Written by Stacy K, Contributing Writer

Summer is a time for fun and sunshine. Unfortunately, this wonderful season often includes bites and stings from various bugs and insects.

Today I’d like to share a few home remedies to help you treat bug bites naturally:


The easiest way to deal with bug bites is not to get them in the first place! Most commercial insect repellants contain DEET, which is a very strong chemical I don’t care to put on  my skin or the skin of my sweet babies. Thankfully, there are natural alternatives that actually work.

Homemade Insect Repellant

To ward off bugs and insects, try using a homemade bug spray. You might be surprised at how simple it is to prepare insect repellent! All it involves is stirring a few ingredients together.

We like this recipe from Crunchy Betty. (We tested it on a camping trip last year and it worked great!)

Vitamin B

Before going on a camping trip, try increasing your consumption of vitamin B1 for a week or two. It is thought that the thiamin in vitamin B1 produces a body odor, undetectable to humans, that repels biting bugs, especially mosquitoes.

As always you must be careful when taking vitamins so as not to consume too much. For more information see these articles:

Vitamin B 1 for Bugs

Repel Insects Naturally with Vitamin B


Plantain is a well-known remedy for bug bites and has been used by herbalists for many years. The great thing about plantain is that it is a common lawn weed and can therefore be found in many areas.

Take a look below:

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Have you seen Plantain growing around your neighborhood?

If not, it would be a good thing to plant in your own garden.

To treat bites immediately, fresh plantain can be chewed (to break down the plant), then held over the affected area for relief. Yes, it’s gross, but it works!

Keep the plantain in place by taping with a band-aid or wrapping with gauze or a bandage.

Plantain has the ability to inhibit and reduce swelling as well as soothe pain.

If you’d like to be a little more dignified about it, make a plantain poultice or prepare some plantain salve in advance and keep it handy for when the need arises (see directions here).

How to Make a Plantain Poultice

Essentially, the chewed up, fresh plantain is a poultice, but if you would prefer that chewing not be part of your herbal preparation, try the method below:

Combine 1/8 cup of water and 1/2 a cup of fresh plantain in a blender. Pulse until the mixture looks gloopy. The mixture should be moist but overly watery. It needs to hold together and not run all over the place. hold together If it is too watery, add more plantain. If it is not moist enough, add more water.

Apply the mixture to the bite so the affected area is generously covered. Keep in place with a bandage.

Plantain can be left on for many hours and is generally considered safe for all ages.

Calendula Salve

Calendula Salve is simple to prepare, but needs to be done so in advance of receiving any bites or stings.

Calendula contains soothing properties that will aid in healing most bug bites. It also has a myriad of other uses and is an excellent addition to any natural first aid kit.

To learn how to prepare your own Calendula salve and read more about it’s uses, see this post: How to make Calendula Salve and why you should.

(Or, try Mindy’s tutorial from last week on making Calendula Oil.)


For a small sting or bite, slice an onion and rub the juicy side over the affected area. For a more serious or painful bite, tape a piece of onion over the area and leave (can stay on for a few hours).

Onion can reduce the pain and swelling of bites and stings from insects such as wasps, bees, ants, spiders, and mosquitoes.

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To reduce the itching and swelling form bug bites, slice a garlic clove and rub the affected area with the juicy side. Garlic can sting, so be very careful when using this method to treat bug bites. I suggest using on adults and not children (at least to begin with) and only rub the garlic clove over the bite a few times.

If the bite is large, you might consider using a garlic poultice instead.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can use God’s creation to treat and heal out wounds? It never ceases to amaze me!

I hope you find these home remedies effective this summer.

What are your favorite natural methods for treating bug bites or stings?

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