12 Natural Ways to Treat Bug Bites

Non-Toxic Summertime Remedies

ways to treat bug bites

Hello, summer! And hello bug bites! One unfortunate side effect of being outdoors in the summertime is getting pestered by bugs! While most of the time they are harmless, they can be painful and leave you feeling itchy and sore for days and even weeks! But don’t worry… Here are 12 genius ways to treat bug bites! 
There are plenty of over-the-counter ways to treat them… But they are often filled with harsh chemicals. Fortunately, there are some great and natural ways to treat bug bites.
But first, let’s take a look at the science behind bug bites to understand fully how to treat them.

What Causes the Symptoms of Bug Bites?

Mosquitoes, spiders, fleas, bees, ticks.
No matter the culprit, there are certain symptoms that most bug bites have in common. Usually, a bug bite causes a red circular lump on the skin the swells and itches. 
Without going into too much graphic detail, a bug releases its own saliva into your skin when it bites you. Next, your body naturally produces a histamine to counteract the foreign bug spit. This histamine causes the area to itch and swell.
While it is a good thing your body is fighting off the bite, the itching, and swelling cause some slight pain and discomfort
Luckily, you can alleviate the discomfort with our list of 9 genius and natural ways to treat bug bites. Also, consider making a first-aid kit custom designed with everything you need to handle bites and stings.

12 Natural Ways to Treat Bug Bites

1. Ice Pack

It may sound simple, but a common ice pack can help soothe and heal summer bug bites to tackle the swelling and itching. 

The best way to do this without causing discomfort is to put some ice (or frozen peas) in a plastic baggy. Then wrap the pack in a towel and apply it directly to the bite… Or try Boo Boo Buddy. Kids love them!

It is recommended to apply an ice pack or cold compress to a fresh bug bite for about 15 to 20 minutes per hour for the first 6 hours after the initial bite. An ice pack will help reduce inflammation, swelling, itch, and provides a soothing relief to the area. It is also recommended to elevate the area if possible.

2. Honey

ways to treat bug bites

Instead of running to the medical cabinet… Turn to the kitchen because honey has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to help treat your bug bite. When applied to a bite, the honey soothes the area and prevents infection. If you don’t mind the stickiness, apply a small dab of honey to the affected area as often as necessary.

3. Aloe Vera

ways to treat bug bites

Aloe is well known as a topical cure for sunburns, but it may surprise you that is also a great remedy for bug bites. It has soothing properties to provide relief to the itchiness of bug bites. You can either get a fresh plant or buy a ready-to-go aloe gel. If you use a fresh plant, simply cut the plant in half and rub the interior gel on your affected bites.

ways to treat bug bites4. Alcohol, Witch Hazel or Hand Sanitizer

Because of the antiseptic properties, alcohol-based products are great for relieving bug bite symptoms. But beware- it will sting on open bites. To apply, dab a cotton ball in either alcohol, witch hazel, or hand sanitizer and apply to the bite directly.

5. Basil

ways to treat bug bites

While it may never occur to you to use basil for anything outside of cooking, it has been proven to soothe bug bites. Basil has antibacterial properties and also contains a key ingredient, eugenol, that relieves itchy skin. You can simply chop basil leaves and apply them directly to the skin.

Or try combining rubbing alcohol or witch hazel with basil. Here, I've taken a page from Pliny the Elder, who swore that basil takes the itch out of bug bites and stings. Just add chopped basil to 2 oz of witch hazel, and let steep in an air-tight glass container. After a week or so, strain off the basil, and you will have a cheap and effective mosquito bite remedy. Adding basil does seem to enhance the itch-relieving properties.

6. Essential Oils

Best Essential Oils for Women

Using essential oils may be the best smelling and simplest method to relieve bug bites. The preferred essential oils are lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and thyme. While they each have their own specific benefits, all listed essential oils are antibacterial and provide a cooling relief to common bug bites. Simply dab a few drops to the affected bite for instant relief!

This is the most effective Essential Oil blend I've found to keep bugs away!

ways to treat bug bites7. Lemon or Lime Juice

Like other remedies listed, lemon and lime juice contain antibacterial properties. However, what makes them unique for fighting bites is that they contain citric acid. Citric acid numbs bug bites when applied.
You can apply either prepackaged concentrate juice or cut open and juice a fresh fruit. Again, beware- when applied to an open bite, it will sting, but the Vitamin C present in the citrus fruit will help reduce pain and aid healing.

8. Toothpaste

No, brushing your teeth doesn’t cure a mosquito bite. However, applying a dab of toothpaste to a fresh bug bite will help. It serves as a cooling agent that will reduce itchiness. Toothpaste also has astringent properties that can help reduce swelling. White toothpaste is best, but any type you use can do the trick. Simply apply a dab and wait for it to dry.

9. Scotch Tape & Lint Brush


ways to treat bug bitesWhile the tape itself doesn’t have specific properties to treat bug bites, the act of applying it does. Putting a piece of tape over your bug bite cuts of the air to it and prevents you from scratching. The barrier will keep you from irritating it more and reduce the chances of it becoming worse.

Here's a great tip to remove ticks after coming in from outdoors: Use a lint roller to go over all your clothing and then your body. It works like a charm and well worth the trouble.

10. Corn Starch

Corn starch is one of the most common natural remedies out there. You can make a thick corn starch paste by simply mixing the starch with water and mixing well. Once the mixture is done, apply to the bite or sting and wait for the itch to disappear.

11. Garlic

ways to treat bug bitesIt may sound strange, but garlic is a wonderful way to stop painful insect bites. Simply mash a clove of garlic and rub it directly into the bite. The pain should instantly go away and any swelling should be reduced as well. You may mind the smell, but this one is a quick fix.

12. Mud

That's right, mud! Mud is another remedy that is perfect if your bite happens while you're at the beach, on a trail or camping. This all natural remedy helps stop itching and swelling and creates a sort of natural band aid to protect the bite from further irritants. When rubbed into a bite, it brings relief very quickly.

I hope these 12 natural ways to treat bug bites come in handy for you this summer. Will you do me a favor? Please share with our readers any natural remedies for bug bites that you have used with success. And if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to ask in the comment area below.

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Written by Jackie Parker


Leave a Reply
  1. A very useful and I am sure popular post I got a bite the other night luckily my wife had got propolis from a beehive and mixed it with Rakia which is a Bulgarian alcohol 70% proof made with peaches. My wife’s dad makes it in the garden. That stopped the stinging pretty quick. I can see loads of other great cures on your site that will work great too.

    Wishing you a bite free summer from rainy Northern Ireland 🙂

    Sotiris Bassakaropoulos

    • Hi Sotiris, Nice to hear from you. Rakia sounds very interesting and potent! Thanks for sharing and connecting. 🙂

  2. Essential oils are my favorite to use on big bites too, but since i forgot them at home some of these other options will help 🙂 Theres a few i did not know, like garlic! I’m partial to just throwing mud at my kids though 😉 thanks for the info!

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