Natural Remedies: Bug Bites

When I lived in Costa Rica, bugs weren’t just annoying, but downright disruptive. There were a few mosquitoes, but it was the no-see-ums that were really bad. At dawn and dusk, they attacked, biting with a stinging pain and leaving spots very similar to mosquito bites that itched for days. Since I don’t like chemicals, I tried out some natural remedies, and there were a few that worked.

Preventing bug bites

I read somewhere that you can boil lemon slices and then use the resulting lemon "tea" to prevent bug bites. Since lemons were out of season, I had to use limes, and the "tea" didn’t really work. However, rubbing the actual fruit on my skin was very effective. It left bits of pulp all over, but that seemed like a small price to pay.

Readers advice:

  • Eat lots of garlic to make your blood taste bad to bugs
  • Sprinkle sulfur powder in your socks

Treating bug bites

I found two things that worked: baking soda and green papaya.

Mix baking soda with water to make a thick paste, and smear that on the bites. This works very well, but the powder eventually falls or gets rubbed off, and then itch starts right up again.

Rub the flesh of a green papaya on the bites. This stings quite a bit at first, but then takes the itch away for at least a couple of hours. (There is an enzyme in green papaya that dissolves the protein mosquitoes leave behind in their bites.)

Readers advice:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Bentonite clay mixed with water