Being stung by a bee can be painful, uncomfortable, and downright alarming.
Fortunately, there are several home remedies that you can use to provide relief in the event of a bee sting.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best remedies you can try at home.
Why Do Bee Stings Itch and Hurt?
Have you ever been stung by a bee and experienced the pain and itch that comes with it?
It may surprise you to learn that there is a science behind why bee stings hurt and itch. The cause of itch and pain is a combination of chemicals that are released when the bee stings you.
A common one is called melittin, which is an antimicrobial peptide that is incredibly effective at causing pain—it can even destroy cell walls!
Melittin also causes itching by inflaming your skin, increasing the amount of histamine in the area, which results in that persistent itch.
Other chemicals like hyaluronidase or phospholipase A2 can also severely worsen bee stings because they increase inflammation and the absorption of melittin into your body.
Taken together, these chemicals cause irritation, swelling, redness, itches, and some severe pain at times.
23 Best Bee Sting Home Remedies to Try
Getting stung by a bee is painful, and finding quick relief can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are several home remedies that can help reduce the swelling and discomfort caused by a bee sting.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective home remedies for bee stings.
1. Get the Stinger Out ASAP
Getting stung by a bee is no fun, and quick action is key if you want to avoid any major discomfort.
If you find yourself with an unwelcome visitor in the form of a bee sting, then the best thing to do is try to get the stinger out as soon as possible.
Doing this can help to minimize the amount of venom entering your body, which will minimize pain and swelling.
Leave it in for too long, and you’ll be feeling the effects for much longer than necessary!
The best way to remove a stinger is with a credit card or something similar, sliding it just under the stinger and pushing it up gently.
Be careful, though—once it’s out, don’t press down on it or squeeze it, as this may inject more venom into your skin!
2. Apply a Cold Compress or Ice
Ouch! When you get stung by a bee, it is usually not very pleasant. But don’t let the pain take over. Instead, apply a cold compress or ice to the area.
This can help with reducing some of that pain and swelling. By cool temperatures on the sting site, you are helping reduce inflammation and slow down congestion around the venom.
Who would have thought that something as simple as an ice pack could be so powerful against bees?
Just fill a sealable bag with ice or unfreeze your favorite bag of vegetables from the freezer!
Just keep applying cold compresses or ice until you feel relief, and then get back to enjoying your day outside.
3. Wash with Soap and Water
One of the most effective bee sting remedies is washing with soap and water.
It may sound unlikely, but it helps to relieve the swelling and reduce the severity of the sting.
4. Take OTC Pain Relievers or Antihistamines
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation and ease discomfort associated with bee stings.
Taking antihistamines such as Benadryl can also be helpful in reducing itching and inflammation around the sting site due to their anti-allergenic properties.
5. Elevate the Area If the Sting Was on an Arm or Leg
Elevating an arm or leg that has been stung by a bee will help reduce swelling in addition to helping keep blood away from the affected area, which may help ease discomfort caused by the sting itself.
6. Apply Calamine Lotion
Applying calamine lotion directly onto a bee sting wound can provide quick relief from itching sensations caused by inflammation around the wound site.
It can also protect against infection that could potentially occur if dirt or debris enters into open wounds left behind after being stung by a bee.
7. Use Hydrocortisone Cream
Hydrocortisone cream is a type of steroid that helps reduce inflammation and itching in the area around the sting site.
It’s important to apply the cream within three days after getting stung. This will ensure that the hydrocortisone has enough time to take effect before any swelling or redness sets in.
8. Avoid Scratching
Itching is one of the most common side effects of a bee sting, but it’s important to resist the urge to scratch it.
Doing so can cause further irritation and even infection in some cases.
Instead, try applying cold compresses or ice packs directly onto the affected area—this will provide temporary relief from itching while helping reduce inflammation and redness at the same time.
9. Use Honey
Honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that help promote healing and reduce inflammation when applied topically on a bee sting site.
To use honey as a home remedy for bee stings, simply apply a generous amount directly onto the affected area several times throughout the day until symptoms subside. You should start seeing results within 24 hours!
10. Try Baking Soda
Baking soda paste is one of the most popular home remedies for bee stings because it has anti-inflammatory properties.
To make the paste, mix two teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to create a thick paste.
Apply the paste directly to the affected area and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with cold water. This should help reduce swelling and pain associated with the bee sting.
11. Put Some Toothpaste On It
Applying toothpaste is one of the most popular home remedies for bee stings because it helps to reduce the pain and itching associated with the sting.
The menthol in toothpaste has a cooling effect on the skin, which helps to reduce the discomfort from a bee sting.
Simply apply a dab of toothpaste directly on the sting and leave it for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.
12. Give White or Apple Cider Vinegar a Try
A vinegar compress is also an effective remedy for bee stings because vinegar has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that can reduce swelling and irritation around the sting site.
To make this compress, soak a cloth in white or apple cider vinegar, then apply it directly to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time over several hours until symptoms subside.
The vinegar compress should help reduce swelling and pain caused by a bee sting quickly and effectively.
13. Make An Aspirin Paste
Another great remedy for bee stings is an aspirin paste. Aspirin contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling around the sting site.
To make an aspirin paste, simply mix crushed aspirin tablets with just enough water to form a thick paste.
Apply this directly onto your skin and leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
14. Use Aloe Vera
Applying aloe vera gel directly to the sting site can provide instant relief from itching and burning sensations caused by inflammation around the wound site.
Aloe vera is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and swelling in addition to providing immediate relief from discomfort caused by bee stings.
15. Dab Some Witch Hazel On the Sting
Witch hazel is another popular remedy for reducing inflammation caused by bee stings.
Simply dab some witch hazel onto the affected area and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.
This will help to soothe any itching or burning sensations caused by the sting while also helping to reduce swelling around the area as well.
16. Use Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce swelling and irritation from bee stings as well as other insect bites too!
Simply apply 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil directly onto your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing away with cold water. You should start feeling some relief shortly afterward!
17. Use Thyme Oil
Thyme oil has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for treating bee stings.
To use, simply apply a few drops of thyme oil to the affected area.
You can also add a few drops of thyme oil to a cup of boiling water and inhale the vapors to help reduce swelling and pain.
18. Try Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another great option for treating bee stings. Like thyme oil, it has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
To use, apply a few drops of tea tree oil to the affected area. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cup of boiling water and inhale the vapors to help reduce swelling and pain.
19. Use Calendula Cream
Calendula cream is a topical ointment that can be used to treat bee stings (and other skin irritations).
It’s made from the flower petals of the calendula plant and is rich in compounds that have anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
To use, simply apply a generous amount of calendula cream to the affected area. Repeat as needed until the pain and swelling subside.
20. Give Rosemary Oil a Try
Rosemary oil is another option worth considering for treating bee stings. Like thyme oil and tea tree oil, it has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
To use, apply a few drops of rosemary oil to the affected area. You can also add a few drops of rosemary oil to a cup of boiling water and inhale the vapors to help reduce swelling and pain.
21. Try Using a Meat Tenderizer to Soothe the Itch
One potential remedy for a bee sting is a meat tenderizer. The enzymes in meat tenderizers can reduce itchiness and swelling from a bee sting by breaking down proteins found in the venom.
To use this method, mix 1 teaspoon of meat tenderizer with 1 teaspoon of water to form a paste and then apply it to the affected area.
Leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
22. Give Coconut Oil a Go
Another option is to try coconut oil since its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce swelling and irritation from a bee sting.
To use this method, simply apply some coconut oil directly onto the affected area as needed until you find relief from your symptoms.
23. Don’t Forget About Activated Charcoal
Finally, activated charcoal could be another potential solution if you’re looking for natural home remedies for bee stings.
Activated charcoal has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce pain and discomfort caused by stinging insects like bees or wasps.
To use this method, mix equal parts activated charcoal powder and water into a paste and then apply it to the affected area as needed throughout the day until your symptoms start to subside.
When to See a Doctor for a Bee Sting
Getting stung by a bee can be painful and may even lead to an allergic reaction that requires medical attention. But how do you know when it’s time to call your doctor?
Being stung by a bee usually causes immediate pain and swelling, but typically these symptoms are minor and will go away within a few hours.
However, if the pain or swelling is severe and lasts more than 24 hours, then it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Severe reactions are usually caused by an allergic reaction to the venom in the bee’s sting and may require treatment with antihistamines or steroids.
Having difficulty breathing after being stung by a bee could be due to anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening reaction that requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the tongue or throat, dizziness or confusion, nausea or vomiting, and rapid heart rate.
If you experience any of these symptoms after being stung by a bee, call 911 right away as this could be fatal if not treated promptly.
If you were stung multiple times and begin to experience any of the above symptoms, then it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Multiple bee stings can increase your risk of having an allergic reaction because there is more venom entering your body at once.
Bee Sting Home Remedies: Final Thoughts
Bee stings are painful, but there are several home remedies you can use to provide quick relief from the discomfort associated with them.
Baking soda paste, essential oils like tea tree oil or lavender oil, or even a vinegar compress are all effective ways to reduce inflammation and pain associated with bee stings without having to resort to using over-the-counter medications or other treatments.
Of course, if symptoms do not improve or if they worsen after trying any of these remedies, you should seek medical attention right away. Feel better soon!