When the Bee Stings

If you have ever been stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet, you know the pain associated with these occurrences is not fun! In fact, once stung, a sort of PTSD sets in and anytime the buzz of a flying insect is heard – YOU RUN! Did you know that somewhere around 3.3% of the population is very allergic to bee & wasp stings? In fact, 40-100 people die yearly from anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is defined as an acute allergic reaction to an antigen such as a bee sting. I find myself in the aforementioned 3.3% which is why gardening can prove to be a bit of a challenge. Every gardener wants bees right? We plant flowers to draw them, allow veggies to go to seed for them, and avoid using chemicals that would harm them – all to PLEASE THE BEES! Bees & wasps have come to be frenemies of mine.  While I adore observing them hard at work in the mornings and evenings, pollinating the veggies, I do try to keep my distance.  The last time I was stung I had what I felt to be a severe reaction but in actuality it was a mild anaphylactic reaction. I was warned that if there were a next time, things could possibly be worse, fatal even. Due to a heart condition, the EpiPen that so many others carry, is not an option for me so I must be extremely cautious! Saturday, even with all of my cautious care, while picking tomatoes, I was stung! It was scary! 20180715_202454 I knew the wasps loved that area but in a rush to beat the rain, I became careless. I can’t say that I saw my life flash before my eyes or anything but there were certain steps that I knew I needed to implement immediately to decrease chances of a severe reaction.  Here is what I did:


  • Benadryl – I took Benadryl immediately.  I keep the capsules on hand just in case.  I drank with 8 oz warm water.
  • Inspection – In my frantic state I forgot that wasp do not leave a stinger, so I inspected the sites for stingers.
  • Hydro-cortisone Cream –  My arm was on fire so I rinsed it with cool water, patted dry, and applied the hydro-cortisone cream to the entire arm.  By this point the swelling was already so bad it was hard to tell where exactly the stings were.
  • 20180715_202601Ice & Elevation – My arm was still feeling as if it were on fire so I elevated the arm on two pillows and applied an ice pack.
  • After Bite – After a few hours, I had fell asleep – the Benadryl. When I woke up the swelling had tightened. I applied After – Bite of which a main ingredient is baking soda.  It was soothing as well.
  • Cucumber – Yes I know it sounds odd but it works.  The next day swelling has decreased but pain, burning, and itching were combating all at once on my arm. A thin slice of cucumber from the garden on the hot spots really helped cool the sensation.
  • Aloe Vera – We have been growing it for some time.  I firmly believe that every family should have at least one plant or have a reputable source for buying it.  I happened to have 2 leaves on the counter so I cut a small piece, revealed the gel and applied it to hot spots.  This helped the itching the most.

Although I am a nurse by trade, I advise anyone to talk to your medical professional before trying any of the above remedies.  These things happened to work for me.  48 hours later I have some stiffness in my joints, especially the effected area, as well as some residual itching however, things are improving nicely – all without a visit to the ER.

What do you do for insect bites? Do any of your remedies involve produce from your garden? Follow on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and share your remedies and stories.