How to Treat a Bee Sting

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Seacowboys, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The pleasures and pains of spring: budding flowers and pollen; spring picnics and ants; beautiful butterflies and bees. Bee stings are no laughing matter. A few people can shake them off and move on, but that's very few people. Most of us run to the nearest first aid kit or kitchen.
    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as many as 40 to 50 people die each year from bee stings. Individuals allergic to bee stings should always carry an allergy pen which contains epinephrine and wear a medical ID bracelet indicating their allergy.

    A bee sting which causes swelling in other areas of the body, like the head or neck; wheezing; dizziness; or a sudden drop in blood pressure are examples of allergic reactions to bee stings. If these symptoms occur seek professional medical help immediately.

    A hurt, hard, swollen place is typical of a bee sting. According to the CDC the best thing to do is wash the sting site with soap and water. Then, remove the stinger by scraping over is with gauze or a fingernail. Squeezing the stinger or using tweezers only releases more venom into the sting site.

    Once the stinger is removed, the CDC recommends using ice to reduce the swelling. Bee stings, however, have been around a lot longer than the CDC. Not to discount the CDC, but there are other tried and true remedies to reduce the pain and swelling of a bee sting.

    There are two commonly used sting remedies in the South. One is a baking soda and vinegar mix applied to the bee sting site. I've also seen a baking soda and water mixture used just as effectively, however vinegar seems to remove the sting from a variety of injuries. It is said to draw out poison.

    Another common remedy that works very effectively is to apply chewed tobacco to the bee sting once the stinger is removed. It sounds gross and it is gross, but it works effectively.

    One skeptical camp counselor tried a treatment using plantain. Plantain is a long or broad leaf weed found in yards and growing through cracks in sidewalks. It's the weed you pull out of cracks in your driveway. The treatment requires you to chew a few leaves, preferably broadleaf, keeping the plant and saliva in the front of your mouth. Spit the mixture on the sting site. It should be kept on the sting site until relief is felt.

    Skeptical, but desperate, the camp counselor found herself in a bind when a student stepped in a wasps nest and was covered in stings. She used the plantain weed to treat the sting and it worked.

    According to, Herbert Luscomb, M.D. recommends rubbing a wet aspirin on the area of the bee sting. The aspirin is said to help neutralize some of the inflammatory agents of the venom. I had not heard of this remedy, but like it a lot more than spreading chewed tobacco to treat a bee sting. Do not use aspirin if you are allergic to taking aspirin by mouth.

    Meat tenderizer pastes are also effective treatments for bee stings. reports that entomologist Philip Koehler, PhD, says the reason meat tenderizer works "is because insect bites and stings are made up of protein - and meat tenderizer breaks down this protein."

    I hope you are not among the thousands of people stung by insects each year, but if you are, you probably have a quick, pain relieving remedy on hand.
    SurvivalTech likes this.
  2. ditch witch

    ditch witch I do stupid crap, so you don't have to

    I use baking soda for ant bites, just mixed with a little water to form a paste. Works every time.

    I have never had a bee or wasp sting me. They will, however, go out of their way to sting my husband. I told him it is because he thinks evil thoughts, and they know it. They see him walk by and scream "LOOK, HE'S THE ONE THAT KILLED UNCLE BENNY!" and away they go!

    The baking soda paste works great on his wasp and bee stings too.
  3. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I use and will continue to use tobacco...
    modernwoodsman and SurvivalTech like this.
  4. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    We have a number of hives and I haven't been stung in years.... when i have been stung i scraped the stinger out with a credit card and used an acid based topical... viniger, tomato/tomato juice, orange/orange juicewet asprin... all seem to work... but bthe OJ sems to invite them to back....
  5. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I use either pure (non-sudsy type) ammonia, or even have used windex spray. Kills the venom quick. I always keep benadryl on hand as in case the sting is in a sensitive area ( from soda can to in the mouth! )
  6. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Guess who just got poped in the calf....


    Tried windex..Good for about a minute...Using a pinch of tobacco now..Much better...
  7. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    +1 to the baking soda and water paste trick. I learned that from a friend in TN.
  8. TailorMadeHell

    TailorMadeHell Lurking Shadow Creature

    Benadryl and Tobacco are the only two things I use. Though did get stung once on the nose and my grandmother used mud.
    ditch witch and Gator 45/70 like this.
  9. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    ccc...Mud ??? That's funny +1

    SurvivalTech likes this.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Don't laugh, it works. The finer the particles in the mud, the better.
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  11. Smitty

    Smitty Monkey+

    Was highly allergic as a kid but have had a few stings in the past few years and seem to have outgrown the allergy. Have had medical types tell me that I'm still allergic just didn't have a bad reaction those few times. Keep an epipen around just in case. Have always used saliva soaked cigarette tobacco to alleviate the sting.
  12. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Nah Man..Mud's new to me...He has to have better mud than this Blackjack here...

  13. SurvivalTech

    SurvivalTech Monkey

    This helped me as I had no knowledge of treating bee stings as iv'e never been stung by one but this will most likely come in handy and of use. Thanks everyone!
  14. if there is a stinger in it I pick it out with the knife point, otherwise I just ignore it.

    it don't hurt much.
    Brokor likes this.
  15. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I wouldn't use cigarette tobacco or Skoal on an open part of skin because of the chemicals in the tobacco. I also don't keep raw, untreated tobacco on hand, so it's not an option for me. I am mostly like Thad, pick the stinger out, wash the area and move on. Sissies. =)
    Quigley_Sharps likes this.
  16. Smitty

    Smitty Monkey+

    Seriously doubt any smoker or chewer is worried about absorbing tobacco chemicals through the skin;)
  17. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I don't smoke or chew but still use Copenhagen on a bee sting. Bee toxin is one of the most lethal poisons around. I have read that you can collect it by placing a queen in a jar with a condom stretched over the top, the workers will keep coming and stinging it... Enough placed in an arrow pod will almost instantly paralyze a victim.
  18. That's what we. Wet tobacco does the trick. The only problem that I don't smoke so I am usually out of it. Maybe I need to get a little tobacco from one of my co-workers, just in case...
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Never know when a bit of tobacco, might just come in handy... for stoking up a Peace Pipe with the local Natives.... Might just keep your Hair, a bit longer.... ..... YMMV.....
    modernwoodsman likes this.
  20. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    A tin of snoose in the BOB isn't such a bad idea.
    modernwoodsman and BTPost like this.
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