15 Home Remedies for Hornet Stings

home remedies for hornet sting

Hornets are a member of the wasp & yellow jacket family and belong to the genus Vespa. They are larger than wasps and yellow jackets, with a more pronounced vertex and are common across the united states. They typically nest in hollowed tree trunks and are extremely aggressive if disturbed. Hornets can sting multiple times and will attack en masse. You should get rid of hornets as soon as you find a nest, as attacks can be fatal. The hornet sting is more severe than a wasp sting or bee sting, so if you have been stung by a hornet, the speed of treatment is key. Fortunately, there are many home remedies for hornet stings that you can use to treat the pain. Check them out.

home remedies for hornet stings


Symptoms of a Hornet Sting

Wasps, bees, and hornets are different insects possessing different venoms. Hornet venom is similar to yellow jacket venom but is much stronger and as such, the symptoms of hornet stings also differ.

If hornets feel threatened, they can release an attack pheromone mobilizing other hornets to sting in defense. Contact from this pheromone on clothing or skin, from a hornet that was killed earlier, is enough to trigger a response from the nest.

Hornets can also sting you multiple times without dying. They can even bite at the same time and sometimes lead to complications such as acute renal failure [1] and even death [2].

Hornet stings tend to be more painful than wasp stings or bee stings as the hornet venom has a much higher concentration of ‘acetylcholine’ which is the active agent in the venom.

The following symptoms might be produced due to a local reaction caused by a hornet sting:

  • Immediate pain at the point of sting which is burning, sharp, and usually lasts for a few seconds
  • A red mark with accompanied swelling which may itch or pain
  • Swollen hives may peak up to 2 days after the sting and may persist up to one week
  • Pruritus and angioedema [3]
  • Redness and swelling that may enlarge and spread 12 inches across
  • Swelling and pain may also appear in joints several days after the sting
  • Swelling of an entire limb may occur lasting for a few days
  • Nausea, fever, rash, and a headache can develop in case of multiple hornet stings
  • Anaphylaxis [4]

The symptoms may last for several days. By following our home remedies for hornet stings, most of these symptoms can, however, be handled.

how to treat a hornet stingHome Remedies for Hornet Stings

  1. Check for a Stinger

hornet stingerThis is the most important step to perform immediately after being stung by a hornet. Carefully examine the sting area to check if there is a stinger still embedded in the skin.  [5]. 

Hornets, unlike bees, will typically not leave a stinger behind as their stinger is not barbed. However, occasionally stingers will remain and need to be removed.

Be very careful (especially if using tweezers) not to squeeze the stinger when removing as you could inject more venom. If possible, sterilize the tool before using it but do not waste time.

Now, clean the affected area using soap and water before applying other home remedies for hornet stings. This will maximize the absorption of other healers.

  1. Ice

ice cubeNow that you have removed the stinger, consider applying ice as the first home remedy for hornet stings that you try.

Ice is a great solution to reduce the swelling, not only for hornet stings but also for the stings of other insects. This is because cold temperatures can slow down the flow of blood towards the affected area. [6]

To treat hornet stings, take an ice cube and wrap it in a towel. Now apply to the affected area for around 20 minutes.

This will not only reduce the swelling but will also help with the pain factor. Alternatively, an ice pack/cold compress can also be used.

  1. Garlic

garlicDid you know that eating garlic on a regular basis can reduce your chances of getting bitten by an insect?

Just like humans, insects including hornets can also be attracted or repulsed by smells in their surroundings. Smelling not too sweet can finally come to your rescue at some point. [7]

Some theorize that consuming pungent foods such as garlic can alter the smell of your sweat, signaling to insects to stay away from you. [8]

While this theory has not been tested completely, it certainly cannot hurt to add an extra clove of garlic to food.

To use as garlic to treat the hornet sting, crush a clove and rub it directly on the affected area. Make sure to apply the garlic juice directly onto the sting. After application of garlic, place a plaster on it. Now sit back and let garlic do its magic.

Remember that this home remedy can only work with raw garlic.

  1. Soap

soapAs simple as it sounds, soap is, in fact, one of the most basic and effective home remedies for hornet stings.

Just wet the affected area with water and rub a plain soap on it with gentle hands. Now rinse it well. Make sure that you use non-perfumed, non-deodorized soap only.

Note: Soaps with added fragrances irritate the sting. [9]

  1. Activated Charcoal

activated charcoalActivated charcoal is another simple home remedy for hornet stings.

A powerful property of the charcoal is that it draws out the harmful toxins which can otherwise lead to symptoms such as swelling, inflammation, and itching.

Using activated charcoal for hornet stings is no rocket science. All you need to do is to obtain 2 or 3 capsules of charcoal and mix it with sufficient water to make a paste. Now, apply this paste to the affected area.

Keep the paste on for about half an hour before removing it with the help of a wet cloth.

  1. Aspirin Tablets

aspirin tabletAspirin tablets have been considered among the most popular home remedies for hornet stings. These tablets can effectively reduce the swelling and pain associated with a hornet sting.

The aspirin paste is acidic which helps neutralize the alkaline venom of the hornet as well as being a topical analgesic.

The trick is to apply a wet aspirin directly on the sting or make a paste by mixing the tablet with water.

  1. Try Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oilTea tree oil is a wonderful essential oil with strong properties that can alleviate pain and reduce the itch associated with a hornet sting.

It is also a strong antiseptic as it activates the white blood cells, kick-starting the process of attacking the pathogens that the hornet may have left behind. [10]

Tea tree oil is also among the very few herbal remedies for hornet stings in which the oil can be applied in the undiluted form on the skin. In very small amounts, tea tree oil is even safe for babies and children.

To follow this home remedy, take a cotton ball and place a few drops of pure tea tree oil on it. Now, dab the ball directly on the hornet sting after every few hours.

  1. Cucumber

cucumberCucumbers often come in handy to treat wrinkles and hydrate skin but remember that they are also an excellent home remedy to treat insect stings and bites.

Cucumber is effective against hornet stings because of its astringent properties i.e. it can constrict the body tissue. It can also reduce swelling. [11]

In order to use cucumber for hornet stings, take a slice and rub it directly on the affected area. This will cool it down and reduce the pain to a great extent.

  1. Baking Soda

baking sodaBaking soda has many uses and one of them is to treat hornet stings.

Mixing baking soda with water and applying on the hornet sting can lead to neutralization of the venom. It can also get rid of swelling, itching, and pain associated with the sting.

To use this remedy:

  • Make a paste by mixing baking soda with water.
  • Apply it in a thick layer onto the affected area and cover it with a bandage.
  • Let it stay for 15 minutes.
  • Reapply the paste as needed.
  1. Meat Tenderizer

Meat tenderizerMeat tenderizer is among home remedies for hornet stings because of its enzyme components.

An enzyme known as papain in the meat tenderizer is known to break down the venomous proteins in hornet stings responsible for itching and pain. [12]

To treat a hornet sting, use one part of meat tenderizer and four parts of water to make a solution. Apply this to the affected area for as long as 30 minutes.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegarBecause apple cider vinegar is mildly acidic, it neutralizes the venom of hornet stings. It is also a strong antiseptic ensuring the insect bite does not get infected.

To use it, soak the affected area in a basin full of apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes.

Alternatively, soak a piece of cloth or bandage in vinegar and apply it directly to the sting site. [13]

  1. Make Milk Paste

milkThe enzymes present in milk are said to neutralize the venom and reduce the unpleasant symptoms.

To relieve the itchiness resulting from hornet sting, make a paste using one part of powdered milk and two parts of water. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the effectiveness. Apply this paste to the bite.

Add a pinch of salt to enhance the effectiveness. Apply this paste to the bite.

  1. Lavender Oil

lavender oilLavender oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and is a particularly soothing way to treat hornet stings. [14]

Don’t forget to mix it in a carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil before using it. Now place a few drops on the affected area and dab it gently on the skin.

  1. Witch Hazel

witch hazelWitch hazel is a tried-and-tested hornet sting treatment. It can fight inflammation, reduce pain, and lessen itching.

To use witch hazel for hornet sting, apply it directly to the affected area.

  1. Aloe Vera

aloe veraAloe vera is a known agent for fighting skin problems. It has soothing properties on the skin which makes it perfect as e natural home remedy for hornet stings. [15]

To use it, try obtaining free aloe vera plant. Break off one of its leaves and apply the gel to the affected area.


  • Call for medical help if you suspect signs of an allergic reaction
  • Check for a hornet stinger before you do anything else
  • Calm your nerves and walk away slowly as hornets have a tendency to sting again


  • Squeeze the stringer as it can release the venom into your body
  • Scratch the affected area as it can worsen the problem and cause an infection
  • Use bicarbonate soda or calamine lotion as they are not able to neutralize venom injected deep in the tissues.
  • Burst any blister as it can cause an infection


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