A sting is usually provided by an insect and differs from a bite by injecting a chemical that causes burning, pricking or … stinging! Most commonly, stings are given by wasps, bees and the mosquito group, which includes gnats. Less common are the more dangerous stings from hornets. Certain marine animals such as jellyfish and types of coral may also impart a sting.

The injected irritant directly affects the nerve endings but also breaks down cells that release histamine-like chemicals that attract blood into the area. Rubbing and scratching the site tends to spread the poison and make the situation worse.


The best treatment is avoidance and the use of insect repellent in areas of infestation.

Apply a cold or ice compress as soon as possible.

Vitamin B6 (50mg at dusk) may repel mosquitoes and the application ofpyrethrum solution will ward off most insects.

Remove any residual part of the insect or its sting as quickly as possible using sharp fingernails or tweezers. Do not use teeth or suck out the toxin as a more aggressive reaction may take place in the mouth. Remember that certain insects will leave a sting and the poison sacs pumping in the wound.

Stay inside and apply directly to the sting any of the following tinctures: Calendula or tea tree oil for gnat and mosquito bites; Arnica or lavender for bee stings; and Arnica or Ledum for wasp or hornet stings.

If the above are not available or do not work, try applying the juice from a potato by pressing a freshly cut potato over the area. If this has not worked within 2min, use an onion.

The homeopathic remedies Ledum or Apis mellifica can be taken at potency 6 every 5min. The more red and inflamed the sting, the more the preference would be for Apis.

In multiple or aggressive stings, papain or bromelain supplements should be taken at three times the recommended product dosage for three days.