How To Treat Bee Stings

Feature | Focus photo of bee | How To Treat Bee Stings

October 22, 2023 / Comments (47)

Health Preparedness

It might not seem important right now, but knowing how to treat bee stings may come in handy one day. Read on and know what immediate actions you can take.

Don't Panic, Treat Bee Stings the Right Way

What You Need to Know About Bee Stings

There is a misconception that when bees start buzzing around a person, they are positioning themselves to attack. Not all bees sting, and many of them do not use this defense mechanism unless you provoke them.

Nonetheless, there is no harm in being more careful since bee punctures are painful, uncomfortable, and sometimes deadly. Knowing some immediate bee sting remedies will be helpful in most situations.

A word of caution: If you have an allergy to bee stings, seek a doctor as soon as possible.

Bee Sting Treatment

The initial reaction to stings is the pain, swelling, itching, and redness of the affected part. These are not serious threats to the skin and are subject to easy treatment.

In treating these mild reactions, the initial step is to wash the area with soap thoroughly. This will help remove the injected venom from the sting.

Bee Sting Treatment | How to Treat Bee Stings

Remedies for Bee Stings by Sweetree

If the bee’s stinger is still attached to the skin, one can simply pull it out by using the fingernails or a pair of tweezers.

After cleaning, apply ice to the area or drop lavender oil directly on the sting. Another remedy one can use is a homemade rub of beeswax, coconut oil, and honey.

After smearing these on the skin, let it cool off, and cover with a bandage to avoid further irritation and infection.

RELATED: 7 Home Remedies For Healing Spider Bites

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A More Intense Reaction to Bee Stings

There are more life-threatening symptoms to bee sting swelling, infection, and allergic reaction also called anaphylaxis. Effects to watch out for are dizziness, wheezing, stomach cramps, rashes, breathing difficulties, and nausea.

Anaphylaxis Definition: This is an allergic reaction that is life-threatening and very serious. Anaphylactic reactions commonly happen due to medications, insect stings, latex, and food.

Upon the first sign of these bee sting symptoms, immediately wash the affected area and remove the stinger and any other parts of the bee left on the skin. As much as possible, do not pinch the stinger as doing so will only release more venom.

The next step is to apply an ice-cold compress to prevent further swelling and bloating of the area. Afterward, take aspirin or acetaminophen, if present at home, to relieve the pain and antihistamine drugs to reduce the itching and swelling.

Before ingesting these meds, make sure they are given in the right dosages to avoid other health complications. If you are not sure about these medications or lack the needed first-aid drugs and treatment, it is best to call for medical help.

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Here's a video by WaysAndHow on how to treat bee stings at home:

Every prepper or homesteader knows this much, but no matter how helpful and miniature they are, bees are some of the most feared animals for the simple reason that they sting. Usually, it takes two to five days for the sting to heal, depending on the gravity of the irritation.

It will take longer periods of medication if the person is allergic to the venom. To stave off all this pain and hassle, keep in mind that you should be wary of your surroundings, especially when you can hear a buzzing sound.

Do you know of other ways to treat bee stings? Tell us your tips and remedies in the comments section below!

Up Next: Lavender Oil Survival Uses

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How To Treat Bee Stings |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

47 Responses to :
How To Treat Bee Stings

  1. Stuart burmeister says:

    Never pull out a bee sting with your fingers tweezers or forceps. You will be sqeezingin more venom.. scrape the sting off. Then apply ice.

    1. Marion Stephens says:


      1. Kim Clinton says:

        What type of tobacco?
        Cigarettes? Can tobacco? Cigars?
        It would be great to have something on hand since Epi-pen’s are so expensive.

        1. I’m not a doctor, but I can tell you a wad of tobacco is not going to take the place of an Epi-pen when someone is having an allergic reaction to a bee sting.

          1. Anonymous says:

            You are correct. It is not going to take the place of an Epi-pen. If you have an Epi-pen because you are allergic to bees, by all means use it. If you don’t have one, one of the best emergency alternatives is chewing tobacco. Use it till you can get to a doctor. On a child, if you don’t know if they’re allergic to keep down the swelling, draw out the venom and reduce the pain. It will go a long way in calming the child down.

        2. Wuzzy says:

          Plain old cigarette tobacco

        3. cliff ferrell says:

          cigarette tobacco, any type of chewing tobacco or snuff…has to be wet tho or chew a little tobacco or wet the cigarette tobacco and make like a little wet patch and stick to the area

        4. Anonymous says:

          Any kind of tobacco will help. Yes, even from a cigarette. The stronger the chewing tobacco the better.

    2. Steven Campbell says:

      This article provides bad advise. If the stinger is in your skin, and the venom sac is still attached to the stinger, removing the stinger with tweezers or your fingers will result in squeezing the remaining venom into your skin. The preferred method is to scrape it off with something similar to a credit card

    3. Fred says:

      Find some mud or sand near a creek and apply like a poultice. Also an old time remedy.

  2. Jerry Clements says:

    I am allergic to stings from Bees and Wasps. Once a sting on my finger resulted in my hand and arm swelling up to me elbow. About six years ago I was stung again on a finger. I poured white vinegar and the sting want away with no swelling.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Thank you. I always used baking soda. I will try vinegar if I get stung again. Avoidance is plan A.

      1. DannyD says:

        I’ve have also used a mixture of baking soda and water and have used it all my life. And God knows I have been stung enough. It not only draws the stinger up and out it has a cooling effect. I think it is just because it holds the water in keeping it cool but I don’t know. I do know it has worked for me every songle time without fail.

  3. We still have bees? It’s a wonder with Monsanto’s poisons killing everything, human and animal on the planet. How about ending the anti-environmental, poisioning the food supply with genetic-engineering, duo of Monsanto-Bayer?!

    1. OSU 1981 says:

      George, put down the kool aid and try a nice herbal tea. Monsanto products increase yields of crops which staves off famine. Despite activist propaganda these companies are not poisoning food supply, they are ensuring you get some of it. Without modern agricultural use of chemicals there would not be many crops we depend on for food. Apparently you have not seen what happens to unprotected fields when locusts come. Insects have in history been a major cause of famine, and mold along with other decomposers that are fought with chemical agents account for the bulk of what the insects don’t destroy.

      Having worked for the Soil Conservation Service, and being an agronomy major, I think the knowledge my education in this field gives me a better understanding of how these chemicals help mankind and I know farmers who practice modern agriculture and they can tell you they would not be able to produce sustainable yields without Monsanto and other company’s products.

      1. Richard Wells says:

        Bee’ are the main pollinator on plant Earth. Without them man would be on the verge of extinction. So it would be a very good idea to stop killing them off.

      2. Doc says:

        We are losing bees at an alarming rate. It’s in large part due to big agricultural use of a new class of pesticides. Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides used widely on farms and in urban landscapes. They are absorbed by plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees. Recent research shows that neonicotinoids are a major problem for bee keepers. Having kept bees for over 30 years, this colony collapse disorder is new, and correlates closely with the introduction of this clas of pesticide. With no bees, regardless of what chemicals you use, there will be no pollination, so the majority of the crops will not produce.

        1. Micala Molnar says:

          What about the “African Killer Bees” invasion into our Country? I have read many articles and seen several documentaries about that strain of bees that have physically taken over our American Honey Bee hives, kill all the worker bees, drones and the Queen bee, and then bring in their own Queen Bee to rebuild that hive making it an African Killer Bee hive. “That” has impacted our American Honey Bee population more than the insecticides or perhaps the two scenarios have killed most of our Honey off.

          It definitely has not just been insecticides, African Killer Bees are ruthless in destroying Honey bees by tearing them apart or beheading them, etc. If you haven’t seen a African Killer Bee attack on a Honey Bee hive, you should. It rivals the “Attack of the Walking Dead” in intensity and kill tactics. You will quickly see how our American Honey Bee population is being destroyed.

          So are you referring your comments to the American Honey Bee or the African Killer Bees? The African Killer Bees will attack animals, humans, horses, etc. — anything that gets in its way. When they attack, it isn’t just a few bees, but some how they send signals to the rest of the swarm to come join them so the object of their attack is covered head to toe with stinging bees. The only recourse if you are the object of their attack is to escape into an enclosed area. Even going into water won’t work because these bees are smart and will wait for you to come up for air.

          African Killer Bees are a whole different kind of Bee. Our American Honey Bees never stood a chance of surviving with the African Killer Bees hunting them…actually, nothing else survives the AKB’s attack either!

      3. Firstly, I resent your uncalled for and berating tone. Add this to you’re “knowledge”. I’m not an “activist”. I’m a retired “environmental” chemist. I know the danger of these compounds you praise. I know, no matter the propaganda and pay-offs of Monsanto, the carcinogenicity of what they market and you praise. You should write advertising for Monsanto. Seems you’re shilling for them. How much of what they market is GMO seed, more poisioning? So they can cause human and animal maladies with both their poisons and horticultural tinkering. And there’s no reversing direction. The damage is done for this and future generations. You should be pleased.

      4. Eric Anthony says:

        OSU 1981: I think you need to talk to Vietnam vets like myself whose health was ruined by the agent orange herbicide used there. This chemical, now designated as “2-4D”, is now used on GMO crops which are being served up to the public. In buying out the federal agencies, Monsanto has poisoned minds as well as bodies, like yours, with its propaganda and phony “studies” as to the safety of glyphosate and 2-4D. “Better living through Chemistry” indeed!

      5. Margaret Schwarz says:

        Famine? Famine is a myth. We have “refined” wheat and other crops available for famine stricken countries and no need to export them. Let’s be honest. The chemical corporations have bribed the corrupt FDA and infiltrated our media, our medical schools, our healthcare professionals and even managed to brainwash those who work for them; otherwise, how could they remain employed in good conscience. Put down the Kool Aid? I think people should wake up and smell the coffee….organic coffee, that is!

        1. Micala Molnar says:

          Be careful about products labeled “organic”. Many of my “Natural Foods” magazines warn of some fresh food companies that use the organic labels when their products do not meet those standards. So do your research on the companies that you are buying their organic products before purchasing something that isn’t what you think. Just a precaution in today’s world of chemicals…

      6. James McConnell says:

        OSU 1981, you are the one who is drinking the Kool Aid. Monsanto is an evil company and needs to be shut down and their top people arrested for crimes against humanity. You have bought into the propaganda that the cabal and main stream media has been feeding everyone. It is time to wake up and realize these companies do not give a damn about the people. All they care about is profits and power. I suggest you start doing some actual research and find out just how much they and other companies are poisoning the planet and the people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My Old Daddy used wet tobacco as a compress to relieve the stinging.

    1. Anonymous says:

      This is something that works well. The nicotine counteracts the venom

      1. Marion Stephens says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard put yellow mustard on it.

  6. Anymouse says:

    Bleach works wonders. Kills the sting and reduces swelling

  7. John says:

    I am trying to not be negative about this article but I do have to say that most of the information in this article is technically wrong. Because of everyone’s understanding of how to deal with and treat a Bee sting we are able to overlook the inaccuracies of the article. I know you put some effort into writing this article. You have taken the risk of posting it for people to read. That takes guts and I appreciate your effort. That is why I wish not to be negative. I would ask you to review medial discussions regarding the treatment of bee stings and revise your article. Do not take the information that others have provided in non-technical articles as good information until it has been compared to the medial facts. I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings. Please make certain you have the technical facts correct when you write and before you release your work to the public. Please keep writing and working but please make sure it is not hearsay that you are publishing.

    1. I just got here, and I certainly feel you have the right to question anything in this article, but it would have been helpful if you had pointed out the parts of the article you found inaccurate.

  8. Doc says:

    Bee venom is very fragile. If you apply heat or cold you can break it down. A mild acid (vinegar), a mild base (baking soda), or heat / cold will break down the venom. I’m a bee keeper, and if I get stung, I just touch the sting site with my smoker (hot) and usually don’t get much of a reaction.

    I second the first comment about “pulling out the stinger”, you want to scrape it off, NOT compress the poison sack, and you want to do it as quickly as possible, as the whole poison sack will be attached to the stinger, and will keep pumping for a bit, pushing more poison down the stinger.

    A final note: Remember that honey bees sting only as a last resort. The bee that stings you will die. She loses part of her abdomen, (the poison sack) when she stings, and that will kill her. So….most of the time if you just leave her alone, or move slowly away, she won’t sting you.

  9. Candace says:

    Well the person replying John, I wish you would have put in your response what you should do for bee stings technically.

  10. SallyR says:

    In my experience, taking a copper penny, a bit of water, placed over the sting site, held in place with a piece of tape, works wonders! I don’t know why, but it works!

    1. Harvey says:

      I don’t know why either but it sure works for me in just a couple of minutes. Don’t leave this just to bee stings cause it works for wasps, hornets and yellow jackets too. If you’re a guy you will almost always have a penny in your pocket. I have never used the water. If you don’t have tape handy, hold it down firmly with a finger.

    2. Amandah Jensan says:

      Glad to see this comment. You tape a copper penny in place for about 24 hours, AFTER removing the stinger and it works even with those that are highly allergic to stings. BUT, it’s best to see a doctor if you are highly allergic. This also works for other issues like spider bites.

  11. junglecogs says:

    Sounds as we need more ‘bee control’; that will fix the problem… right?

  12. SallyR says:

    What really bothers me is that this article is titled, “How to Treat Bee Stings”. The rerouting of the subject to “make a political statement,” is ridiculous!

    My Great Grandmother raised honey bees, specifically to sell their honey. As kids, she would sternly caution us to stay away from the hives. It was a very long time ago. I don’t remember her using a smoker or any protective gear. I watched from a distance, while she quietly tended to and harvested from the hives. When she came into the old farmhouse kitchen to process the honey for sale, I’d watch her every move, as well as ask her a ton of questions.

    This was a lady who was born in the late 1800’s and had lived through tougher times and worked harder than anybody from these days and ages could ever imagine. When I asked her about whether or not she had ever been stung by her bees, she looked at me, smiling and responded, “Yes. But when a bee stings, its life ends. It is truly, their final effort to do what they think is right.” My response was, “But doesn’t it hurt?” She answered, “Yes, but only for a very short time.” She also shared with me that she believed that bee stings, were very helpful and effective in minimizing her arthritis.

    This lady, solely, worked a 100 acre farm, in West Bloomfield, (Which unfortunately, appears nowhere close to its “grandeur” of 50-75 ago!) until she was 92 years old. And the only reason she stopped, one winter she contracted pneumonia, landed in the hospital for a few days, and her three Grandchildren “decided,” she couldn’t go back to “The Farm.”

    From there, her world began a journey of a downward spiral. She survived to the age of 96. I was present, the evening of her death, and had spent a wonderful day with her, listening to a LOT of her 96 years gained wisdom. She taught me more than I ever could imagine. From that, I shall not waver.

    I’m sick of politics and propaganda! I truly wish that there was a way to turn back the hands of time, to when life was a lot simpler. (And, imI not even “that old!”)

  13. Cj says:

    Do not use tweezers!! You’LL compound the problem. Scrape the stinger off. Wet a cotton ball or tissue with vinegar. ( white or Apple cider) Hold it on the site for ten minutes. Works on most stings. If you allergic see a dr

  14. Dianne L. Springer says:

    I’ve heard of the tobacco poultice from my grandmother. I don’t have that on hand, but I have used “Aloe” for a sting and also “Sea Onion.” Both plants I grow myself and can attest to their healing powers. That and good old fashioned MUD.

  15. Donna says:

    I am a beekeeper. In my first year of taking classes way back it was suggested that we keep a roll-on deodorant in our beekeeping supplies. My bees have never stung me but they did sting my daughter not too long ago. We immediately put the roll-on deodorant on her sting and her pain, swelling,and redness went away immediately. She did have itching the next day that lasted 2 days but her discomfort at the time of the sting was gone. I don’t know how it works. But it did.

  16. When I was a child running around barefoot every summer, I had a few honeybee stings. One time, my parents were out of town, but the babysitter put a mud pack over the stung area on my foot. Worked like a charm.

  17. Candace says:

    I believe Monsanto is trying to geeked the world,but as long as I have enough money I will organic foods. Who wants to take a chance. My Dad was a crop duster and the Navy wanted him to fly agent orange in Vitetim and our family said no. He had liver damage just from crop dusting those chemicals.

  18. Anonymous says:

    What should you do when you get stung inside your mouth? The bee got inside of my can of pop and I didn’t know there were any bees around so when I took a drink I got sting on the inside of my lip down near the root of the tooth.

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