Mosquitoes and other biting and stinging insects know how to turn a lovely day outdoors into a pestering situation. Read up on these remedies and learn how to combat common pest bites and stings.

People that are mosquito magnets squirm as the warmer weather hits, and for good reason: mosquitoes and other biting and stinging insects can turn a lovely day outdoors into a pestering situation. Read up on the remedies below to find some relief should you encounter bug bites this summer:

Mosquito Bites: Wash the bite with soap and water and immediately apply a cold compress, which will ease the itching. Apply an over-the-counter cream containing 1 percent hydrocortisone, and take an antihistamine if you develop hives. Avoid scratching the bite, which breaks the skin and opens the door for infection.

Bee or Wasp Stings: Gently remove the stinger, which you can do by scraping the skin with the edge of a credit card, and clean the area with soap and water. Take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, and apply ice for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off to control the pain.

Fire Ant Bites: Clean the bite with soap and water, and apply an anti-inflammatory hydrocortisone cream.

Spider Bites: If possible, capture and kill the spider to help your doctor identify the species and potential side effects.

Apply ice every few hours for the first four days, and elevate the affected part of the body to minimize swelling. Take an acetaminophen to manage the pain if needed.

Monitor all bites and stings for secondary infections or symptoms of rare reactions. You also can look to your refrigerator or pantry for natural, chemical-free treatments:

  • Place cool cucumber slices over bites to soothe the stinging.
  • Apply a bit of honey to bites, which works as a natural antibiotic.
  • Slice a garlic clove in half and rub it on the bite to cancel out the stinging.
  • Mix together a thick paste of water and baking soda and apply to mosquito bites. Brush the paste off when it is dry. Brush the paste off when it is dry.

Of course, the easiest way to cope with the stinging and swelling of bug bites is not to get them in the first place. Look for an insect repellant that is DEET-free and plant-based, or you can whip up your own homemade insect repellant. If you’re planning a big outdoor party or camping trip, increase your vitamin B consumption in the weeks leading up to the event. Vitamin B produces an odour that repels bugs and is undetectable to humans. Following these tips can help reduce bites and stings while you enjoy your summer.