How to Treat Insect Bites and Stings

How to Treat Insect Bites and Stings

Most insects that we come in contact with in Georgia are relatively harmless and will only leave us with minor swelling and itching. However, there’s always the chance of increasing infection if you don’t treat insect bites and stings properly, and it’s vital to know when to seek medical attention.

Below, we dive into the most common insects that bite or sting in Georgia, how to treat these wounds, and when to seek medical attention.

The most common insect bites and stings to watch out for:

Bees & Wasps

A bee sting and wasp sting both require similar treatment. However, a bee will typically leave behind a stinger that’s still attached to a venom sac, whereas a wasp cannot (meaning a wasp can sting more than once – so watch out!).

Remove the bee stinger immediately using a scraping motion, never pinching the top (that’s the venom sac!).

For both a bee sting and a wasp sting, wash the area carefully with soap and water 2-3 times per day until the skin has healed. Apply an ice pack for a few minutes to help get the swelling to go down.

For pain and itching, use acetaminophen, ibuprofen, an over-the-counter antihistamine, and/or calamine lotion.

When to seek medical attention:

  • If stung inside the mouth, as this can make it difficult to breathe.
  • If you notice a large skin rash or abnormal swelling around the sting site.
  • If pain or swelling lasts for more than 3 days.
  • If you notice:
    • Wheezing or trouble breathing
    • Tightness in the throat or chest
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Nausea or vomiting


Mosquito bites are all too familiar for us. If we don’t fully prepare, we can end up with multiple just on one leg! Scratching mosquito bites can lead to an infection, so avoid scratching at all costs (we know, it’s tough!).

Wash the bite area with soap and water, and use anti-itch cream, calamine lotion, or an antihistamine to help relieve the itch. If the itching gets really bad, use an ice pack to numb the area and begin to bring down swelling of the bite.

Click here for some tips to prevent mosquitoes.

When to seek medical attention:

  • If swelling around the mosquito bite doesn’t begin to go down within a day or two
  • If you notice open sores
  • If your eyes or joints become infected


Most spiders in Georgia are relatively harmless, and bites will simply hurt or itch for a few days.

Wash the area carefully with soap and water 2-3 times per day until you notice healing. Apply an ice pack to help relieve the swelling even more. If the bite is painful, acetaminophen or ibuprofen should do the trick. Consider applying antibiotic ointment to help prevent infections.

When to seek medical attention:

If you have any reason to suspect it may be a Black Widow or Brown Recluse bite. Click here for help identifying your spider bite.

  • Typical side-effects of a Black Widow bite include headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, hypertension.
  • Brown Recluse bites typically don’t hurt or show symptoms immediately, but you may later notice red, swollen skin around the bite, which may eventually turn into an itchy blister. About a week after getting bitten, you may notice an open ulcer as well as a red rash all over your body.


Ticks can be harmless to us, but there’s always a chance their bites could lead to Lyme disease. Plus, they’re never fun to deal with!

Check yourself, your kids, and your pets after spending time outdoors, particularly in wooded areas. If you can remove them within 24-48 hours, they’re less likely to transmit Lyme or other diseases.

Remove the tick by grasping it firmly at its head or mouth right next to your skin. Pull firmly and steadily upward until it lets go, without twisting, jerking, or moving back and forth. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol.

You’ve probably heard of the nail polish, petroleum jelly, or match trick to remove ticks, but these methods can actually force ticks deeper into the skin and increase the chance of transmitting a disease.

Click here for tips on preventing tick bites.

When to seek medical attention:

You experience any symptoms of Lyme disease, which can include:

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Stiffness or swelling in the joints
  • Rash in the form of a bulls-eye
  • Headaches


Scorpions are some of those more terrifying insects that we have to watch out for in Georgia, but luckily, there aren’t many bites per year, and they’re treatable. However, it’s important to seek medical attention any time you’ve been bitten.

Wash the area with soap and water, and apply an ice pack or cold compress to the sting.

Depending on the type of scorpion, the bite area may hurt, swell, and redden.

If possible, capture the scorpion to bring to the emergency room. This can help medical professionals identify the type of scorpion as well as the necessary treatment.

When to seek medical attention:


Insect problem?

None of these insects are fun to deal with, but if you’re experiencing an abundance of any of them, it’s important to call in for backup. We’ll conduct a free in-home inspection and recommend a pest control plan specific to your problems. Contact us here!