Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets, Honey Bees & Bumble Bees
This page is dedicated to stories of individual painful encounters with either wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, honey bees or bumble bees. We want to thank all those who contributed and invite others to send in their experiences so any who are not familiar with the rapid action of charcoal will be moved to try this simple natural remedy for themselves, should the ocassion arise.
Remember, you don't need to have activated charcoal for it to work. The charcoal from a wood stove, fire pit, or leftovers from a forest fire will also work, especially if you are far from regular outlets of activated charcoal or a hospital. Remember also, time is of the essence. Quickly make a charcoal paste, using a little water and whatever charcoal you can get, and smear it directly on the bite area. For multiple wounds, submerging in a bath with charcoal powder mixed in brings quick relief. For more details go to Insect Bites.
"My oldest daughter got into a wasps nest and had over 35 stings on her legs, by the time I got her home (5 to 10 minute trip) her legs had swelled and welts had formed all over her legs, she couldn't walk. We slathered her down with a charcoal paste out in the sun and let it dry, and then rinsed it and slathered her down again, after the second time when we rinsed her legs off there was no swelling and no welts could be seen."
I only met Jacob a couple of days ago. Because he is affiliated with a holistic health-conditioning center I once visited outside New York City, and because it has become a habit, I asked him if he had any charcoal stories. He said this experience came immediately to mind: “When I was in Georgia, a four-month old girl was bitten on her hand by a yellow-jacket wasp. In just a matter of seconds, I saw the arm turn purple, beginning from her hand and reaching all the way up her arm. I quickly made and applied a Charcoal Poultice to her entire arm and hand, and I gave her a charcoal slurry to drink. Slowly the color retreated from the biceps downward, until within about thirty minutes the color of her whole arm was back to normal.” No wonder he remembers the story!
Doctor Agatha Thrash (pathologist and, for forty-five years, Medical Examiner for the State of Georgia) knows how dangerous insects can be. She relates the following two case histories from her book Rx Charcoal: “A three-year old girl was playing in her yard. Seeing a hole in the ground, her curiosity was piqued, and she stuck a stick into it. Out came a swarm of angry yellow jackets which immediately attacked her. Hearing her screams, her mother came running to the rescue. By that time the little girl was covered with the vicious insects. We later counted over fifty stings on her from the collarbones up. The frantic mother began to beat the wasps off, and in the process she got fifteen or twenty stings herself.
“Hearing the mother’s call for help, several people came running. They immediately took and placed the girl in a tub of cool water, covering everything except her nose and mouth, and stirred in several tablespoons of charcoal. They kept the girl in the tub for about thirty minutes. After cleaning her up, she seemed perfectly comfortable and was soon playing again. The mother, who had been too busy to care for her own stings, had marked swelling and pain that persisted for several days.”
"Mrs. T. had become extremely allergic to bee stings. With her last sting, she had nausea, weakness, faintness, and some wheezing, which had necessitated treatment at an emergency room. Her physician had warned her that the next attack could be fatal, and urged her to undergo a series of desensitization shots. Unfortunately, before she could do so, she got another sting on her hand. Right away, the lady was pale, sweaty, weak, had a headache and nausea, and severe pain in her hand. She was beginning to wheeze.
We first rubbed the sting with a charcoal tablet wet with water as the very quickest way to apply charcoal, and immediately mixed some activated charcoal and water, and more completely covered the sting. Within two or three minutes of the charcoal application, she began to relax and feel better. A larger poultice was prepared to replace the emergency one, and it was changed at ten minute intervals for an hour. We gave her a tablespoon of charcoal by mouth in a glass of water. Then an interesting thing happened.
The patient felt perfectly well and took the poultice off believing herself to be entirely finished with the reaction. Within ten minutes, she was weak, sweaty, faint, and beginning to wheeze. The poultice was immediately re-applied, again with clearing of symptoms. After wearing the poultice all night, she was well. Although this lady usually experienced massive swelling after bee stings, she had no trace of swelling.” RX Charcoal page 66
As an ounce of prevention for the unforeseen, those who know they are always at risk from severe reactions to insect bites should always have charcoal with them. It’s too late to go buy a fire extinguisher when your house is burning. Those who know also tell us that most people who die in fires had no emergency plans. Charcoal will be a part of any well-thought out emergency preparedness, whether one lives in the country or the city.
Dianne’s experience is that of most who have used this age-old remedy. She writes from rural British Columbia, Canada: “As for charcoal, we use it all the time. As you know I am Dean of Girls here at Fountainview Academy, and I wouldn't be without charcoal. For upset stomachs, sore throats, earaches, and for most anything else that comes along, I hand out the charcoal or make charcoal poultices. They always work. As far as anything spectacular that I could tell you about, I can't think of anything in particular. Well, just last Wednesday I took some girls shopping. On the way home we stopped for supper, and one of the girls got stung by a hornet. We really had nothing handy to take care of it, so she suffered until we got home. I then mixed up a warm charcoal poultice, and put it on her thumb. She kept it on overnight. The next morning the swelling had all gone, and she was feeling no more pain.” CharcoalRemedies.com page 91
Living in the country does expose one to more of nature’s insect traffic. Living in the country also tends to make people a little more independent. Because of time and distance to city services people often learn to wait and innovate. Natural remedies like charcoal fit very well with country living. But, come a long weekend, and countless thousands of city dwellers leave the city limits behind to visit their country cousins and enjoy the wide open spaces for themselves. Natural remedies like charcoal fit very well with city campers too.
Pauline and Leo are a case in point. As a RN, Pauline regularly uses charcoal in her hospital emergency room setting. However, many emergencies are better dealt with right where they happen. Leo and Pauline purchased a property, at some distance from the city, and began clearing it for their new home. Pauline writes: “This past Monday Joshua, our six -year old, got stung on his ear by a honeybee. He screamed and screamed. We knew that he has been very sensitive to bug bites, and were concerned that he might have an anaphylactic reaction. While I tried to calm him, Leo went over to the fire pit where we had had a recent fire, and he got a piece of charcoal. He quickly ground it up and made it pasty with some water. We plastered that on Joshua’s ear. He was still screaming up to that point, but soon after the charcoal was applied, he calmed down. The swelling stopped and he had no other bad affects after that.”
It is understandable that working in an ER, where medicinal charcoal is always available, would make it easy for Pauline to forget to take some with her camping. However, in an emergency, the primitive form of charcoal is still a very good first aid. But, wouldn't it make good sense to include some charcoal tablets, capsules, and powder in your first aid kit for right around home, to take on trips, or camping outings?