As harmless as they may be, bee and wasp stings can be extremely painful. In some cases, they can also cause severe allergic reactions that lead to health complications. But most stings can be treated at home, with natural remedies. I recommend using essential oils for bee and wasp stings for a quick relief.
In this article, I’ll be talking about:
- A few clarifying paragraphs about bees, wasps and their venomous stings.
- The benefits of using essential oils for bee stings. Why they work and how can they help.
- Best Aroma oils to use for wasp or bee sting relief. With pros and cons to help you decide on a proper treatment.
- How to use your oils to get instant relief.
- Essential oil blends for wasp and bee stings.
- Facts, signs and symptoms of stings. Plus safety precautions necessary for when dealing with bee stings.
Best Essential Oils for Bee and Wasp Stings, and Soothing Blends
Most people don’t get stung by bees or wasps often. It may take many years until they’ll experience a sting again.
The only ones at risk are beekeepers, or those who work in environments that the bees and wasps prefer. For example, these places can be out in the open field, around blossoming flowers, hives, etc.
Bees and wasps are different insect species, and so is their venom. You’ll get to know more about their description in the last part of the article (with pictures).
If a bee stung you, most probably it was a honey bee. Almost all reactions (local or generalized) are associated with them.
The venom of both the wasps and bees are very different. Nonetheless, they both contain major allergens and hyaluronidases. The latter are enzymes that cause the skin’s hyaluronic acid (HA) to degrade.
HA’s role is to lubricate the joints, muscles and connective muscle tissue. Together with collagen, HA maintains the skin firm, nourished and hydrated. This is why a bee or wasp sting will do some damage to the surrounding skin.
Luckily, HA is replenished by the body continuously. Though with age, this function decreases too.
How Can Essential Oils Bring Bee Sting Relief?
Common bee or wasp sting treatment is based on antihistamines. These are drugs (or creams) that treat allergies. Luckily, nature is being generous and offers us natural solutions that act the same way.
There are a few essential oils for bee stings that have antihistamine effect. The most significant ones are German Chamomile and Blue Tansy essential oils.
They can act on the allergens and produce antibodies like IgE (Immunoglobulin E). These antibodies can inhibit the effect of the histamine, responsible for the allergic reaction.
Other essential oils are also great at soothing bee/wasp stings. They possess anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects. They can also stop the itching or swelling that surrounds the sting.
That being said, let’s see now what the best essential oils for bee and wasp sting are. Make sure you read the cons too. That’s what will tell you if you can use a certain oil or not.
They may be natural, but essential oils are very powerful. They can interact with medications or affect certain people more than others.
1) Blue Tansy Essential Oil
Botanical name: Tanacetum annuum.
- Blue Tansy is one of the few essential oils that have a specific action. That is to calm allergic reactions caused by histamine. Thus, the oil is a strong antihistamine remedy. This effect helps with itching too.
- It also has sedating and calming properties, being able to relieve pain.
- Blue Tansy can also improve the blood circulation in the affected areas.
- It also has anti-inflammatory properties that limit the inflammation and redness. The oil can deal with the local heat of a sting. The heat is released by the immune system when confronting with a sudden aggression.
- It can irritate the respiratory ways, so avoid direct inhalation of this oil.
- Blue Tansy has cortisone-like effects, especially in large dosages. It may interfere with endocrine drugs.
- The oil can also be toxic to the nervous system. It is wise to seek your doctor’s counsel before using Blue Tansy. Especially if you also suffer from asthma, seizures, diabetes, etc.
Why I like it:
Blue Tansy is a great essential oil for bee and wasp stings. It is great for allergies in general, which makes it so much welcomed in the spring. It is also useful in cosmetics, for problems such as eczema or rashes.
2) Spike Lavender Essential Oil
Botanical name: Lavandula latifolia.
- The French hold this oil in high regards for its effects on venomous insect stings. It can stop almost immediately the itching, swelling and inflammation of the skin. That includes the burning and heat sensation.
- The oil can also limit the risk of an allergic reaction and protects against infections.
- It is also a good pain reliever by acting on the nervous system.
- Another important aspect of Spike Lavender is that it can help the skin form scar tissue faster. This in turn speeds up the healing time of the bee or wasp sting.
- Spike Lavender contains camphor and ketones. Because of that, it can also be toxic to the nervous system. However, in small dosages (and diluted) it is a good essential oil for wasp sting.
- Do not confuse Spike with true Lavender (L.angustifolia). Though the latter is also good at soothing bites, wounds and scrapes, it is more suited for skin healing.
- Avoid taking drugs while using this essence. Also avoid using it without medical approval if you’re asthmatic or prone to seizures.
Why I like it:
Spike Lavender smells a bit crisper than normal Lavender. But they’re both pretty floral and herbaceous. The oil of Spike Lavender can also repel insects and bugs.
3) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia.
- Among its many benefits, Tea Tree is a great pain reliever and anti-itching oil.
- It is an especially useful oil for wasp stings, as it can tone down the pain intensity.
- It also promotes a faster healing of the sting by facilitating the formation of scar tissue. This way, you’ll be able to avoid itching and infections.
- Tea Tree oil can also stimulate the immune system to fight the allergens better.
- If you’re seizure-prone or asthmatic, avoid its use until you’ve talked to a doctor first. In high dosage, it can induce seizures.
- Its cortisone-like effects are to be noted also.
- Do not use more than 20% of this essential oil for bee stings in your blends.
Why I like it:
Tea Tree is one of the best natural remedies. It can be used in almost any situation. But it is especially good at relieving itching and burning discomfort. These symptoms may be caused by bee or wasp stings, or they can be caused by fungi like Candida. It is also useful against acne and its scars.
Other essential oils for bee stings you could use for wasps stings as well:
- German Chamomile
- Idaho Tansy
- Palo Santo
- Rose Geranium
- Idaho Balsam Fir
No essential oil is strong enough to deal with anaphylactic shocks. This shock is an extremely severe allergic reaction. If you notice any of its signs or symptoms, go to the hospital immediately. Keep on reading for more details on the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you must talk to your doctor before using essential oils for bee and wasp stings.
The following categories of people should not use them unsupervised:
- Elderly people,
- And those with health problems.
How to Use Essential Oils for Bee/Wasp Stings
The safest way of using essential oils for a bee sting is local applications. Always dilute your essential oils, especially when dealing with insect stings/bites.
The skin is already reacting to the venom and most essential oils can further irritate. That’s why you’ll have to dilute yours into a gentle carrier oil before application. They’re very concentrated anyway. This means that a simple dilution will not decrease their effects.
Steps to Prepare the Skin for a Bee Sting Relief Remedy
- First, put some distance between you and the place you’ve been stung.
- If a bee stung you, you’ll have to remove the stinger. The stinger releases pheromones that tell the others you’re a threat. Scrape it off the skin with something plastic-based preferable. You can use a credit card, plastic knife or spoon, plastic ruler, etc. Avoid using fingers or tweezers because you risk releasing more venom into the blood. The venom sac is at the top of the stinger. It was previously attached to the bee’s abdomen.
- Disinfect the sting with some warm water and a bit of soap.
- Apply your natural, homemade bee sting relief blend.
- If the pain is too intense, you can apply a band aid and some ice on it.
Essential Oil Blends for Bee & Wasp Stings
This is the practical part, where you get to learn how to make your own natural remedy for stings. Regardless of what stung you, the following blend recipes can be used any time.
Aromatherapy Oil-Based Bee Relief
- Blue Tansy essential oil: 2 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 2 drops
- Spike Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
- Macadamia oil: 10 ml
- Roll-on bottle
Give the blend a good shake before each application. That’ll activate the oil molecules. Apply a moderate amount on the affected area, after removing the stinger and disinfecting the wound.
Quick Bee Sting Relief Recipe
- Tea Tree essential oil: 3 drops
- Rose Geranium essential oil: 2 drops
- Jojoba oil: 1 tablespoon
Apply every 5 minutes for half an hour and continue every 15 minutes until the pain subsides. Apply twice a day the following couple of days as well. It can be this blend or another that targets skin healing.
Wasp and Bee Sting Compress
- Compress or cotton pad
- Blue Tansy or German Chamomile EO: 2 drops
- Spike Lavender EO: 2 drops
Dampen the compress, pour the oils and apply on the disinfected area. Repeat as suggested above. All these ingredients make a great essential oil blend for wasp or bee sting relief.
Signs and Symptoms, Anaphylaxis and Safety Precautions
Now you have the theory and some practical guidelines to help you get a quick relief from bee stings. This section contains more interesting facts about bees, wasps and their venom.
Take a look at the symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis too. You’ll need to recognize them when it’s happening to you or anyone else. Rapid action may save lives!
How are Bees and Wasps Different?
A bee is only 1.5 cm long. Its color is brown and can be quite hairy, with bands on its abdomen. Check its picture here. As their names suggest it, bumblebees and stingless bees are also bees. Bees are close relatives of ants and wasps.
A wasp (a.k.a. Yellow jacket) can be 1.5 cm long or bigger. Its abdomen has black and yellow stripes and little hair, compared to the bee. Check its picture here. Hornets are also wasps.
It is very important to remember that if you’re allergic to bee venom, you can’t be allergic to wasp venom as well.
There are very rare cases when a person is actually allergic to both venoms. There are also cases when people have gotten false double positive results to venom tests. A doctor should be told the entire history before choosing an appropriate treatment.
Another important thing to remember:
If you’re a beekeeper and you get stung frequently, you’re more likely to develop allergic reactions.
Contrary to popular belief, if you’re stung often doesn’t mean you become resistant. Try not to confuse getting used to the pain and itchiness of a bee/wasp sting with body resistance.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis or the anaphylactic shock is a very serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. Bee and wasp venom can trigger this reaction. It may take place within minutes from the sting. Anaphylaxis rarely happens hours later.
Local venom reaction is normal. The skin becomes red, swollen and hot, and it’ll also itch. That is not an allergic reaction however. It’s just your body’s natural response to intrusive substances.
So, if you notice any of the following symptoms, go to a hospital as soon as possible.
- Hypotension (elevated blood pressure and heart rate).
- Or very low blood pressure.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Respiratory problems.
- Abdominal pain.
- Chest pain.
- Visual impediment.
What about Future Bee/Wasp Stings?
Luckily, most people will not get stung again for many years to come. The next sting may or may not even cause an allergic reaction. Beekeepers, their families and neighbors however, are more at risk with each new sting.
One does not become resistant to bee or wasp venom by being stung often. The only way to become resistant is through immunotherapy.
Specialists will inject you with venom, starting progressively, with the lowest quantity. This process may take up to three years. That is the only way to build resistance to bees/wasps venom. If you are a beekeeper for instance, you might want to consider such a therapy.
The downside though, it’s that it is very expensive and time consuming too.
There is no way to predict how your body will react to the next bee or wasp sting. Unless you’re injected with their venom under medical supervision, which is not a very common practice.
- There are no real means of preventing stings. However, using the same essential oils for bee/wasp stings could also repel them. In other words, whenever spending a long time outdoors, you should wear a protective blend. Just like you put SPF cream on to prevent sun damage.
- Avoid sitting close to a hive of wasps or bees without special clothing.
- Wear long sleeved blouses and pants, when possible.
- Sweet scents, whether natural or synthetic, attract honeybees.
- Try to calmly put distance between you and any pollinating bee you might see around. The same goes for wasps.
- In the summer, keep an essential oil bee sting relief ready to use immediately.
It’s important to know what to do when a bee or wasp stings you. If you’ve not been stung in many years, chances are you will not develop an allergic reaction.
It is also important to remember what stung you. It’ll help your doctor to administer the right treatment.
Using essential oils for bee stings works great for wasp stings too. You can make a blend and keep it at hand to act right away. The treatment can succeed faster if it’s applied early on. Remember, you have to go to the hospital if you notice anything unusual after you’ve been stung.
How have you dealt with bee or wasp stings in the past? How are you dealing with them now? Does it happen often?