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Natural treatment & home remedies for insect bites

The insect bite often causes a small and red lump on your skin and it can be itchy and painful. There are many insect bites which clear up in a period of few hours or days and it can be safely treated at home. If you did not see when the insect has bitten you, then it can be difficult to identify from what you have been bitten. In the most cases, insect bites are not serious and you should not be worried about it.

There are rare cases when insect bites can become infected and they can cause a severe allergic reaction or spread serious diseases, such as malaria and Lyme disease. There are different insects which can be bite you, such as midges, spiders, bedbugs, fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, horseflies, bees, hornets and wasps. Some people can have a mild allergic reaction and larger area of the skin around the bite can become painful, red and swollen. This usually passes in a period of a week. If you have been bitten by some type of insect, then talk with your doctor before you use some of the below mentioned homer remedies so in this way you will avoid side effects.

Home remedies for insect bites

Home remedies for insect bites

Aloe Vera: This home remedy has antiseptic properties which are making it one of the best home remedies for insect bites [1]. You should apply some Aloe Vera juice on the bitten area to get a relief from it. Also, you can do the same natural treatment using Aloe Vera gel.

Onion: This home remedy can be used as a home remedy for insect bites. You should cut an onion and then rub it over the bitten area. This home remedy has enzymes which break down inflammatory compounds, and doctors are not sure why this home remedy is working, but it works. [2]

Citronella oil: You can use this home remedy for your natural treatment of insect bites because it will help you to get a relief from the symptoms. [2]

Garlic: There are some people who have found a relief from the insect bite by smearing crushed garlic clove over the skin.  [3]

Baking soda: It is known that this home remedy can give you a relief from the insect bite. You can mix baking soda with a skin lotion and then apply it to the affected area. This home remedy can give you a relief from the inflammation and the skin lotion will keep it in place. Also, you can mix one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water, let it dissolve and then apply this home remedy with a cotton pad or washcloth. You should leave the compress in a place for twenty minutes.

Papaya: This home remedy has enzymes which can neutralize insect venom. You should put a papaya slice on the bitten area and let it stay there for an hour. [4]

Bromelain: This is an enzyme which is derived from the pineapple. It can help to reduce the swelling. You should take 500 mg of bromelain on an empty stomach. Also, you can take several doses in a single day. When you have noticed that the swelling goes down, then you should stop taking it.

Witch hazel: You should apply a small amount of witch hazel to a cotton ball. You should gently dab or swipe it over the bite. You should allow this home remedy to dry. You should repeat it as needed.

Lavender oil: You should dab a drop or two of lavender oil on the affected area because it can help to stop the itching. You should wait for 15 minutes to allow this oil to take the effect. If you have noticed that the affected area starts itching you again, then you should apply more, but just 1 or 2 drops at a time.

Ice pack: You should apply an ice pack to the numb area because this can help to slow the swelling. If you have a washcloth or a towel between the ice pack and your skin, then you can leave the ice pack in a place for twenty minutes.

Tea bag: You can swipe a cool tea bag over the bite for some time because it can help you in the natural treatment of insect bites. Tea has tannins which acts as astringent and it can help to reduce the swelling.

Rubbing alcohol: You can use rubbing alcohol as your home remedy for insect bites. It is easily available. You should use a cotton swab or cotton ball to apply the rubbing alcohol on the bitten area.

Peppermint: This home remedy has a cooling property which can give you a temporary relief by reducing the itching. For this purpose, you can use peppermint leaves or peppermint essential oil. You should place the crushed peppermint leaves on the bitten area or you can apply the peppermint essential oil on the bite for fifteen minutes. [5]

Basil: You should crush some basil leaves and then apply it over the insect bite. This home remedy has thymol and camphor which can help you to get a relief from the itching.

Cinnamon: This home remedy has anti – inflammatory and anti – bacterial properties which will give you a relief from the insect bites. You should crush some cinnamon and mix it with water to make a paste. You should apply this home remedy on the affected area and let it stay there for about an hour. [6]

Scrape away: You should scrape away the stinger as soon as possible using your fingernail, a knife blade or the edge of a credit card. It is known that as long as it remains in your skin, this little sac of poison keeps pumping its contents into your body. You should not use tweezers or pinch the stinger with your fingertips because in this way you will squeeze more venom into your skin.

Apple cider vinegar: When you have moved your stinger out, then you should soak the affected area in apple cider vinegar in a period of few minutes. You should dip a cotton ball in the apple cider vinegar and tape it to the sting site. This home remedy can help you to get a relief from the swelling and redness.

Lemon or lime juice: This home remedy has antibacterial properties which can help you to get a relief from the insect bite. [2]

Apply heat to the itch: It is known that heat causes histamines to disperse all at once and it will free you of their concentrated focus on the infected area. You can use a warm washcloth or a hot coffee mug to the affected area. Also, you can rub warm tap water over the itch or you can take a hot shower or bath. It is known that the hair dryer can also work for the insect bite. This natural treatment gives only a temporary relief. When the histamines will disperse all at once, then the itch may come back even stronger because your system now thinks that it has to send back more proteins to the bite location. After some period has passed, the histamine production will restart and your itch will resume to itch. [2]

Milk and water: This is one of the best home remedies for insect bites. You should mix equal parts of skim milk and water. Then, dip a thin cloth in this home remedy and then dab it on the affected side.

Oatmeal: It is commonly used in a pricey lotions and face washes. This home remedy has a lot of health benefits. It makes wonders for the skin. It has fats which can help to moisturize the skin. Also, it has proteins which create a thin barrier which protects it from outside forces. You can apply this home remedy as a paste. For this purpose, you should mix half oats and half water. It is suggested to use steel cut oats because they give the best results. If you have been bitten on a bigger area, then you should put a cup or two of oatmeal into your warm bath water and soak in it for thirty minutes. This home remedy will soothe your skin and dull the irritation which is caused by the insect bites.

Meat tenderizer: You should apply meat tenderizer right after you have been bitten by an insect. This home remedy has enzymes which can break down the venom and it will help you to reduce the inflammation and swelling. You should take a few spoonfuls of meat tenderizer powder and enough water to make a paste. Then, you should apply this paste on the affected area and let it stay there for an hour.

Thyme: You should mince thyme leaves. Then, apply this home remedy directly to the bitten area and let it stay there for ten minutes.

Mud: You can use mud as your home remedy for insect bites. You should apply a thin layer of mud to your bitten area to get a relief from the itch and swelling. This is one of the oldest home remedies but it will help you for sure.

Honey: You may think that this home remedy will not work for insect bites because it is sticky but you are wrong. This home remedy has been used as a home treatment for chapped lips and dry skin since ancient times. It has anti – inflammatory properties which can make the itching a little less tempting. It will give you a fast relief from the itching.


[1] Zareen S, Khan SN, Adnan M, et al. Mixture of olive oil and Aloe vera gel: A natural
mosquito repellent and a skin moisturizer. International Journal of Mosquito Research. 2016;3(4):48-9.

[2] Muller C, Grobjohann B, Fischer L. The use of concentrated heat after insect bites/stings as an alternative to reduce swelling, pain, and pruritus: an open cohort-study at German beaches and bathing-lakes. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2011;4:191–6.

[3] Rajan TV, Hein M, Porte P, Wikel S. A double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of garlic as a mosquito repellant: a preliminary study. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 2005;19(1):84-9.

[4] Chandra G. Aliphatic amide from seeds of carica papaya as mosquito larvicide, pupicide, adulticide, repellent and smoke toxicant. Journal of Mosquito Research. 2012.

[5] Ansari MA, Vasudevan P, Tandon M, Razdan RK. Larvicidal and mosquito repellent action of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil. Bioresource Technology. 2000;71(3):267-71.

[6] American Chemical Society. Cinnamon oil kills mosquitoes. Science Daily. 2004.

Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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