It is a late summer afternoon with a mild breeze and the sun shining brightly. You decide to take a stroll to a nearby picnic spot with your family to have a good time. As you are walking and enjoying peaceful time off, you accidentally brush against a shrub and get stung by a yellow jacket. It thinks you ruined its peace.

Good luck to you apologizing to the wasp and trying to decipher your intentions to it! Just an FYI, if you didn’t already know, yellow jackets are the most aggressive of all wasps.


Yellow jackets most commonly nest thousands in numbers underground in the burrows made by rodents. They defend their nests from intruders very aggressively and may chase the presumed threat for long distances.

home remedies for yellow jacket sting
Learn different home remedies to deal with a yellow jacket stings at home

Yellow jackets can sting multiples times. They are often mistaken for bees, due to their similarities.

A yellow jacket sting causes sharp pain, redness, swelling and itching on the stung area for a minimum of 2 to 3 days. Even though this is temporary and generally does not cause serious complications, it can be uncomfortable and annoying for some people.

Caution: If you are allergic to bees and wasps, it can cause bouts of vomiting, difficulty swallowing and breathing, weakness, swelling of the tongue and stuttered or slurred speech. In this case, seek immediate emergency medical attention. You may be experiencing anaphylactic shock, in which the body becomes hypersensitive to an antigen causing a life-threatening allergic reaction.

Natural Remedies for Yellow Jacket Sting Relief

Such stings should be dealt with immediately. You can use some everyday household items and ingredients to treat a yellow jacket sting at home for pain relief.


Method 1: Baking Soda

Baking soda is very effective at quickly relieving pain and inflammation from a wasp sting. It is alkaline, and this helps to neutralize the venom. Since it also has anti-inflammatory properties, it helps reduce inflammation, redness, and swelling. (4) It is a popular remedy to treat mosquito bites and spider bites too.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply a baking soda paste on the stung area

apply baking soda paste on yellow jacket sting
Treat yellow jacket sting with this baking soda paste
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste.
  • Apply the paste on the area where you were stung and rub it for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Wash off the paste with warm water.

Repeat 3 or 4 times a day or as needed.

Method 2: Tobacco

Tobacco is usually bad for you, but in this case, it can come to your rescue. When applied to an inflamed area, its anesthetic properties help soothe the skin. The nicotine present in tobacco helps relieve pain as well as draws out the venom that the wasp left in your skin. It is an effective treatment for bee stings as well.

You can unroll a cigarette or buy a pouch of tobacco that is sold the for medicinal use.

Tobacco serves several medicinal purposes. In ancient times as well as today, it is used as a sedative, diuretic (removes water from the body), expectorant (supports discharge of sputum through the air passages, used to treat coughs) and a discutient (causes the disappearance of pathological accumulation) when applied topically. It is used internally only as an emetic after all other emetic remedies have failed.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply damp tobacco on the site of the sting

apply tobacco to yellow jacket sting
Gently apply moist tobacco to fight the sting venom
  • Apply moist tobacco to the affected area.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes. You can use a bandage to keep it in place.

This remedy provides instant relief. However, you can repeat the application as needed.


Method 3: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar and plain white vinegar both work effectively in treating insect bites and stings.

Apple cider vinegar consists of acetic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This helps reduce the pain and inflammation caused by the sting.

The poison of wasps or yellow jackets has a powerful alkaline nature. Using an acid like vinegar or apple cider vinegar will neutralize the alkaline in the venom.

Optionally, you can use apple cider vinegar mixed with meat tenderizer powder. The enzyme called papain (also found in papaya fruit) in the meat tenderizer breaks down the venom composed of toxic proteins that are causing the body to react.


Single-Step Treatment: Dab apple cider vinegar on the affected area

dab apple cider vinegar on sting
Cover the area with apple cider vinegar to treat the pain from yellow jacket sting
  • Use a cotton ball or pad to dab a little apple cider vinegar on the site of the sting.
  • Hold the cotton ball on the affected area for 10 minutes.

Repeat the process 2-3 times a day to get complete relief.

Method 4: Aspirin

Aspirin is generally used for reducing fever and relieving moderate pain caused by toothaches, coughs and colds, and headaches. It is also used to reduce swelling in conditions like arthritis.

It contains salicylic acid, which is an analgesic and helps relieve pain instantly. This makes it a good remedy for yellow jacket stings. (3)

Single-Step Treatment: Dissolve the aspirin in a little water & apply it to the affected area

apply aspirin paste for yellow jacket sting
Apply a paste of aspirin on the affected area
  • Put 2 aspirin tablets in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of water. Let the tablets dissolve and stir it until you have a good paste. (You can crush the tablets first so they’ll dissolve faster.)
  • Apply the paste on the stung area for 30 minutes and wash it with to water.

Rinse it off with water once the paste dries out on your skin.

Method 5: Organic Raw Honey

Honey has antibacterial properties that dilute the wasp’s venom as well as reduces the inflammation and itching, thereby soothing the skin. (5)

Single-Step Treatment: Apply organic raw honey on the site of the sting

apply organic honey to the sting
Use organic raw honey as a home remedy for yellow jacket sting
  • Apply raw organic honey directly on the affected area.
  • Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Repeat a couple of times for faster relief.


Method 6: Onion

One of the easiest and quickest home remedies to treat a yellow jacket sting is placing a slice of onion on the stung area. You’ll be able to feel relief in approximately 20 minutes.

Onions have phenolic compounds that break down the complex proteins, peptides, and enzymes present in the wasp’s venom. Although it does not draw the toxins out of the skin, destabilizing the venom helps reduce the pain and inflammation. (2)

You can also use onions to prevent insects and bugs from biting you again. They do not like the strong smell of onions.

Single-Step Treatment: Place a piece of onion on the affected area

place onion slice on the sting
Cover the affected area with onion and secure it with a bandage
  • Slice a raw onion and place one slice of it on the stung area.
  • Secure the onion in place by wrapping it with a gauze tape.
  • Let it sit for 30 minutes. Remove the gauze and wash the area with lukewarm water.

Ideally, this should bring you relief in 20 minutes, if required repeat the process with a fresh slice of onion again.

Method 7: Epsom Salt

Epsom salt consists of magnesium sulfate, which makes it a natural exfoliator and anti-inflammatory agent. It is used to treat dehydrated skin, sore and aching muscles, small wounds and more. (6)

These properties of Epsom salt also make it a perfect remedy to deal with a wasp sting.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply an Epsom salt paste on the stung area

apply epsom salt paste on the sting
Cover the stung area with Epsom salt paste to manage the swelling and inflammation
  • Mix 1 teaspoon each of Epsom salt and water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply it on the affected area.

Wash it off with normal water. Repeat the process if you do not get relief after the first application.

Method 8: Cold Compress

Ice is like a natural anesthetic for topical application in case of bug bites and bee stings. It numbs the area where it is applied by slowing down the blood flow to the affected area. (3) This helps reduce the pain and swelling caused by the wasp sting.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply a compress made with ice on the stung area

apply cold compress to the sting
Use a cold compress to get relief from sting pain
  • Wrap ice cubes in a thin washcloth or kitchen towel.
  • Hold the ice pack on the affected area for 15 minutes.

Repeat as needed. If you don’t have ice available, you can also use a package of frozen vegetables.

Caution: Do not apply ice directly on your skin. It can damage the skin and cause frostbite.

Method 9: Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a very potent agent for removing toxins and chemicals from the body. (1) It is known to be used as a very effective and safe treatment in cases of a drug overdose or accidental poisoning. It is even used in hospital emergency centers.

It is a very porous compound that functions by binding and trapping toxins and poisonous elements in its tiny pores. Its surface has a negative electric charge that draws the positive-charged toxins and gases to it.

Since this remedy is for topical application only, you can make use of charcoal from a wood stove, fire pits and leftover charcoal from a forest fire, if you don’t have immediate access to activated charcoal.

Single-Step Treatment: Mix activated charcoal with water & apply it on the site of the sting

apply activated charcoal paste
Cover the stung area with an activated charcoal paste
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal with enough water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste on the affected area and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with normal water.

Tip to get relief from a yellow jacket sting

  • You can make a paste with raw organic honey and turmeric to apply on the stung area. Turmeric consists of bioactive compounds that have powerful medicinal properties. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and drying properties. Using this paste will relieve the pain and swelling associated with a wasp sting.
  • Yellow jackets are considered aggressive. Be careful not to disturb a yellow jacket nest without covering yourself.
  • Refrain from using any remedy that you might be allergic to.


  1. Davis, P.Anderson S, Davis D. Activated Charcoal: A Consideration for Use in Primary Care Practice of Advanced Practice Nurses. Journal of Cultural Diversity. Published October 1, 2017.
  2. Farjana F, Sakib N, Hasan MM, Das P, Hossain AI, Rahmatullah M. Antinociceptive activity Studies with Methanol Extract of Onion, Garlic and Ginger in Mice. Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences. Published June 2014.
  3. Freeman T, Golden DB, Feldweg AM. Bee, yellow jacket, wasp, and other Hymenoptera stings: Reaction types and acute management. UpToDate.
  4. Ori Y, Zingerman B, Bergman M, Bessler H, Salman H. The effect of sodium bicarbonate on cytokine secretion in CKD patients with metabolic acidosis. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. Published April 2015.
  5. Oryan A, Alemzadeh E, Moshiri A. Biological properties and therapeutic activities of honey in wound healing: A narrative review and meta-analysis. Journal of Tissue Viability. Published May 2016.
  6. Sousa AM, Rosado GM, Neto S, Guimarães GM, Ashmawi HA. Magnesium sulfate improves postoperative analgesia in laparoscopic gynecologic surgeries: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia. Published November 2016.