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Natural Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings

Insect bites are a nuisance that we have to deal with regularly. Sometimes they turn out to be much more. All bites, from ants to spiders, can cause serious reactions to our bodies. The bite is not what causes the issues; it is the venom that is left in the wound that causes adverse reactions. With early care you may be able to keep that nuisance from being today’s emergency room visit.

When stung or bitten by an insect, the area around the bite becomes inflamed and painful with itching or burning. If these symptoms are accompanied with shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, disorientation, or swelling of mouth and eyes, the victim is allergic to the insect venom. In these cases you should seek medical help immediately, as severe allergic reactions can result in death.

Luckily, most bug bites are not that serious. Hundreds of insects can sting or bite us, but God has given us a vast array of herbal treatments that can reduce itching and swelling and even some that are natural repellants.

Basic Care:

  • If you have been stung, remove the stinger. Don’t squeeze it; this will release more venom.
  • Clean the area. Hydrogen peroxide is the best antiseptic for cleansing bites.
  • Elevation – If you are bitten or stung in the arm or leg, elevate the extremity above heart to reduce swelling.
  • Apply cold water and/or ice to the bite or sting to relieve swelling.
  • Mosquito bites only – Squeeze and release repeatedly to disperse the toxin.
  • Drink well – Dehydration may magnify bite reactions, so staying well hydrated before and during outdoor activity is best.

Home Remedies:

  • Dried basil – To relieve the itching and swelling of spider bites, rub a pinch of basil into the wound until it resembles fine sand.
  • Turmeric and olive oil – Make a paste of these to relieve the pain, swelling, and redness of spider bites. Apply directly to the wound to draw out poison. This remedy can be used two to three times in a seven-day period.
  • Aspirin – Soak an aspirin tablet in a bit of distilled water to form a paste. Apply to a spider bite to alleviate pain and itching.
  • Tea tree oil – Apply directly to the wound. It numbs and sterilizes instantly and has been shown to work on bee stings, spider bites, fleabites, and mite bites.
  • Crush plantain leaves, extracting the juice. Apply the juice and leaves to the wound.
  • Apply toothpaste (not gel) to the wound. This will draw out the venom.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water (three parts soda to one part water) and apply to the wound. This will draw out poison.
  • Apply a slice of raw onion on a bite to discourage infection and draw out poison.
  • Pack insect bites with table sugar to prevent scarring.
  • Apply lavender oil to bites to reduce swelling and itching.
  • Apis mallifica – This homeopathic remedy reduces inflammation, pain, burning and stinging.
  • Cantharis – This homeopathic remedy is good for wasp and bee stings.
  • Uritca urens relieves itching and burning
  • Homemade insect bite lotion – Combine one teaspoon lavender oil and one tablespoon olive oil. Apply to bites, but avoid using around eyes.
  • Homemade poultice – Combine one tablespoon Echinacea tincture, one tablespoon distilled water, and 1/8 teaspoon lavender essential oil. Add mixture slowly to one tablespoon of bentonite clay. Apply to affected area. Store the poultice in a container with tight lid; if it dries out, add a little more distilled water to make it moist enough to stick to skin.
  • Break two or three leaves of jewelweed and apply juice to the injured area. Works well on ant bites.
  • Mix one teaspoon yellowdock leaf tincture with two teaspoons baking soda to make a paste. Apply to bites to neutralize poison; repeat as needed.

Bite Prevention:

  • WD-40 – Spray around windows, surfaces of screens, and doorframes to prevent insects from gaining entrance to your home.
  • Essential oils – Eucalyptus, citronella, catnip, and basil all repel insects. Many use a combination of eucalyptus and citronella effectively.
  • Yarrow and tansy-infused oil – If you know how to make herb-infused oils, give these a try. (Only use externally). Learn to make infused oils here.
  • Location – Stay in the breeze. Mosquitoes only fly eight miles per hour; it doesn’t take much to waft them away. Choose sunny location. Mosquitoes dehydrate easily, so they stay in shaded and low areas that are humid.
  • Clothing – Wear loose fitting clothes to keep mosquitoes from getting through to your skin. Earth tones are best, as they will disguise you in wooded areas – green is best, with brown a close second. White masks your silhouette in the open. Blue is the worst; mosquitoes mistake it for a flowering plant. Red will also draw their interest as well as the interest of other insects. Air out outdoor clothing so it doesn’t retain attractive odors.
  • Movement – Go slowly and remain calm. The more you sweat, breathe, and move, the more mosquitoes will be attracted.
  • Diet – Eat raw garlic. The essence leaches from pores, masking normal body odors. Eat and drink things indigenous to your area. You will smell like you belong. Avoid stimulants and sugar. They increase your metabolism, making you a much more inviting meal to feast on.
  • Oil the skin – Mosquitoes do not like oil on their wings, so they will avoid you. Use aromatic oils like cedar, crushed orange peel, onion, or garlic. Give more attention to the warmest, leanest parts of your body, like your neck, arms, armpits, and ears – wherever blood vessels are close to the surface.
  • Time – Choose to be out and about at midday or after dark. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Choose a cool day rather than a hot one, a sunny day over a cloudy one, and a day with low humidity over high humidity.
  • When camping – Welcome dragonflies. They can consume their weight in half an hour and will fly miles for a meal. They can spot mosquitoes fifty feet away. Build a smudge fire to create a cool, dense, low-hanging smoke. When smoke hangs on the air, mosquitoes don’t hang around.
  • Brush mosquitoes off – don’t slap. Mosquitoes take several seconds after landing to bite. A continuous, sweeping motion will keep them from snacking, at least temporarily.

Remember, before treating any bites or stings, always seek advice from a doctor or other health professional. Don’t let the bugs bite!


Tips From Tamarack –

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