10 Easy Home Remedies for Bug Bites
Bug bites are often more annoying than dangerous. They may itch, ache, burn or sting. Luckily, there are many easy home remedies for bug bites. Here are 10 you can try the next time you get bitten.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Aloe Vera Gel
This gel, from the aloe vera plant, soothes inflamed skin and also serves as a moisturizer. It also may help insect bites from becoming infected, since aloe vera extract has antibacterial properties. Dab some gel on the irritated site and let dry. You can purchase the gel or obtain it directly from an aloe vera plant by breaking off a small piece. The gel is inside!
The next time you’re shopping for pesto ingredients, grab a little extra basil. Chopped up fine, it can be rubbed over mosquito bites to reduce itchiness. You can also make dried basil into a rub by combining a half-ounce with two cups of hot water. Let the mixture steep until cool, then apply to your bites. Keep your basil fresh using this storage technique so you’ll always have some when you need it.
Chamomile is a popular tea. But, it’s also commonly used to treat many ailments, such as bug bites. That’s because the tea reduces inflammation and irritation. It may even speed healing, too. To treat a bite, steep a tea bag in cold water for 30 minutes, then apply the tea bag to the affected site.
There is a wide variety of essential oils that make easy home remedies for bug bites. Soothing lavender oil, for example, relieves pain from spider bites and bee stings. Mint oils have cooling properties and—bonus!—may keep insects at bay. These oils are especially useful for painful fire-ant bites. Essential oils are generally not applied directly to the skin, but are mixed into sprays or balms, or used in baths.
Honey isn’t just for toast or tea. Honey is an anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial properties, so it’s also a useful home remedy for bug bites. Dab a small amount on stings or bites to reduce redness, swelling and itching. But use it only when you’re inside so it doesn’t attract more insects.
Don’t overlook ice as a great, easy way to get relief from painful insect bites. Ice numbs skin and reduces inflammation, providing both short- and long-term relief. But never apply ice directly to your skin or leave an ice pack on for an extended period time, as that can damage your skin.
Lemon or Lime Juice
Try applying a little bit of lemon or lime juice to ant bites to reduce the pain and discomfort. The juices also work well on removing the itch from mosquito bites. But take caution. Don’t apply lemon or lime juice to bites you’ve scratched, or the juice will sting. And don’t sit in the sun after applying, as the juices may lead to sunburn.
Taking an oatmeal bath has long been an easy way to sooth the angry, itchy skin that often results from bug bites. So if you’re covered in bites from mosquitoes, flies or ants, sprinkle a cup of oatmeal into a tub of water, then soak for 20 minutes. You can also combine oatmeal and water into a paste, then place it on individual bites or stings.
Onions of any variety, and their juices, may help reduce the pain and irritation from some bug bites. This root veggie may also reduce the risk of an infection from the bite, thanks to its antifungal properties. Simply cut a slice and apply it to the bite for several minutes. Wash the area afterward.
Witch hazel contains tannins, which act as astringents when applied to the skin. Since astringents can cleanse skin irritants, reduce inflammation and have anti-bacterial benefits, they’re great to apply to insect bites. Witch hazel is found in grocery stores and pharmacies. Pour some on a cotton ball and pat on bites. Let dry and reapply as needed.