Looking for ways to treat honey bee stings?
There are many ways to treat honey bee stings. The fear of being stung is one of those things that keeps beekeepers from enjoying beekeeping. Or even from getting bees period.
If you feel strongly about helping the bees, keeping bees and wanting to enjoy your hobby, you need to understand that you may be stung now and again. You shouldn’t be afraid of being around the bees. Even if you’re allergic and have reactions to sting, there are ways to treat honey bee stings that are safe for you.
Important Note: Before any of these bee sting swelling treatment methods are applied, you need to understand how to remove bee stinger. Be sure to SCRAPE (not pull) the stinger out of the sting.
Disclaimer: I’m not a Doctor but I do recommend you consult one before trying any of these home remedies. Especially if you’re allergic. Be safe! For more, please read my terms & conditions page.
Ok, let’s get on with it! I’m sharing with you natural, homemade and medical remedies and methods after being stung by a honeybee. Since bee venom is an acid, these are basidic and anti-inflammatory remedies designed to stabilize the swelling.
In this post, I will include:
- Different ways to treat honey bee stings
- Some of the best home remedies for bee stings according to other experienced beekeepers
- Plus, some tips for how to prevent being stung.
To answer these questions I polled over 100 experienced beekeepers from three different large beekeeping Social Media groups. They were eager to help me and you out, so here you are. The first few ways in this list are ones you can grow yourself.
Plantains are the #1 answer I received when polling beekeepers about ways to treat honeybee stings. Plantain is actually a weed who’s weed looks like a pig’s ear. It’s juice draws out the toxins from the bee venom inside the sting.
Here are a few ways to use plantains for bee stings.
– Cut up some plantain and soak it in apple cider vinegar for a month. It becomes a tincture to use on cotton balls.
– Smash the leaf and apply juice on the sting instantly.
– Use the full leaf as a bandage after applying oils, honey or ice.
Even those with severe reactions have endorsed the use of plantain leaves to remedy the affects of swelling after bee stings. You can grow them yourself to keep on hand.
Here are some natural remedies you can grow and keep on hand if bee sting swelling getting worse affects you.
Herbs & Flowers
Herbs act as an anti-inflammatory for swelling plus relieve the pain. Some herbs to use and keep on hand include:
- Witch Hazel
- Aloe Vera
Don’t use together! Just pick one and go with it. Mix into a salve or place directly on the affected area.
If you have established hives, you have honey and can use it as a remedy. Honey has so many natural healing properties. Who knew it could be used for a bee sting remedy?
Just massage it directly onto the affected area and reapply. You can’t use too much of it!
Since the key for any sting remedy is to slow the swelling and spread of venom, ice is a good option. And who doesn’t have ice hanging around?
Simply place a pack of ice on the affected area for around 20 minutes or so. Takes a little time but has been proven to work and worth trying.
Juices that are base in nature are a good option since bee venom is acidic. These include:
– Onion or green onion tops.
They’ve been proven to neutralize bee venom and reduce swelling. Next we’ll talk about oils.
Essential oils are pretty easy to get a hold of these days. Here are several oils that have been proven to remedy bee stings.
– Lavender essential oil
– Tea Tree Oil
– Basil Essential Oil
– Frankincense Essential Oil
– Chamomile oil
– Peppermint oil
– Coconut oil
Apply these right away. The affects may or may not take a while. If oils don’t work, you may need to find something a little stronger.
Medications & Creams
There are certain medications and creams to apply that work pretty good. I personally use benedryl to aid the affects of my bee stings. Here is the list of some more:
– Benedryl Pill
– Benedryl Topical Cream
– Chickweed ointment
The next one is a little bit more interesting and fun.
Maybe not the most desired remedy but people say they’ve tried it and it works. You can use chewing tobacco and then spit on the affected area. Any sort of tobacco will work but here are a couple brand names listed:
* Red Man
Several keepers also said to use cigarettes:
* Break apart a cigarette and wet it enough so that it will stick to the affected area. Then, apply a band-aid. After about 15 minutes, remove the band-aid and wash off tobacco.
This is not something I would ever do myself. I’m not a smoker nor do I use tobacco, but if you do it might be an option to try.
Other Products that Help
- Baking Soda – The idea of baking soda is to neutralize the bee venom. It’s alkaline, so when mixed with acidic bee venom, should work.
- Meat Tenderizer because it starts breaking down the protein in the venom.
- Epi Pen – May need prescription.
- Mint Toothpaste
- Oral Gel for Canker Sores
- Afterbite Pen or Stick
- Stop the Sting
- Chlorox Bleach
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Direct use only
- Deodorant – but the bees don’t like it so don’t use in the bee yard.
- Activated Charcoal
Lots of different options to try here! My advice is to pick the product that fits with your beliefs and try it. Remember these remedies and products work best when applied immediately as possible after a sting.
The beekeepers I polled also gave some very interesting methods and tips. I’ve included them below for you to check out as well.
Interesting Ways to Treat Honey Bee Stings According to Other Beekeepers
These are all tried and true benefits from beekeepers themselves. Some have been keeping bees for many years and have used these methods dozens of times. And they’ve lived to tell about it.
I’ve also been pleased to hear them talk about the healthy benefits of bee stings. Yes…You read that correctly. I was amazed myself. Here’s the list of remedies and ways to treat honey bee stings you might not have thought about.
List of Remedies:
- Ice + Benedryl
- Smoke the sting right away.
- Fresh Mud – Apply within a few minutes
- Baking Soda + Water to make a paste. Then apply
- Crush an antihistamine tablet, make a paste and apply. Then take a couple yourself.
- Crushed aspirin paste and apply.
- Unflavored meat tenderizer and honey mixed to a paste. It needs to be used as soon as possible after the sting.
- Honey and garlic
- I’ve found that a poultice of ground plantain leaf and aspirin put on after stinger is scraped away, secured with a band-aid works.
- Black tea bag. Brew some strong sweet tea with honey, of course and apply spent tea bag to sting area for 30 minutes. The tannins pull out the venom.
- In order: dish soap (a glob on the sting right away will minimize the pain and swelling), plantain, colloidal oatmeal, ice.
- Put an OLD REAL cooper penny on the sting area. Pain will be gone in a short time.
- Use an absorbing jr. bottle with the sponge top filled with bleach,carried it always. Just take the top off and rub….
- If you keep a salt packet with you, it WILL osmose the venom out of your skin, if you apply it quick enough. Should be in your bee keeping kit you take to the hives.
- Ammonia on a cotton ball, hold it on the spot for 5 min, it neutralizes the venom. Take some Benadryl.
- Plain meat tenderizer paste, drink some baking soda and water to counter act the venom from the inside.
I’ve also been pleased to hear them talk about the healthy benefits of bee stings. Yes…You read that correctly. I was amazed myself.
Healthy Benefits of Bee Stings
Did you know that bee venom had healthy components to it? I had no idea!
Scientists haven’t fully found every element in Bee Venom, but so far we know there are over 60 including melitin, dopamine, serotonin, anti virals, microbials, fungals and a lot more. Some beekeepers are enjoying these health benefits just a bit too much.
One beekeeper even said: “I am currently stinging myself on either side of my spine 30 stings a week to cure chronic Lyme disease, leave the stinger in for 20 minutes than remove, Allow the bees to heal you!”
While I don’t recommend this to EVERYONE, I thought it was worthy of sharing with you. If you’re allergic to bee venom…do not try this! But if you aren’t allergic, might be worth trying.
You have to leave the stinger in until it’s done pumping. Then, scrape it out using a nail or a credit card. If you’re like me and really don’t appreciate being stung, here are some ways to prevent them.
How to Prevent Being Stung
Ok, so we’ve talked about over 50+ remedies for bee stings. And we’ve talked about the possibilities of embracing the venom as health benefits.
But, I know we all can’t get stung. Or enjoy it at all. To be honest, bees really don’t sting for no reason. If you’re asking “why do bees sting me for no reason” there ARE reasons they are coming after you. Understand what you are doing or wearing that might attract bees to you.
Knowing the following can help protect you from a group of bees coming after you. So, here are some ways to prevent being stung.
- Bee Suit – Purchase one here and wear it proudly whenever you venture into the bee yard.
- Watch what you wear – Avoid floral patterns or certain colors (red).
- Do not swat! Sometimes bees are just buzzing so fast that they can’t see you. Just move out of their way.
- Avoid certain fragrances, such as scented soaps, lotions, etc.
- Avoid carrying sugary drinks and treats.
I will tell you that my husband no longer wears a red t-shirt or carries a can of Mountain Dew out to the bee yard. It’s just not a good idea!
But, we’ve learned to adapt to what the bees like and don’t like. We haven’t let our fear of being stung overcome the joys of watching the bees do their thing every day.
Don’t Let the Fear Bee Stings Ruin the Joys of Beekeeping
Beekeeping is such a joyous hobby. There’s just something about watching bees dance and work that is therapeutic.
But how much fun is it when you’re afraid of being stung? You can’t enjoy watching and being around bees when you have that sort of fear. Your first instinct is to get in and get right back out. You can’t learn anything about them that way.
So, invest in a bee suit. Carry your remedy of choice with you (I gave you 50+ options ways to treat honey bee stings)! And enjoy learning about the fantastic hobby of beekeeping.
~ Much Love ~
Stuck on Equipment?
Don't know where to start with Equipment? This was also a BIG Question I had to overcome as well when I first started. So, grab the exact list of beekeeping equipment that I used to get started. It's a printable PDF list that you can print and take with you when you shop for equipment wherever you are. Also use it as you're comparing prices via different equipment company web sites.