Bug Bite Remedies

By | March 7, 2014

Even if you use an insect repellent  the odds are that sometime you will need bug bite remedies. Knowing ahead of time which plants or common kitchen staples can help reduce the itching, stinging and swelling of insect bites will come in handy.

Bees, Wasps and Hornets


Bee stings can cause serious reactions for some people and if someone who has been stung starts to gasp or has difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately. When a bee stings, the stinger is left behind and must be removed. The safest way is to gently pull it out using a pair of tweezers. Bees, wasps and hornets cause a raised bump that can be red and warm to the touch and they all can cause aburning sensation.

  • Ice and cold compresses are very helpful both in reducing the swelling and relieving the sting, itch and burning sensations.
  • Meat tenderizer will help reduce these symptoms
  • A paste of baking soda, salt and just enough water to make the mixture thick
  • Homeopathic remedy Apis Mallifica is available in liquid, tablet and cream

Seek medical treatment for any sting that does not respond quickly to home bug biteremedies.

Mosquito Bites

The best line of defense against mosquito bites is proper clothing, removing breeding habitats and using insect repellants. However, if you should be bitten, try these bug biteremedies:

  • Apply crushed fresh Plantain; Plantago major-minor to stop the sting and itch
  • Salt and baking soda paste – if you have a lot of bites, a long soak in a warm baking soda and salt-water bath will provide relief.
  • Cucumber slices will reduce the heat that may accompany bug bite swelling
  • Yellow Dock, Sheep’s Sorrel, Jewelweed and Nettle can all be used to treat bug bites and making a strong infusion for rinsing bug bitten areas provides antiseptic cleaning plus soothing relief.

Burning citronella oil candles, incense or hanging the dried or fresh herb in the outdoor area where you plan to be, will help deter mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Chigger Bites

Chiggers are usually only a problem in areas that are dry and hot, and in many locations they only bite during the hottest part of the summer. Chiggers live in the grass and love tight areas including the top area of socks, underwear elastic and waistbands. However, preventing chiggers from biting may be possible by wiping these areas with isopropyl alcohol before you head outside. Avoid sitting in the grass in mid summer and insect repellant may also be helpful.

Chigger bites itch and occasionally can become infected due to scratching, so most chigger bug bite remedies deal with stopping the itch:

  • Apply a salt and baking soda paste
  • A bath in oatmeal water
  • Painting the bite with clear nail polish seems to provide lasting relief.

When a chigger bites, it leaves behind an egg that hatches and causes itching, and in order to survive the chigger must breathe air. To smother the larvae, apply heavy creams, including Vick’s type chest salve or Vaseline mixed with the essential oil of camphor and phenol.

Spider Bites

Common spider bites respond well to a mixture of meat tenderizer and water as well as baking soda and salt. However, the bite of a Brown Recluse or a Black Widow can be dangerous and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

The bite from a Black Widow may leave behind two marks from the spider’s fangs, while a recluse bite may leave no visible trace. All spider bites will swell, itch, burn and be painful however a bite from a Recluse or a Widow will not respond to any home remedies including ice to help reduce pain and swelling.

Common bug bite remedies for spider bites, include: Basil, Calendula or Tea Tree oil or Aloe Vera gel will provide some relief from other spider bites.

People who are bitten by Brown Recluse spiders may become feverish, develop skin discoloration at the bite location and become nauseous seek immediate medical attention for any bite that causes these symptoms.

Tick Bites

Ticks, like mosquitoes, are easier to prevent from biting than taking care of a bite after it has occurred. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into thick socks when walking in the woods, applying insect repellant and wiping the skin with isopropyl alcohol prior to going outside are ways to prevent tick bites.

Should a tick become lodged in the skin, the safest way to remove it is to smother it with Vaseline and when it pulls out of the skin gently pick it off with a pair of tweezers. Save the tick in a plastic bag or small jar in the freezer in case you need to have it examined as some ticks carry Lyme’s disease and other infections that can be diagnosed from examining the tick.

Tick bites can be treated like most bites by washing the site with warm soapy water an applying an antibacterial cream. If the bite itches, apply an herbal cream containing thebug bite remedies of Comfrey, Calendula or Jewelweed.

It is easier to prevent a bug bite than treat a bite after it occurs, proper clothing, insect repellants and removing stagnant water sources are ways to control these pests however there are many bug bite remedies that can be made at home using supplies you have on hand.