Natural Remedies for Insect Bites

DIY home remedies for itch relief - aloe vera

We are quickly entering the height of bug season, when many of us are plagued by bites that can ruin an otherwise enjoyable evening.  There are plenty of effective bug sprays and lotions available, but some homeowners have declared all-out war on mosquitos, hiring pest companies to spray and fog their yards.  Unfortunately, the chemicals they use often kill the beneficial insects too, causing some scientists to blame them for the recent drop in butterfly and bee populations.  Citronella candles, patio smokers, and even fans or misters can be just as effective, without the long-term side-effects to the environment.  

But, no matter what protections you put in place, you are going to get bitten if you spend time outdoors this summer.  In order to ease your pain and suffering, there are some great home remedies available that can reduce the itching and swelling. 

  • Aloe Vera – The same gel that you use for sunburn is also great for bug bites.  You can even grow this plant yourself, and the leaves or stalks are filled with fresh gel inside.  These can be cracked open and the gel rubbed directly on the affected area. 
  • Essential oils – Just a drop or two of essential oils in cold water can provide relief.  Lavender, tea tree, rose, and chamomile can be placed in a bowl and applied with a wash cloth or cotton pad.  For bites all over, add them directly to a warm bath.
  • Baking soda – This stuff is cheap, readily available, and has a lot of uses, so keep some handy in your kitchen at all times.  Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in water to make a paste, which you can apply to the bite and cover with a bandage or compress.
  • Plantain – You may need to look this one up online to see it firsthand, but it is a common weed that has been used for years as a native folk medicine for insect bites, cuts and bruises.  You take a fresh leaf or two, chew them up, and apply the mash directly to the area to relieve the pain and swelling and start the healing process. 
  • Oatmeal – This is another remedy that has been around for a long while.  You need to grind up the oatmeal first into a powder using a coffee grinder, blender or food processor.  Then you can make it into a paste for spot treatments or add it to a bath for a soak.  Some people then add milk or essential oils too. 

All of the above remedies are great for any type of skin inflammations, from rashes to sunburn to poison ivy.  Of course, if these solutions don’t do the trick, please don’t hesitate to see your doctor.  The key point is don’t let the bugs keep you from doing what you want outdoors.  Don’t forget to take some bug spray or lotion with you, because it’s better to not get bitten in the first place.  But if you do, these home remedies should provide some relief.

Enjoy your summer!