7 Ways to Treat Bug Bites (Slideshow)


Summer is nearly here, which means family vacations, fun in the sun – and plenty of creeping, crawling, buzzing bugs. During the summer season, bug bites are almost inevitable, but they’ll hardly be a concern with these quick, easy and effective home remedies. Click through to check out some the most useful treatments for bug bites and stings.

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1. Essential Oils.

Essential oils are one of your best bets against bug bites. The best ones to use? Lavender, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Basil and Thyme oil.  Just apply one to two drops directly onto the affected areas a few times a day, and the bites should vanish in no time.

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2. Ice.

Sometimes, the simplest remedies can be the most effective. An ice pack or ice cube applied directly to an insect bite will both numb the pain and reduce inflammation. Ice is an easy solution that also combines well with any of the other treatments on this list.

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3. Vinegar.

Is there anything that vinegar can’t do? A couple of drops applied to bug bites will relieve itching and help the bites heal faster. Don’t worry about using fancy artisanal varieties – plain old white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work just fine.

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4. Baking Soda.

Baking soda is another classic home remedy for bug bites. Just mix up a paste of baking soda and water and rub it on the bites. Leave the paste on for 30 minutes to an hour, and then wash it off with warm water.

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5. Toothpaste.

Toothpaste is a well-known remedy for zits, but it’s also great for insect bites. A bit of toothpaste applied to a sting will help reduce irritation almost immediately. Mint and peppermint flavors are usually the most effective for combating bug bites.

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6. Mouthwash.

Who would have guessed another helpful home remedy for bug bites is sitting right next to your toothpaste? Just soak a cotton ball in mouthwash and dab it on the bites, and you should experience almost immediate relief. Most mouthwash is also antiseptic, which will prevent bites from becoming infected.

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7. Mud.

It may not be the most appealing option, but mud is an age-old remedy for insect bites. If you’re stuck outdoors with no access to other cures, a bit of dirt of water mixed together and applied directly to the bites can work wonders. As the mud dries, it relieves irritation and reduces swelling.

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Jake B.
Past Member 3 years ago

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Past Member 3 years ago

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.3 years ago

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Catherine A.
Past Member 3 years ago

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Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


Gina Denholm
Gina Denholm5 years ago

Very useful info - bugs always seem to make a beeline for me lol.... TYVM

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se5 years ago


pam w.
pam w5 years ago

Meat tenderizer, rubbed into dampened skin.....works quickly! (Use the unseasoned type...it smells better.)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago

Many thanks for this :)

Christie C.
Christie C5 years ago

Lavender oil works for just about everything. Mud definitely works on bee stings. Thanks Anna B. for the reminder about plantain- there are no weeds in my world; they all have a use, or 10!

If you're prone to allergies or want to play it safe, mix lavender essential oil into another oil, like coconut or olive, so it won't irritate the skin. It's safe to use undiluted, but if you're itching like mad, you don't want to risk getting a rash on top of it! I like to add other skin nourishing oils, rose water and aloe vera gel, too.

I'd stay away from toothpaste and mouthwash- they are usually registered drugs for starters, and not for topical use. Also, few of them contain any real mint, but instead "natural flavors" derived from petroleum. And, I wouldn't recommend using peppermint oil on irritated skin; it's very strong!