Skip to main content

Home Remedies for Bee Stings

I am a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful children who keep me very busy. I love technology, gardening, cooking, and personal finance.

Picture Of A Bee Sting Reaction. Compare the right hand to the left.  There is lots of swelling in the right hand.

Picture Of A Bee Sting Reaction. Compare the right hand to the left. There is lots of swelling in the right hand.

My Son's Story

My kids, especially my son, have taken up a new hobby - Bugs! My son decided to catch a few bees to put in his bug house. Guess what happened next? Yep, he was stung by two bees — one on his index finger and the other on his thumb.

He was stung by the bees during recess at school. He didn't even tell his teacher because he was afraid he would get in trouble. Luckily, it was near the end of the school day.

When he ran up and showed me his swollen fingers, I began to worry. He is allergic to so many things, and I was worried that he would have an allergic reaction to the bee sting.

Over-the-Counter Remedies Did Not Work

I took my son home and gave him some Benadryl to help reduce any allergic reaction he may have. I also hoped that it would help bring the swelling down. My son is five years old, so I gave him the amount of medicine that it said to give him on the bottle.

The Benadryl did not bring the swelling down. His finger was still swollen and itchy (from the skin stretching because of the swelling). I remembered that I had a Benadryl stick, so I rubbed it on his finger until it was wet. My son told me that his finger hurt more right after I used the Benadryl stick on his finger. I think it was because the stick was rubbing on his irritated skin.

He seemed to be OK, so I put him to bed. In the morning, his finger was still swollen. The swelling didn't go down at all. Then, he let me know that his finger hurt, and his arm began to hurt too.

I started to worry, since he has so many allergies, that he may be having a full-scale allergic reaction. I gave him some children's Advil to calm the pain down. Since it was his last day of school, and he only had a half day, I sent him to school.

I called the nurse at our pediatrician's office to get some advice. The nurse told me to give him Benadryl and watch it, but since he has severe allergies, I should also bring him in to see the doctor.

That afternoon, I brought my son into the pediatrician's office. Since his fingers were so swollen and he had severe allergies, she gave him a prescription for steroids. He was supposed to take it twice a day for three days.

I gave him the two doses the first day and put him to bed. The next morning, he woke up and showed me his fingers. The swelling had gone down drastically, and his fingers were almost back to normal.

The doctor had also told him to put his hands on his head or somewhere above his head every once in a while to help drain the hands to bring down the swelling.

Home Remedies

  • Honey - Place honey over the affected area. It soothes the pain and is an antibacterial agent.
  • Raw Onion - Place raw honey on the bee sting to soothe pain and it is an antibacterial agent.
  • Toothpaste - Place toothpaste over the bee sting and surrounding irritated area. The glycerin in the toothpaste dries out the venom.
  • Oral Antihistamine - Take an oral antihistamine, like Benadryl, to lessen any allergic reaction you or your child may get from the bee sting and venom.
  • Vinegar, baking soda and meat tenderizer paste - make a paste of vinegar, baking soda and meat tenderizer. It will dry the area and draw the venom out. I tried this on my daughter last year when she was stung 20 times on the leg by wasps (she stepped on a Wasp nest). It took an hour or so, but it worked!
  • Calamine Lotion - It's very pink, but it does work. Most stores carry it in their Health Department. It's pretty cheap and it does calm the skin down around the bee sting area.
  • Ice - Place ice over the bee sting to reduce swelling and keep the itching and pain down.

The two methods that are easiest and that work best for bee stings are ice and toothpaste that contains glycerin.

Why Do Bees Sting?

When a bee feels that it is in danger, it will sting. It is their way of protecting themselves and their colony from danger.

Bumblebees can sting more than once.

Honey bees can only sting once. After they lose their stinger, they die.

How to Avoid Getting Stung By A Bee

Bee stings hurt! I was stung by a bee when I was a child and I can still remember the pain.

To avoid being stung by a bee, follow these simple rules:

  • Don't go outside with perfume or cologne on. Bees are attracted to sweet smells.
  • Watch for bees around flowers. Bees collect pollen from flowers. If you walk in a flowery field, wear shoes or boots. Before smelling a flower, check inside to see if there is a bee in there. You don't want a scared bee up your nose!
  • Be careful when drinking sugary drinks outside. Again, bees are attracted to sweet things. They will climb inside bottles and pop/soda cans to get to the sugary drinks. I knew a lady who drank pop outside and didn't realize there was a bee inside her drink. The bee stung her inside her throat and her throat swelled shut quickly. She was rushed to the hospital where they were able to help her.
  • Use insect repellant to make yourself less appealing to the bees.

How To Remove A Bee Stinger

The stinger can stay in your skin even after the bee is gone. If the stinger is still in your skin, the venom is still being pumped into your body.

Most people suggest using tweezers to remove a bee stinger, but removing a stinger with tweezers could squeeze the rest of the venom into your body since you have to squeeze the stinger to get it out.

To get a stinger out without releasing more venom, use a credit card or similar card to scrape the bee stinger out. Scrape the card in the the direction of the stinger, not against it. This will get the stinger out safely.

Facts About Bees

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on October 04, 2014:

We always had a bottle of this in our medicine cabinet growing up. I really need to go out and buy a bottle. It will come in handy (especially in the summer!).

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on October 03, 2014:

Calamine lotion was what my family kept in the "medicine cabinet" in the bathroom when I was growing up, for all kinds of stings and rashes.

Elvia on May 22, 2014:

Thank you I will no longer have this swelling.

Melanie Casey (author) from Indiana on July 03, 2013:

Thanks Robin! I learn something new everyday! I hate wasps. My daughter stepped on a wasp nest when she was 3 and was bitten on the leg 20 times. Luckily, she is OK.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on July 03, 2013:

I'm glad your son is better! It sounds like he's not allergic, but I'm glad you took precautions since he has allergies. Just as a note, bees won't go near sugary drinks; that is wasps. Bees only drink nectar from flowers; wasps are those pesky culprits that go after picnic food! :) I'm a beekeeper and love seeing Hubs about bees. :) They are amazing creatures! Cheers!