Insect Bite Remedies

Tobacco Poultice

Posted by Aka Sherri (College Station, Texas, United States) on 04/30/2012
5 out of 5 stars

As a landscape designer and avid gardener, I've been stung many times by scorpions, bees, wasps, you name it. I've tried baking soda, ammonia and benydril, but it still took several days to get better. Once, I stepped on a scorpion and had to sit with my foot elevated for 3 whole days before I could walk again.

I found a remedy that works nearly instantly!

Someone told me about this remedy years ago. It's supposed to be an old Native American remedy. As the subject says, it's disgusting! However, when I've been stung I can easily deal with gross if it means the pain will go away right now instead of 3 days later!

If you smoke, shame on you! But when it comes to stinging insects, you are in luck! Bite off about half the length of a cigarette and chew it. Your mouth will immediately dry up, but then it will begin to salivate profusely. As soon as the tobacco is wet and chewed up, spit the wad out on the sting/bite site and leave it there. I promise, you won't be much concerned about the taste of the tobacco given the serious pain you're in! :)

The sooner you can get the chewed tobacco onto the sting site, the less time it will take for the pain to go away and all of the poison to be drawn out of the body. Even though the pain will dissipate quickly, the tobacco needs to stay on longer to remove all the poison.

For example: If you get tobacco onto the wound with in 30 seconds, the pain will be gone almost instantly and it will probably only take about 5 or 10 minutes to get all the poison out. If it takes 5 minutes to get the tobacco, it might be a few minutes before the pain is gone and might take an hour to get all the poison out. This is why I always keep a bag of additive free natural tobacco in my bag of gardening tools, so I can stop the pain ASAP!!

You will know when all the poison is gone if you can remove the tobacco and the pain stays gone. If you still feel pain or it starts to return, put it back on.

The tobacco needs to stay wet. If it dries up and you start to feel pain, spit on the tobacco, or better yet, chew up some fresh tobacco.

****I tried just wetting the tobacco with water instead of chewing on it. It didn't work for me. There seems to be something about the saliva/tobacco/nicotine mix that helps****

If you have fresh sage, mix that in with the tobacco. It seems to step up the relief. I've never tried using sage alone. Frankly, I'm not willing to experiment and find out if sage on its own will work when I am in so much pain. I'll only do that when/if I find myself with out any tobacco!

I have used the remedy countless times and it has NEVER FAILED ME!

I hope it works for others as well. I will surely feel terrible if it doesn't work for someone who braved the disgusting taste cigarette tobacco but didn't find relief!

Vaseline for Sand Fleas

Posted by Oceana (West Coast) on 04/21/2015

I haven't created my own post in years and I cannot access my password. But, I just want to see this remedy posted and it needn't be posted by myself. I found it on another website: (additional people posting on the site said it worked).

Sand Flea's (recurring/not going away)

Remedy: Sealed bandage with vaseline/lanolin or other thick ointment.

JM Reply:
June 4th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

First post:

Spent one month of intense treatment of sand fleas including excision of several very deep areas by a surgeon. FINALLY!!!!!!!!! Talked with an Infectious Disease Doctor on the phone. Treatment and bites healing after three days. Apply a heavy coat of vaseline (or lanolin) over each open area. Cover the area completely with a band aid. The larvae comes out because they cannot get oxygen. They looked like tiny shrimp. APPLY vaseline/lanolin and a bandaid large enough to seal around the bite.

Second post:

The sand fleas are little larvae inside of the bite. You can see them on the bandaid when you take it off. They bites continue to fester and itch until the kill the larvae. A DOCTOR of Infectious Diseases told me to use VASELINE and an occlusive bandaid to kill them from lack of oxygen. THey will crawl out onto the dressing and die. You can SEE them the next day. Take a shower and reapply the Vaseline and dressing until the areas stop itching and festering. I am a NURSE! It works!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Vicks Vaporub

Posted by Art (California) on 08/21/2020 779 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Since we are only just past the middle of summer, it seems worth mentioning that Vicks Vaporub can be used to take the heat, inflammation, itching, and burning out of gnat and mosquito bites as well as other insects and speeds the healing process. It can also act as an insect repellent, but I never use it as such because I don't want that much Vicks on large areas of my body, but that's just my choice.

For a repellent, I use different essential oils mixed with vodka and simply shake the spray bottle and spray it on. I don't mind the smell of clove oil, so that is what I use as a more human friendly insect repellent, but some other essential oils can work also.

I have written about this before on EC.Other uses for Vicks gathered from the web are toenail fungus (multiple studies), topical pain reliever, antiseptic due to its essential oil content, pimples, mild psoriasis and eczema, but I would never consider it for large areas, only for a few small spots as too much can enter through broken skin and cause health problems, sore muscles, relieve bruises and speed the healing process, to repair cracked heels, warts, apply to feet before bed and put white cotton socks on to help relieve a cough due to a cold, for squeaky hinges if you don't have oil handy, to help deal with strong odors that might otherwise make you sick, apply a little around the nose openings, but not inside the nose as some police do when having to work around a dead body, helps relieve athlete's foot, ringworm and minor burns.

In any case, Vicks Vaporub can be useful for short term use, but I refrain from mid and long term use and would never recommend that anyone use it other than for short term use as I believe the essential oils in it could allow the other ingredients or the oils themselves to be over absorbed and this would not be good. Vicks Vaporub has been around for many decades so it appears to have a decent safety profile, but a little caution with its use won't hurt!


Replied by Mama To Many

Hi Art!

We have been using a home made version of Vicks this week for chigger bites! The relief lasts for hours.

For those who like to DIY, here is how I make my own.

  • 1 cup olive oil infused with lobelia and mullein*
  • 1/2 Tablespoon menthol crystals
  • 1 Tablespoon peppermint essential oil
  • 1 Tablespoon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Beeswax pastilles

Warm infused oil. Melt in beeswax. Stir in essential oils and menthol crystals. (Don't get your face over this. The oil fumes will burn your eyes! ) Mix together.

Pour into small jars. I like the 4 ounce ball canning jars for this. Store in a cool dark place.

We use this on the chest or back for a cough. I use it on bites or swollen lymph nodes. I also use it for sore muscles and joints. I use it on the face (carefully as it can irritate the eyes) for sinus infections.

*You can make this with just olive oil instead of oil infused with mullein and lobelia. If you want to make the infused oil, put 1/2 cup dried mullein leaf and 1/2 cup dried lobelia into a canning jar. Pour 2 cups of olive oil over the oils. Put the lid on the jar. Let this sit for 2 weeks. Stir or shake every couple of days. Use an old t shirt to strain out the plant matter. The resulting oil is your infused oil. (You may end up with more than 1 cup. Use just one cup worth in the above recipe.) Mullein is good for cough and pain. Lobelia has a relaxing effect.


~Mama to Many~

Replied by Art
779 posts

M to M,

Thank you for the recipe! I have also had success with the Vicks like products that are sold at many 99 cent type stores for way less than the Vicks product. The ingredients look similar to the Vicks product and seen to work similarly, at least for insect bites.


Replied by Madelyn
5 out of 5 stars

Hey Mama!

Did you know that the original Vick's formula contained turpentine? Yep! Good ‘ol turpentine. I was lucky enough to find a couple of old jars (cleaning out a home after an elderly gentleman died). The jars still contained the VapoRub. One of them was still new in the box! Age didn't seem to have any affect on freshness and potency. Good stuff!

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Madelyn,

I did not know that! Very interesting. Also fascinating that the properties appear to be preserved!

Thanks for sharing!

~Mama to Many~

Vicks VapoRub

Posted by Cody O (Marysville, Washington) on 08/03/2014
5 out of 5 stars

On a whim, I rubbed a thick layer of Vicks VapoRub into some itchy flea bites, and viola, they stopped itching! It's worked for me a bunch of times. Today I tried it on some HUGE, SUPER ITCHY mosquito bites, and whaddya know, no more itch!

Vinegar for Biting Flies

Posted by Karen (Minneapolis, Minnesota) on 04/09/2008
5 out of 5 stars

1/4 Vinegar 3/4 Water Spray Bottle Stopped Biting Flies on me and my Dog. We live on a lake and have lots of flies and mosquitos. This worked great. Good for my skin and my dog didn't have any fleas. Seemed to work on all pesty bugs. Great for horses too although it works better on a rag. Horses don't like the spray bottle noise. I use also when outdoors i.e.golfing.

Vitamin C

Posted by Donna (Port Huron, MI) on 12/14/2008
5 out of 5 stars

We do backpacking in remote areas in northern Michigan where mosquitoes and black flies can make a trip unbearable. I read about taking Vitamin B6 to prevent bites, tried it and found it completely successful. But one time when backpacking with our daughter, I had forgotten the B6 but was taking Vitamin C up to my bowel tolerance level for a specific medical problem. So my blood and cells were full of Vitamin C. I noticed that my daughter's legs were covered with mosquitoes and black flies and in a few minutes, each bite would swell up and become red. I was surrounded by flies and mosquitoes but either I was not bitten (I did not feel anything) or I did not have any reaction. I think that the mosquitoes do not like the high acid content of the blood (I was taking the acidic form of Vitamin C). In addition, when cell and tissue fluid are saturated with Vitamin C, edemas will be removed by the body very quickly. I think this probably is why bites either do not swell or do not last very long if people are taking Vitamin C.

Posted by WT (Spartanburg, sc) on 05/29/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Vitamin C for Insect Bites and Allergies: I had a spider bite once that swelled on my forearm like a half-egg under the skin. I took 3-4G of ascorbic acid, the cheap Vitamin C from Sams club, about once every hour and a half or so. By dark the swelling was down to maybe 10%. I continued overnight and all day the next day. During that time, while in the yard working, I felt something on my arm. I looked down to see a "fireant" biting feverishly the back of my hand. I assumed there must be something wrong with him as I didn't feel any burning. Another one bit me later with the same results. I only noticed a feeling like something was crawling on me. The wounds never swelled, turned red or itched! It must have been the massive doses of C circulating in my blood.

I estimated I consumed about 40 grams of C over a 24hr period. Normally that much C will give you severe diarrhea and gas! I had neither.

I also take it for severe allergy flareups with great and quick relief, though only last for 2-4 hours, depending on the intensity of the allergen.

Vitamin C, Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Victor (San Diego, Ca) on 09/26/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I used to be mosquitos' favourite meal, and I was also quite alergic to their bites: big part of me would swell up and look like a jelly for several days. During last year I started taking vitamin B complex, and large doses of vitamin C (about one gram before every meal or snack). This summer I noticed that mosquitos stayed away from me, even though they got my partner a few times. I am not sure if it was vitamin C, or the B complex. However, I noticed that when a few weeks ago I switched from the acidic version of vitamin C to the ascorbate version, some of the magic went away, and I got bitten again.

Then I made a wonderful discovery. I rubbed the bite mark with vinegar for about a minute, and the swelling and itching dissappeared after a few minutes. I used the unfiltered organic ACV, but I am not sure if the vinegar type mattered.

White Bread and Milk Poultice

Posted by Elise (Stoneham, Qc Canada) on 06/29/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Dip a piece of white bread without the crust in a saucer with milk in it. Place it on the area that a bug stung you. Leave it on for till the bread becomes soggy replace it with another piece of bread. Keep on doing this for 5 to 10 min.

An Indian woman did this to me when I was bit by a big black bug on my lip while fishing in the woods.

Let me tell you, it works.

White Vinegar

Posted by Maatka (Chicago, IL) on 09/04/2008
5 out of 5 stars

White vinegar and my mineral Mud mask did the trick for us. I was awaken at 2am by my 5 year old crying and in pain from several mosquito bits on her finger that that swollen to twice the size. It was itching and burning and I immediately check earthclinic for a remedy. First I applied the vinegar with a cotton ball waited until it dried and then coated and covered the area with some mineral mud I had left over from a beauty treatment, it worked like a charm and now only 20 min later she's fast asleep. Thanks earthclinic, now I can get some rest, at least until the next midnight emergency lol. One more thing, next time I'll apply the white vinegar Immediately after the insect bits takes place, as it takes away the itching almost instantly.

Posted by LORA (CONROE, TX) on 12/12/2007
5 out of 5 stars


Whiteflower Oil

Posted by Jennywren (Perth, Western Australia, Australia) on 02/08/2012
5 out of 5 stars

YEA. My 5yo comes up with terrible welts after being bitten by mozzies. Then he scratches them, they scab, and it goes on for days.

A friend suggested whiteflower oil for the itching. Whiteflower oil is available at Chinese supermarkets where they also sell Chinese medicine. The itching went away instantly! Fantastic for putting on the bites before bed: needs to be reapplied 1-2 twice daily though.

Replied by Pony
Kerrville, Tx

Mozzies = mosquitos

Yellow Jackets Remedies

Posted by Jacqui (Scottsville, Ky, Usa) on 09/17/2012

My husband got stung twice by we think, a Yellow Jacket, was on his elbow, he never came and tell me until maybe an hour, which by then the venom was really in his body, he has never been affected by bee stings, he owned 90 Bee hives over the years and has been stung many many times, but this time he really was attacked badly. I managed to get the swelling down using a comfrey poultice, but he has got bad Diarrhea, I would say all the venom in the body from the stings, I am giving him Ginger tea, what else can I do for him, all I know is the venom has to come out, like he is detoxing it out of his body, what else can I do please, yes I am a worried wife, worried that I am doing the right thing?

Would appreciate any feedback help anyone can offer.

Regards, Jacqui

Replied by Biologist
Somewhere, Usa

Try giving him an oral activated charcoal solution. It will bind to the venom (poison)and prevent the further spread. It will cause black stool, but better than the alternative.

Replied by Sp
Wb, New Jersey, Usa

Hi Jacqui, yellowjackets are scavengers. It could have picked up bacteria from soil, garbage or animal feces before it stung your husband. Years ago I had multiple wasps stings on one finger tip. It became infected and the infection spread through my entire finger and most of my hand. I went through several rounds of antibiotics until one finally worked against whatever was on that stinger. So it may not be the venom or it may be more than venom that your husband is having a reaction to.

Replied by Timh
Louisville, Ky, Usa
2109 posts

Jacqui, in addition to the Activated Charcoal remedy, give the herb Purple Coneflower aka Echinacea.

Replied by Happy
Up The Creek In, Wv, Usa

He was probably stung by a "killer" bee, instead of a yellow jacket.