Home Remedies for Wasp Stings

home remedies for wasp stings

Accidentally disturb a wasp while enjoying the great outdoors and you’ll increase your chances of receiving a sharp reminder why it’s not nice to cross paths with an angry insect. Getting stung is no picnic, especially if you’re allergic. With more than 25,000 species of wasps existing in the world today, it’s in your best interest to become familiar with home remedies for wasp stings.

Identifying a Wasp

Wasps belong to the order Hymenoptera, suborder Apocrita, which represents yellow jackets, bees, hornets, and even ants. They dwell in all 50 states. Some of the most common wasps are the yellow jacket and hornet, which live in groups, colonies, and in temperate climates. But, not all wasps live in groups. There are solitary species, like the mud wasp, which builds a nest in the crevices of windows and paralyzes smaller insects they bring back to their nest.

Hornets are usually black with some yellow marking found on the head and thorax. They use trees, bushes and buildings for the construction of their paper-like homes. Yellow jackets display black and yellow stripes on the abdomen. They choose to live underground in nests built during the springtime [1]. Especially beware of the yellow jacket, which is known to aggressively attack.

Wasp on Flower

Causes and Symptoms

Wasps typically sting people and animals when they feel threatened or their nest (or territory) is disturbed. During the months that provide mild or warm temperatures, the risk of being stung by a wasp increases. The disturbance of a nest is greater at this time, as you clean up your yard, rake the leaves, trim bushes, and clean windows. Disrupting a hidden nest can lead to multiple wasp stings as the insects attempt to defend their territory. Other risk factors for wasp stings include:

• Wearing perfume, hairspray, soaps, deodorants, and sunscreen with a scent
• Bright colors, especially floral designs
• Rotting fruit from trees
• Open garbage pails
• Isolated settings, like partially closed wooden sheds

If stung, mild irritation and pain usually set in. Swelling, redness, itching, a local infection, and skin hives are also common responses to a wasp sting. However, extreme reactions indicate an allergy. It is important to monitor your symptoms. Sadly, wasp stings are responsible for 90 to 100 deaths per year.

Wasp Sting Home Remedies

Treating a wasp sting at home is an easy task with plenty of remedies found in your kitchen cabinet, medicine chest and refrigerator. However, if you experience excessive pain, nausea or vomiting after a sting, seeking medical attention is a must. When no severe reactions are present, make sure to periodically sterilize the sting site with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide after trying out one of the following home remedies for wasp stings:

a) Butter Knife:

One of the first things you must do in order to treat a wasp sting is remove the stinger. A dull butter knife can come in handy. Simply scrape it against your skin in the opposite direction that the stinger entered your skin.

b) Apple Cider Vinegar:

Use the acid found in apple cider vinegar to neutralize the venom of a wasp sting. Soak a cotton pad with the vinegar and place on the sting site until the pain fades.

c) Ice:

After removing the stinger, reduce swelling by placing two to three ice cubes in a washcloth and pressing over the sting site. Apply ice packs to the skin for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

d) Tylenol or Aspirin: [2]

Ease the pain of a sting by taking an over-the-counter product that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

e) Penny:

An old wives tale? It is said that the copper found in a penny has the power to counteract the sting of a wasp. Tape a penny to the skin and wait 15 minutes before removing.

f) Meat Tenderizer:

Treat a wasp sting with a paste made out of meat tenderizer and water. Make sure that the tenderizer used is unseasoned.

g) Basil:

Release the natural oils of basil by crushing a fresh leaf or two. Directly press to the sting site and hold in place for five minutes.

h) Tweezers:

Make sure to remove all remnants of a wasp stinger from your skin by using a pair of slant tip tweezers.

i) Aloe Vera Gel:

Speed up the healing process and enjoy soothing relief by applying aloe vera gel.

j) Hydrocortisone Cream:

To lessen the threat of suffering an allergic reaction, reach into your medicine cabinet for a topical hydrocortisone cream[3].

k) Baking Soda:

Soothe an irritated sting site by applying baking soda. Another option is to mix equal parts of baking soda and vinegar to create a paste for the skin.

l) Lemon:

The acid of lemons neutralizes the venom of wasp stings. Apply a few drops of lemon juice or hold a fresh slice of lemon over the sting site to eradicate pain.

m) Garlic:

Treat a wasp sting by crushing a fresh clove of garlic and applying to the sting site. Cover with a Band-Aid and allow the natural healing effects to take place.

n) Cucumber:

Fight the pain of a wasp sting by placing a freshly sliced piece of cucumber over the sting site and hold in place until relief comes to the rescue.

o) Potato:

Slice a potato and place the cut side of one half directly on your wasp sting. Hold the potato in place to enjoy instant pain relief.

p) Onion:

After removing the stinger, cut an onion in half and gently rub on the sting site. Within five minutes, the swelling, redness and pain should subside. The onion also contains helpful antibacterial properties.

q) Mud:

Have you ever heard that you can treat the irritation of a wasp sting by applying mud to the skin?

r) Preparation-H:

Treat the itchiness of a wasp sting with Preparation-H.

s) Olive Oil:

To increase the rate of healing and gain pain relief, rub olive oil on a wasp sting.


[1] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/169324-overview

[2] http://www.tylenol.com/

[3] http://www.aveeno.com/product/aveeno-+1-+hydrocortisone+anti-itch+cream+.do


  • Heather

    I don’t know if this works, but my grandfather told me the funniest thing – that dill pickle slices are a good cure for bee and wasp stings. He also said that if you take the tobacco out of a cigarette, wet it, and place on a sting – the swelling and pain will go down.”

  • Dylan

    Vinegar is a really helpful remody just dab a bit on the wasp sting and cover with tin foil and wait 20 mins before unrapping!

    Good luck hope it helps!…

  • John Bearden

    Clorine bleach takes the sting out of many bites, It work for
    wasp bites also.

  • John Bearden

    I didn’t find a category for fire ants. Use chlorine bleach as
    soon as possible on fire ant bites or stings. Bleach will stop the pain and itch. It will also stop the blister that comes without
    the treatment of bleach.

  • Amber

    Thanks for all the tips. I just want to point out to everyone to please NOT put chlorine bleach on your skin. It is highly toxic and it is also a carcinogen (causes cancer). There are so many effective home remedies that are natural and safe, please don’t resort to bleach.

  • Karla

    One drop of any dish soap on fireant bites stops the burn and itch. It also works on mosquito bites. For bees and wasps, crack open a benadryl and make paste with water and apply to sting and cover. Reapply as needed. The benadryl will absorb directly into the affected area.

  • Karla

    For people like me who are severely allergic to bites or stings, I crack open a benadryl and put in a very small amount of water. Hold this in your mouth and under your tongue as long as possible. The benadryl gets into your system in a couple of minutes as opposed to the 30 min or so it takes if you swallow it. If you are brave you can just pour it under your tongue. The taste is horrible but it has saved my life.

  • Kandy

    Believe it or not, what I have always used for the removal of wasp and bee stingers is fresh tobacco from a cigarette. Take a pinch of tobacco, moisten with water and put on top of the sting site. Cover with a band aid so that the tobacco stays in place. Leave for approximately 10-15 minutes and it will remove the stinger. This was done to me by a neighbor who smoked when I was about 5 years old and it worked so I have always used this method.

    • Karen Blair

      I’ve been using the new sinus packs of tobacco. Not as messy. But we always used snuff from the neighbor growing up.

  • Barb Duncan

    Once while at a park, the only thing I had was some spearmint gum in my purse. I chewed the gum for about a minute, then applied to the sting site. It never swelled, but it did take a while for the pain to go down. I have used Crest Mint toothpaste with similar results. Sting site did itch some the next day. Benadryl cream helped with the itch.

  • Sheila

    I don’t care what anyone else says, if you put some bleach on a wasp sting, you won’t have anywhere near as much swelling, stinging or itching as when not used.
    If bleach is a carcinogen, well I guess I’ll just have to put it on my carcinogen list along with bar-b-qued meat, which I will also continue to enjoy.

  • Ann

    My mom has always done this then when I met my husband his grandmother does it also. First take benedryl. Then dip a Qtip dip it in bleach then rub it on the sting site. When bleach dries put the baking soda/ water paste on top. Then (we always have it made up ahead of time in a baby food jar with the date we made it) 3tbls vinigar, 3tbsp of water, and 2 tbls unseasoned meat tenderizer. put that on a cotton ball and wrap with athletic tape. Maybe this works so well because it combining many of the methods above. We use this for all types of stings and it has never failed to work. We actually have a small box in each vehicle with the supplies and premade mixtures. Since we live and farm in south Texas wasp, fire ants, and bees are nearly a daily accurance. Three of my family members are very allergic so we need something that works and this does.

  • diya

    the best remedy i suggest is rubbing the area with a half onion.it really works

  • Kayley

    My grandmother gets powder meat tenderizer and adds water until it forms a paste. Then it gets applied to the sting. It always made me feel better! The pain went down fairly quickly afterward.

  • Kim Carlson

    Just an FYI: if you are dispensing helpful advice, it’s good to have correct background information. Everything I’ve read says that a wasp, unlike the honey bee, does NOT leave a stinger embedded in the skin and can sting multiple times. You might want to amend your information above. That said, I will apply some of your suggestions to my own wasp sting and hope it relieves the four-day-old-swelling.

  • Leslie Anne Mathey

    Got stung by a wasp at my country house which is sparsely equipped. I found toothpaste in the bathroom and smeared it on my swollen finger. The pain stopped immediately. Made a “band aid” with a paper towel and masking tape. I can’t tell you what brand or flavor it was: I just know it worked–thankfully.

  • Tiffiny

    When my brother and sister (twins) were toddlers, they got into a bed of fire ants!! Our mom picked them up slapping ants off of them while the neighbor ran out with a tue of crest toothpaste and smeared it all over them!! It really works people for all bites/stings, somehow stops the pain and reduces swelling !!

  • Diana

    I just got stung by a wasp today. I didn’t have anything on hand except Purell hand sanitizer. I figured it had rubbing alcohol in it (that I use to calm down mosquito bites) I blotted the sanitizer on and it immediately stopped the pain and swelling. It also fights bacteria.

  • margaret

    take a regular asprin, not coated kind. crush it add a little water , make a paste and put on sting. works every time

  • davi

    Have been stung many times by wasps my mom always put her snuff on my stings worked great stoped the burn and the stining never a sore

  • Jackie

    From my earliest childhood my Mom always put a tiny bit of laundry bleach on bee and wasp stings. It stops the burning and itching and the area doesn’t swell. Works like a charm. I use bleach extensively around the house for cleaning and sanitizing so I always have it on hand and you only need what will stay on a fingertip long enough to get to the sting site.

  • Debi

    We live on horse property in a rural area. When I was stung 8 times in one hand (last year) I soaked it in a bowl of 1/3 Clorox 2/3 water for about a half hour. All pain was gone and there was no swelling. Next day all you saw were little red marks where the stings were.

    Just now i was stung on the tip of my nose (have to say that really hurt) I am holding cotton balls soaked in bleach and the pain is cut in half. Bleach DOES work and will not hurt you.

    Hope this helps someone else.

  • Debi

    FYI — there is NO stinger left by a wasp or hornet. They just inject their venom.

    Bees leave stingers that need to be removed, not wasps.
    You can check it out online.

  • Sharon Lewis

    A slice of raw bacon instantly takes the pain away. I used this on a professional painter when he was stung in his face by many wasp as he painted a 3″ pipe pole that had their nest in the pipe. He screamed that he was allergic and his face started swelling. He couldn’t believe that it worked and so quickly. My 49 yr old daughter just got stung on her foot and it made her so sick to her stomach but as soon as i got the bacon on her foot,she said, “Now I am a believer”

  • Carol

    Stung by wasps on my thumb and immediately put a baking soda paste…this really helped! Immediately took the pain away. I also took a Benadryl just to be on the safe side.