How to Soothe a Bee or Wasp Sting


Summer is here and those damn little insects with stingers are all around. Bees and wasps are two of the worst variants, providing a respectable amount of PPS (pain per sting).

While these two insects certainly account for the majority of stings given, there are many other worrisome-winged attackers to be on the lookout for, such as yellow jackets, yellow hornets, honeybees and bumblebees. Killer bees are the worst of the bunch, stinging you when you come anywhere near their nests and they’ll do so multiple times.

So what’s the best way to soothe a good stinger and not let it ruin the rest of your day? Here’s an easy way to remedy your problem and remember what to do when you need to do it.

First on your checklist.. Closely investigate the sting for a stinger and venom sac, which will resemble a tiny bag, if you have one at all. If you find one, you’ve likely been stung by a honeybee.

Don’t mash down! Another no-no is to squeeze the skin around the area. This could actually allow more poison to leak into your blood. Instead, lightly scrape the sac away with a credit card. Remove the stinger if you see it.

After removing the poisonous material, place an ice-cube directly on the wound for a couple minutes. Consume an antihistamine at this time to minimize itching and swelling. Benadryl works great.

Ammonia is the best way to soothe a bee sting and vinegar is best for a wasp sting. A good way to remember this is to use letter recall. Ammonia for Bees or Vinegar for Wasps. A for B and V for W. Since the letters both immediately follow each other, it makes for easy memorization.

When you get stung, you also get a proportion of acidic venom. Ammonia is alkaline. Venom toxin becomes quite ineffective when an alkaline is applied to the equation.

Slap on a band-aid and you’re ready to get back outdoors and finish your barbecue.

You might consider changing those shorts though. Bees are drawn to bright, flowery colors. Try white, blue or pink. Bees don’t really care for these colors and that makes for a much more enjoyable summer day.

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