son was stung and we used this! It worked GREAT! THX
Posted by Valeria
Windsor, Sc
09/18/2009
umm my dad just got stung by like 5 yellowjackets should i just use 2tbls and a shake or more than that for my remedy??
Posted by Laurie
San Antonio, Tx
10/21/2009
[YEA]   I was stung by a bee or wasp earlier today. I put tea tree oil on it immediately, which helped a little, but I kept having shooting, stinging pains all day and by the evening the area around the sting was hot, red, and sore. I read your site and tried the apple cider vinegar and baking soda remedy and it worked instantly! All the pain is gone and it feels fine. Thank you!
Posted by Jackie
Boca Raton, Florida, Usa
02/21/2012
It is nite time and I was picking out good things that people left outside for the garbage man tomorrow.

All of a sudden something bit me and I had incredible shooting pain on my wrist and I couldn't get my watch off fast enough. The only light was by street light so I couldn't see what bit me. The initial pain was soo bad I couldn't drive to get home right away, but after I did try driving home, I checked out your sight and to my amazement the Apple Cider Vinegar and touch of Baking Soda burned at first then numbed the area. I have six bites on my wrist and the pain is gone! Oh I should mention I just took two Benedryl, generic form as I am allergic to Bees, Wasps, etc. I don't know what bit me, maybe it was a swarm of something? There were not stingers just 6 red bites. Any ideas what they could be from?

Thanks! Jackie


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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.

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