Natural Cures for a Bee Sting

| Modified on Jun 11, 2023
Bee Sting Remedies

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.

Why 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!

9 Volt Battery

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Arn (Kenmore, Wa.) on 05/16/2021 20 posts

With 7 kids, and woods surrounding our house, we had plenty of experience with stings of all kinds. Fortunately, we found a quick fix.

Wet the site of the sting, saliva will do.

Then press a 9 volt battery with the poles on either side of the puncture.

It takes about 1 second and the kids are back out the door to play. The very mild current, which they won't even feel, disassociates components of the venom.

If you search remedies for snake bite on thus website, you can learn more about this treatment. It's possible the little 9V battery might even work on snake bites if applied before the venom spreads. No venomous snakes in Western Washington, so I haven't tried it.

I also have no idea if this works for those allergic to bee venom. Hope someone can give us more info. Meanwhile, keep a 9V close at hand. Cheap and effective.

Activated Charcoal

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Fluffy (Pa) on 07/21/2017

Charcoal saved my life

I am deadly allergic to bees, I have already been hospitalized and they make me carry an epiPen. The problem with that is there is no way in hell that I or anyone else is going to stab me with a needle so when I got stung yesterday the first thing I did was apply tea tree oil & camphor to the site . Then I took 2 Benadryl and about 7 min later I remembered I have activated charcoal and both capsule in powder form, I swallowed two of the capsules and made a charcoal, Teatree and Vicks vapor rub concoction for the infected site. Then I took a another tablespoon of charcoal. To my amazement I did not super swell up around the site I did not get any hives or rashes my tongue and throat did not swell like it usually does, just pain where I got stung 👍 I was so happy that I didn't have to go to the ER or stab myself in the leg. Today, however, I stupidly took a hot shower and opened up all my pores and broke out in hives all over my body. I immediately went to take the activated charcoal 2capsules &1 tablespoon of powder (diluted in water)about 20 minutes later the rash and hives started to go away I then took 1 Benadryl. It's been three hours and I'm completely fine.

EC: More great charcoal cures can be found on this page.

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

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.

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

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
(Dennisport, MA)

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.

Replied by Tunc
(Kusadasi, Turkiye)

Yes, it can be an allergic reaction. There are local and systemic allergic reactions due to the sensitivity of the person(it can be more after each sting). I guess you are sensitive on bee poison and hyper reaction occurs on your bodypart so it can be dangerous depends of the place of stung. Local steroids are the best to stop the allergic reactions. But first take the stinger out, apply cold, apply ammonia solution (alcalic) for about 10 min. , take an antihistamin tab as soon as possible.


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

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

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)

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

Ammonia, Clay

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Terry (Missouri) on 05/02/2020

I am allergic to bees. My wife is allergic to mosquitoes. We both have found putting unscented ammonia on cotton ball and holding on sting bite until the other one makes a bentonite clay poultice to put on works miracles. Clay even took away a 2 day old brown recluse bite with no damage. A puss head was even forming which will then start eating into the flesh. All bites are acid and ammonia is very alkaline and absorbs into the body real fast. Your body also makes it. If you don't have bentonite clay, use clay mud from ground.

Apis Mel

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

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

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

Apple Cider Vinegar

15 User Reviews
5 star (15) 

Posted by Maggie (Idaho) on 08/29/2016 36 posts

Apple cider vinegar worked great for a wasp bite on the back of my hand. When first bit, I rubbed some fresh lavender leaves on the bite and the pain stopped. A few hours later I noticed that my hand had started to swell. Put some colloidal silver on the bite and the swelling went down some but a while later it started again, turned red and hot, started to itch, and was going up my fingers. Put some ACV on the bite several times that day and it healed.

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

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.

Replied by Felicia P.
(Decatur, TX)

Never remove a stinger with tweezers as this pumps more venom into your body. Use a credit card or flat knife or even fingernail to flick it off from underneath.

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

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!

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

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.

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

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.

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

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
(Seattle, Wa)

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. :(

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

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)

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! :))

Replied by Trevor
(East Corinth, V.t. Usa)

The Apple Cider Vinegar remedy worked very well. My sting went away immediately.

Replied by E.j.
(Brevard, N.c., Usa)

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.

Replied by Carina
(Cochranville, Pa, Usa)

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!

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


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)

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.