Bug bites can be incredibly annoying. They are uncomfortable and itchy, and for many people can become red and swollen. And if you have a little kid in the house, there’s a good chance that some dirty, little fingers will scratch the bites which means you’ll run the risk of them bleeding and becoming infected. And is it just me or do bug bites itch more at night? Bug bites may itch more at night due to increased blood flow to the affected area and reduced distractions, allowing individuals to focus more on the itchiness.
It seems like bug bite itching will never go away. The duration of itchiness from bug bites varies from person to person. Generally, mild bites may itch for a few days, while more severe reactions can last up to a week or longer. Mosquito bites can be especially itchy for some people. The herbal salve we discussed in this post can be a great mosquito bite relief home remedy. Let's dive in to how to make the itching less and shorter with a simple homemade DIY bug bite salve, but first we want to talk about what you DON'T want to use.
The Legal Stuff
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Why to Avoid OTC Antibiotic and Itch Relief Products
There are numerous over-the-counter (OTC) options available for bug bite itch relief, but they often contain ingredients that are less than healthy. So, let’s explore the benefits of creating your own, custom, natural salve for bug bite relief. Keep reading to learn how to use herbs like plantain, chickweed, peppermint, lavender, calendula, tea tree, aloe, activated charcoal, and bentonite clay to create a custom, DIY salve that will calm and heal those bites.
- Harsh Chemicals: OTC bug bite sticks, creams, powders, and sprays often contain harsh chemicals that may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions when absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream.
- Synthetic Fragrances: Many OTC bug bite products use artificial fragrances that can trigger respiratory problems or cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals.
- Expense: Aside from safety, OTC bug bite, itch relief, and antibiotic ointments are far more expensive than the remedies you can make from home.
Homemade Bug Bite Remedy
Using herbs for bug bites is a simple and easy way to alleviate this common discomfort with ingredients you may already have at home. Making your own custom salve allows you to customize and control the ingredients. Let’s get started talking about how you can make your own DIY bug bite relief at home.
How can I stop bug bites from itching?
The DIY bug bite salve recipe below is one idea, but if you're in need of a quick fix, try applying crushed plantain (Plantago major) leaves directly to the bite area. Another option is to make a paste of water and baking soda, which can relieve itching, or apply diluted essential oils like lavender, tea tree, or peppermint (never apply undiluted). Fresh or bottled aloe gel is also effective for healing bug bites. Vinegar applied topically can help stop itching as well. These herbal remedies are great for bug bites and it's a good idea to have a pre-made solution on hand in case you don't have access to these items.
Why does vinegar stop bug bites from itching?
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps neutralize itching. Applying a diluted vinegar solution to the affected area can provide relief.
Can rubbing alcohol help bug bites?
Rubbing alcohol can disinfect the area and provide temporary relief by cooling the skin, but it may also cause dryness and further irritation.
Natural Bee Sting Relief
Let's chat real quick about bee sting relief. When a human gets stung by a bee, it's not fun, y'all. Immediate pain, redness, and swelling take over at the sting site. It can be sharp and intense, lasting for hours. But here's the deal, some folks can have an allergic reaction to that bee venom, causing trouble breathing and hives. Now with bug bites it's a different story. They'll give you these itchy little bumps on your skin, and they can be quite bothersome. You might experience some mild to moderate itching, redness, and swelling, but thank goodness, bug bites are usually not as severe as bee stings and don't tend to lead to any major allergic reactions depending on the type of bug that bites you. Spider bites are another whole blog post.
What is the best pain relief for bee stings?
The DIY Bug Bite Salve recipe in the post will work great but also crushed plantain leaves (Plantago major) also helps draw out the poison from the sting and promote healing.
What neutralizes a bee sting?
Applying crushed or chewed plantain (Plantago major) leaves, or making a paste from baking soda and water to the bee sting can help neutralize the venom and reduce pain and swelling. These bee sting treatments address itching as well. But if you don't have this ready to go make sure you have your bug bite salve recipe on hand.
What are the best home remedies for bee stings?
Using herbs for bee stings is a great solution to those painful stings. Besides the bug bite relief salve recipe in this post, plantain leaves, and the baking soda paste already mentioned, other effective home remedies that are best for bee stings include applying a cold compress, honey, or a mixture of apple cider vinegar diluted with water. You may also make a paste from activated charcoal or bentonite clay to draw out the poison of a bite or sting. Any of these remedies can also be used for bee sting treatment on lips.
Best Herbs for Bug Bite and String Support
Let's chat a bit about the herbs that we picked for this homemade DIY bug bite and bee sting salve. They are some great friends to have in your garden as well as in your herbalist stash of goodies.
- Plantain: Known for its anti-inflammatory and drawing properties, plantain helps reduce swelling and itching. It is a soothing and gentle healer.
- Chickweed: This herb is cooling and provides relief from itching and inflammation.
- Peppermint Infused or Essential Oil: Peppermint’s cooling properties soothe while its antimicrobial properties can prevent infection. It also acts as an analgesic helping with itching and pain.
- Lavender Infused or Essential Oil: Lavender has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Lavender is an excellent all-purpose healer. It can soothe bug bites, disinfect, help with pain and itching, and promote faster healing in the tissues.
- Calendula: A powerhouse herb lies in those little golden flowers. Calendula contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, as well as aiding in knitting together and healing damaged tissues.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil: Highly antiseptic. Excellent at preventing infection, reducing swelling, and inflammation.
- Aloe: Aloe vera gel is cool and very soothing. It can relieve pain, redness, reduce inflammation, and accelerate the healing process.
- Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal works by drawing out toxins and impurities from the skin. This can alleviate itching and reduce inflammation caused by bug bites as it pulls out poisons and toxins from the skin.
- Bentonite Clay: Bentonite clay detoxifies by pulling impurities from the skin. It can aid in reducing swelling and redness.
Step-by-Step Recipe for Making a DIY Bug Bite Salve
This custom bite relief salve is very shelf stable as long as it is not exposed to heat so you’ll have a natural, safe remedy available whenever you need it. Don't keep it in your car on or bag on a warm day as it could melt. Room temperature is the most ideal temp for this salve. It is easy to use by applying a tiny bit to the effected area. A little salve goes a long way and will last you a long time. First up let's talk about where to find high quality ingredients!
Shopping List for Homemade Bug Bite Salve
These are the essential ingredients for creating some fabulous bug bite salve for you and your loved ones. Linked below are the ingredients that we highly recommend and where to get them.
Must Have Basics
- Natural Beeswax, processed in the U.S.A.
- Plantain dried herb
- Chickweed dried herb
- Calendula dried herb
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Metal Salve Storage Tins
- Cheesecloth for straining infused oil
Extras to Add Ease and Simplicity
- Essential Oil Bundle
- DIY Salve and Lip Balm Kit
- Small Stainless Steel Funnels for straining
- Large Stainless Steel Funnel for straining herbs
- Mortar and Pestle for crushing herbs
Replacing OTC's with Herbs
We have dived into the dangers of OTC bug bite and bee sting options and why we might want to skip those altogether along with what natural options their are that are quick and easy applications for bug bites. Herbal oils are simple to infuse and herbal salves a great option for making your herbal oils highly useable and applicable with easy. Salves are a cost affordable way to work herbalism into your daily lives. But did you know people are also craving gifts handmade with love? Consider making a large batch of salve, wrapping it up in cute tins or glass jars and giving it as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. For more ideas on homemade herbal Christmas gifts, check out our e-book Handmade Christmas Gifts! (Good to put to use any time of year!) If you would like to grab this e-book for free make sure you check out our Herbal Studio & Communi-tea where you will find like minded home herbalists along with a library resource of different herbal video tutorials, a library of additional e-books and over 70 detailed herbal monographs. Learn everything from how to make salves, lip balms as well as how to make herbal teas, tinctures, brew your own kombucha at home and even grow your own herbs. I hope to see you there!
Before you go though, I'd love to know! What do you currently use to treat bug bites and bee stings? Would you leave a comment below and share with our community here. We might be able to help each other out more in the conversation below.
Dive Deeper with Tips & Recipes
- How and When To Harvest Herbs
- Calendula Salve (Cream), Infusing Oil with Botanicals/Herbs
- Calendula Officinalis & Calendula Tea Benefits
- How to Make Herb Infused Oils with Medicinal Herbs
- Best Herbs for Skin & Natural Sun Burn Relief
- Headache Remedies & Best Tea for Headaches
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