There are two types of products generally available for insect stings:
- Repellents which claim to repel insects due to their smell
- Sting Relief products which claim to stop the stinging pain
Some of these products make the most extraordinary claims and some of them have the most amazing wonderful testimonials – so I leave it to purchasers to make up their own minds. They simply can’t all work so wonderfully well and all claim they so for so many different reasons!
So, for what its worth:
My own view is that insofar as stinging insects are concerned, it is unlikely that any aroma will stop an angry wasp, bee, hornet, or ant from stinging you because the sting is an instinctive and involuntary type of reaction. It is also very fast and not particularly dependent on the insect having a sniff and then making up its mind!
Mosquitos and “sucking and biting” insects are different – they do graze and select their victim by smell, skin type and other factors. So, speaking personally, I am a bit dubious about the efficacy of repellents in stopping hymenoptera stings although I admit that my view is not based on anything scientific! I am sure they do help in deterring biting insects like mosquitos and horseflies which of course can provoke nasty reactions too – particularly bacterial infections.
Sting relief products – well I guess that some of these may work but they all offer different reasons as to why. These include reasons such as anti-histamine, homeopathic, herbal, anaesthetic, old family recipes, and it “just does”. A number of these “guarantee” pain relief but of course how do you make a claim against the manfuacturer if it still hurts afterwards? Who is to judge that the product actually made the sting easier that would have otherwise have been the case had you not used it? How much of the feeling that it works is psychological – see my page on acid and alkali properties of wasp venom!
My own view is to ask friends and family if they can honestly recommend sting relief products and then take their advice.