I don’t like stinging insects.
Did you know that only female mosquitos bite us? They drink small amounts of our blood to extract the protein and iron they need to produce eggs – and make more mosquitos. They get a minute drop of blood – and inject us with irritants which can contain bacteria. Bites can cause itching, allergic reactions and disease. We’d like to avoid stinging insects altogether, but they are a fact of summer life outdoors. Here are some products to reduce the itching and irritation when they bite us, and products to keep them off of us and to keep them out of our outdoor spaces. These products also work for bites from horseflies, bees, wasps and ants.
This insect bite and sting suction tool is simple and worth having on hand in the summer. It helps extract the insect saliva and venom which causes itching and irritation. Insect bite and sting suction tool. $9.95
This ‘Bite Away’ device has a small ceramic disk which heats up to 124 degrees Fahrenheit. You place it on the ‘bite’ for three to five seconds and it claims to kill bacteria and take away the itching and sting. It has been cleared by the FDA and tested by dermatologists. Bite Away. $39.99.
This Bite Helper works with heat and vibrations. The heat (~120 degrees Fahrenheit) kills the bacteria and the vibration circulates your blood to aid healing. You may need to apply Bite Helper several times. Bite Helper. $27.59
Here are the steps the Mayo Clinic suggests to treat a bug bite:
- If needed, remove the stinger.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Apply a cool compress. Use a cloth dampened with cold water or filled with ice. This helps reduce pain and swelling. If the injury is on an arm or leg, elevate it.
- Apply 0.5 or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or a baking soda paste to the bite or sting several times daily until your symptoms go away.
- Take an antihistamine (Benadryl, others) to reduce itching.
Healthline offers thirteen home remedies for bug bites. Apply a paste of equal parts oatmeal and water, put a small drop of honey on the bite or try the other eleven suggestions.
We like ‘After Bite’ for a topical anti-itch cream. Four .5 ounce After Bites. $14.15
With all of the diseases carried by mosquitos, it is a good idea to avoid the bites altogether. Here is The Wirecutter’s advice on the best bug repellents.
The Wirecutter recommended bug spray is the pump spray by Sawyer, with 20% Picardin. $8.25
If you are going to be sitting outside, this Thermacell rechargeable mosquito repeller works by heating up a repellent cartridge which distributes a ‘zone of protection’ extending to 110 square feet. Turn on the Thermacell 15 minutes before you go outside and place it at the center of the space you want to make insect free. Each cartridge lasts for 40 hours. Video of Thermacell. In black or blue, Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller from Thermacell, Gen 2.0, $39.97.
Don’t forget the sunscreen this summer. These are some of our favorites;