Instant Bug Bite Relief

32,473

82

78

With summer upon us and the bugs out in full force, it's time to share a few tips I've learned to get rid of the itch that comes along with bug bites. Many people are surprised to learn that the items they have in their house or in their pockets can be used to provide immediate relief from mosquito bites and many other types of bug bites.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Sticky Stuff

This may sound too good to be true, but I assure you it works. The next time you get bit by a mosquito, put a piece of scotch tape over the bite, and it will stop itching immediately. If you are like me and your mosquito bites tend to grow to the size of a quarter, use 2 or 3 overlapping pieces so it is completely covered.


Now you may find yourself in a situation where you don't have any clear tape. "What should I do then?" You might ask. Well I have good news for you, you can grab any sticky tape-like material and it will work. Duct tape, electrical tape, the sticky parts of band aids, medical tape, packing tape, painter's tape, princess stickers, and even fruit stickers will work.

Place these on top of the itchy area and leave them there for a day or two. When you remove them, all signs of the bite will be gone.

Step 2: The Hot Spoon (or Anything Hot)

If you've been reading this up until now and you are the clever type, you might be wondering something like... "What if I'm really hairy and don't want to tear off a strip of tape from my body?" or "What if I get a bug bite on my knuckle where tape won't stick?" or even " What if a bug bites my forehead and I don't want to walk around with tape-face?" Ah, again you're in luck! The next technique is for you.

A little bit of a warning here, you can burn yourself if you do this incorrectly but it's unlikely if you are careful and follow the steps properly. Just, please don't do this on someone else.

Take a spoon and run it under the hottest water you have available. Once the spoon is good and hot, tap it quickly to your skin the same way you would touch a pan to see if its hot. Tap again leaving it for as long as you can and progressively hold it to your skin. It should be uncomfortable but not unbearable. Keep holding it on the bite until it no longer feels warmer than your skin. Sometimes it only takes once, but I find that doing it 2 or 3 times is the most effective.

Using the stirring spoon from your piping hot coffee or tea can also work. I've also heard some people have had success with hair dryers blasting directly on the bite, heating pads, taking hot showers, and even plastic bags filled with water.

Step 3: Congrats!

Congratulations! Now you don't need to waste space in your camping pack on pink lotions, or ammonia sticks, and you can fall asleep easy without the pesky itching! Slap something sticky on your bite or heat it up any way you can, to get quick relief. Get outside and enjoy your summer!

Please share your own tips for stopping itchy bug bites in the comments or tell me how well this works for you! If you found this useful please consider voting for this instructable!

Step 4: Bonus: Tips From the Comments Section

There have been so many great responses in the comments for other remedies and repellents that I had to add another section so I could include them here. I have them listed, along with the username of the person who suggested it.

Itch relief

Meat tenderizer - JeffB7: A paste of Meat Tenderizer will also stop the pain and swelling of bee and wasp bites. Meat tenderizer is mostly Mono Sodium Glutamate. The way it tenderizers meat is by breaking down proteins. A salve of MSG will break down the proteins from bee and wasp stings to provide quick relief.

Plantain- definingsound /JulieY1: The most common medicinal plant on earth - the plantain (not the banana, the other one) can be chewed into a poultice and applied to a fresh mosquito bite in order to prevent the itch and the swelling.

Baking Soda- definingsound: I have also had good results from applying a paste of baking soda and water on the mosquito bite.

Jewelweed- definingsound/bpark1000: If you are in the woods, find jewelweed. It grows in swampy places. It has stems that are hollow and upon crushing, yield a juice. Put this on the bite. The whole plane easily pulls out from the ground.

Antihistamine- definingsound: But at the end of the day both poison ivy and mosquito bites are itchy because of the body’s histamine reaction. If you’re covered in either poison ivy rash or mosquito bites; a first-generation antihistamine like diphenhydramine (branded as “Benadryl”, “Unisom”, many others) is the way to go.

Vinegar- redrooster/mgroothuis: An application of pure vinegar is all that is needed. It works within minutes and the bites will not be able to be reactivated later.

Arthritis Cream- EdM42: I find that a capsaicin arthritis creme will deaden the itch as well as real heat. It takes a minute to get started but it lasts longer.

Muscle Rub- douggorgen: About ten years ago I accidently discovered that any muscle rub that contains Methyl Salicylate relieves the itch for about 8 - 10 hours.

Deodorant-phb/f1dd13r: We use non-scented roll on deodorant in tropical Australia. No one I know is certain why it works but it might be that the thin layer of goop it leaves on the skin seals the bite and that somehow helps.

Soap- Idvill: For years, I have used a damp bar of soap. On mosquito and 'black fly' bites, I wet the corner of the soap, rub it on and leave it to dry.

Rubbing Alcohol-rlgales: Use 90% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to relieve mosquito bites. Use liberally.

Peppermint Essential Oil-Temberton: I put a dab of that on it and the sting never bothered me again. A couple years ago, I gave some to a friend and she said it stopped the irritation of ant bites, too.

Toothpaste- ArunC49: Use Colgate toothpaste & drink a glass of water. Can use any white tooth paste.

Chalk- ArunC49: dip teachers white chalk in water and rub it on the sting and drink a glass of water.

Ammonia- MarkD531: 50/50 Mix of water and ammonia or 3:1 ammonia/water

Ice- Natalina/MarkD531: Sometimes an ice cube held to the bite until it melts will help. Natalina: For large areas covered in bites I find ice really helpful.

Insect Repellants

Skin-So-Soft-snowf7: I am able to buy a product called Skin-So-Soft bath oil from the Avon company. If I am going outside and think there might be mosquitoes around, I rub some of this scented oil on my skin and the bugs don't bother me.

Zinc- snowf7: Another way that I used to keep bugs away was to take large amounts of Zinc. Be careful not to overload your system with too much. I have been told that I could have made myself sick if I had taken too much. I was taking about twice the recommended amount. The mosquitoes would be swarming and biting everyone but me.

Geranium-snowf7: I have been told by an older neighbour that crushing the leaves of a Geranium plant and rubbing it on your skin works as a repellant. I have never had a Geranium around to test this theory. (geranium was also mentioned in another comment)

Vitamin B- slim49n/7JEP: I simply take a 100 mg. B complex vitamin 2x a week.It keeps all bugs at bay! NOTE: if you bend an arm & can smell the bottles odor in the crease of elbows, you are way over what's needed. 7JEP: I take 200mg of vitamin B1 each day. 100mg morning,100mg night. Mosquitos don't seem to like this as I rarely get bitten.

Garlic- ChuckieBob58: Smearing your body with garlic-scented lotion is apparently effective as well, although it will probably repel more than just mosquitoes. Eating garlic may also give you some mild protection, both from the odor on your breath as well as sulfur compounds that you emit through your skin when you eat garlic.

Other- ChuckieBob58: Clip-on personal diffuser devices containing metofluthrin or a mixture of cinnamon oil, geranium oil, eugenol and peppermint oil may be an effective defense against mosquito attacks, states the "Acta Tropica" study. Clip one onto your clothing before going outside when mosquitoes are a concern.

Once again, if you find this instructable useful please consider voting! Thanks!

Backyard Contest

Participated in the
Backyard Contest

Share

    Recommendations

    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest

    78 Discussions

    0
    None
    cyrenad2000

    20 days ago on Introduction

    I have found both witch hazel and tea tree oil help immensely with the itching and swelling from bug bites or random red spots (not illness related of course)

    0
    None
    lleegilmer

    25 days ago

    The plantain weed is used for stings, NOT the banana like fruit. It grows everywhere in the US and was brought over from europe with the settlers because the whole plant is edible. In Great Britain, it often grows near patches of nettles which is handy if any of you have ever gotten into one.

    0
    None
    Cat00x

    4 weeks ago

    Thanks for this. I'm about to take a trip through the midwest (live in CA) and expect to be eaten alive (I'm apparently very tasty to mosquitos!). The comments below are also very appreciated. That's to everyone who responded. Maybe this could be rewritten to include the other cures (after testing, of course!) :-)

    2 replies
    0
    None
    gravityisweakCat00x

    Reply 26 days ago

    The update has been completed! User suggestions are now included.

    0
    None
    gravityisweakCat00x

    Reply 26 days ago

    Absolutely! I plan on adding a note at the end with all the suggestions from the comments, tested or untested. It seems that with remedies like this, some people have better results than others. If one doesn't work for you, just keep moving down the list. For me personally, the tape method works 100% of the time and I don't need any other methods unless the bite is in a really strange spot.

    0
    None
    Natalina

    Tip 26 days ago

    Mosquitos love me and I also react to them like you do. Of course not itching them is the best way to get them to go away, but sometimes that is easier said than done ;) For large areas covered in bites I find ice really helpful.

    1 reply
    0
    None
    gravityisweakNatalina

    Reply 26 days ago

    It's really interesting that both heat and cold seem to be effective for many people. I've included your suggestion and added a page of user suggestions from the comments to the instructable!

    0
    None
    GaryA50

    4 weeks ago

    Be careful using tape. My daughter used that method all over her legs. When she removed the tape, her skin had changed a shade and she looked like a walking patchwork.

    1 reply
    0
    None
    gravityisweakGaryA50

    Reply 26 days ago

    Wow, that's an interesting result. I've never had that happen before. What kind of tape was it? Hopefully she at least got the itch relief from the tape while it was on there!

    0
    None
    MarkD531

    4 weeks ago

    I’ve never had a mosquito or other bug bite (with exception of ticks) that left a welt that lasted more than 2-3 hours. So of course the bite will be gone from under the sticky item in 24 hours. As for the spoon trick it never worked for me. A 50/50 mix of water and ammonia or sometimes 3 parts water and 1 part ammonia dabbed on the bite will make the itch stop almost instantaneously if needed and the welt is gone in 3 hours at most. Sometimes an ice cube held to the bite until it melts will help. I don’t know if it actually does anything or gives you something to focus on until it’s gone on it’s own.

    2 replies
    0
    None
    TembertonMarkD531

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    That's nice for you. My husband is the same way. He can leave a bite alone and it will never bother him. Unfortunately for me, the itch from some bug bites lasts over a week, even if I never intentionally scratch it. Just a light accidental rub DAYS later can create an intense itch that bothers me as if I was just bitten. So, I'll gladly try the tape and see if it works!

    0
    None
    gravityisweakTemberton

    Reply 26 days ago

    Let me know how it works for you, I'm the same way and the itch can reactivate.

    0
    None
    cfs0527

    26 days ago

    I like the spoon trick. I've known for a long time that a shower ir running my hands under the hottest water I can stand will remove the itch of bug bites or poison ivy all night so I can sleep soundly. I call it "counterpain" sort of like hitting your toe with a hammer so you don't think about your headache anymore. Not sure how it works but I think it desensitizes nerve endings or something.

    0
    None
    7JEP

    27 days ago

    I take 200mg of vitamin B1 each day. 100mg morning,100mg night. Mosquitos don't seem to like this as I rarely get bitten.

    1
    None
    ooohlaa

    4 weeks ago

    hmmm I live in Florida and none of these things have worked for me ... I bought this device that had a heat light in it, just burned the skin, and vinegar, salt, ammonia you name it, does nothing ... I may just have a severe allergy but the mosquitoes cloud around me as soon as I go out and follow me into my car. I live on a very wooded lot, another problem. Anyway been there done that, doesn't work for me. Another problem here is biting fire ants!!!