How to Treat a Bee Sting, Wasp Sting or Hornet Sting

15 August 2020

Late summer is the most active time for bees, wasps and hornets as they’ve made their nests, laid their eggs and start preparing for the winter hibernation. Also, as children are out of school, they’re more likely to encounter stinging insects, or worse, disturb a nest. Here are some helpful tips for how to treat a bee sting, wasp sting, or hornet sting.

Understanding a Hornet, Wasp or Bee Sting


Bees, hornets and wasps sting in different ways.

You may already know that a bee dies after it stings. A bee has a barbed stinger that is strongly attached to its abdomen, digestive tract, muscles and nerves. So, when a bee stings you, the barb gets stuck in your skin, and when the bee pulls away much of its internal organs are ripped out, and the bee subsequently dies.

Hornets and wasps have different stingers. Only female wasps and hornets actually sting, males wasps and hornets do not. Wasps and hornets produce a venom inside their bodies and have a sharp, pointed stinger. When they sting, they inject some of that venom into their prey.

Wasp and hornet venom contain chemicals that break down the walls of your skin cells, causing the contents of the cell to flood into your blood stream. The effects of their stings can last for several minutes. The damage done by the venom takes several days for your body to repair, which is why a sting can be tender for several days after the fact.

How to Treat a Bee Sting, Wasp Sting or Hornet Sting

Because bees sting you differently than hornets and wasps, you should treat their stings slightly differently.

The first thing to do if a bee stings you is to remove the stinger. You can usually scrape the stinger out with your fingernail or remove it with a pair of tweezers. This will help any further venom from being released into your skin.

Wash the area with soap and plenty of clean water to rinse away any remaining venom that hasn’t been absorbed by your skin. There isn’t a unanimous way to treat a bee sting once you’ve washed the area. Different opinions include applying honey, vinegar or toothpaste. Applying a painkilling ointment or ice to the area can help reduce any inflammation and ease the pain.

You can treat mild hornet and wasp stings in a similar way. Because wasps and hornets do not leave their stingers behind when they sting, you don’t have to worry about removing them. But still rinse the area with soap and water and use ice or cream to help manage the pain.

Treating an Allergic Reaction to a Sting

While most people will only suffer mild discomfort, some can suffer a more serious or even dangerously serious reaction. Some people experience an anaphylactic shock reaction to a sting, with symptoms including swelling of the throat, lips or face, dizziness or lightheadedness, or even loss of consciousness.

If you or someone you’re with is experiencing more than a mild reaction to a sting, it might be anaphylaxis and you should immediately seek medical help.

Prevention is The Best Way to Treat a Bee Sting!

Bee stings, hornet stings or wasp stings aren’t fun to deal with, even for those that only experience a mild reaction. They’re painful and itchy, and can last several days. For most cases, the best treatment is to remove the stinger (for bee stings), wash the area with soap and water, and then treat the pain with ointment or ice. If you or someone you know is experiencing a more severe alert, we recommend seeking medical attention immediately.

But the best way to treat a bee sting? To not get stung at all! If you’re dealing with bees, wasps or hornets, trust our professional removal services. We offer fast service and guarantee our work!

And always remember …

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