Insect Bites: Prevention and Treatment Tips
At this time of year insects are buzzing about! They might need to protect themselves and their territory, or looking for food and in some cases that means us!
Most bites and stings trigger nothing more than minor discomfort, but some encounters can cause severe allergic reactions. Prevention is the best medicine, so knowing how to recognize and avoid biting and stinging animals or insects is the best way to stay safe!
Visit this website for more details on how to recognize different types of bites and stings: https://www.healthline.com/health/bug-bites
- Remove standing pools of water from your property – this helps to reduce mosquito populations.
- Cover exposed skin with light-weight long sleeve shirts and pants. Ensure they are white or light in colour. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours.
- Do not wear perfume and fragrant hair products, moisturizers and deodorants. These smells make you an easy target (and a yummy meal).
- Try using shampoos, soaps and deodorants with tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus and/or rosemary essential oils.
- Supplement with B vitamins – they change the smell of your blood making you less appealing.
- Increase your consumption of garlic and spicy foods and reduce your consumption of sugar and sweets (this includes large amounts of tropical fruit).
- When choosing an insect repellent choose products that are natural and DEET free.
- DEET is a toxic chemical substance that should only be used when absolutely necessary (e.g. traveling in a known malaria zone)
- Avoid wearing vibrant colours as wasps and bees are attracted to flowers with bright colours.
- If you are allergic avoid hanging out in areas with lots of flowering plants.
- Do not wear perfume and fragrant hair products, moisturizers and deodorants – wasps and bees are attracted to strong fragrances.
- Do not leave food out!
- In early spring/summer wasps are attracted to high protein foods.
- In late summer and early fall their preference changes to sweet foods.
- Do not swat or squish wasps. They release a pheromone (chemical) that will attract other wasps to the scene.
- Rinse off or shower if you are sweaty. Some bees are attracted to the salt in human sweat!
Avoid the Sting:
- Remain still! Cover your face (a common area to get stung) and stay still until they fly away.
- As mentioned above do not swat or squish a wasp – you will only make them angry or attract more of their friends.
- If you get swarmed by several bees/wasps your best bet is to RUN for cover or jump into a body of water.
- Do your best to avoid killing bees. Our bee populations are reducing at an alarming rate and without bees to pollinate plants we can’t eat!
- Use ice to reduce swelling.
- Homeopathic Cream
- Apply lavender or tea tree essential oil to the affected area.
- Witch hazel or apple cider vinegar can help alleviate the itch.
- Rubbing garlic on the bite will disinfect and reduce itching.
- Remove the stinger. DO NOT pull or squeeze the stinger (this includes using tweezers) as you may release more venom.
- Use your fingernail or the back side of a knife and gently scrape the stinger out. Apply enough pressure to remove the stinger but not scratch or break the skin.
- After the stinger is removed clean the wound to avoid infection.
- Use ice to reduce swelling and restrict the flow of venom.
- Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will help relieve itching.
- Mix in baking soda to form a paste as the alkalinity will reduce the acidity of the venom.
Did you know…..?
The average worker bee produces only about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. Doesn’t this fact make you love every drop of honey and all the work that goes into it?