Homesteading Resources

Pest Control Maintenance Products

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

In our article, “Ant Invasions (Ant Facts, Successful Eradication, Cost And Safety)” we discuss Diatomaceous Earth, a product we have used quite successfully for many years and would highly recommend it’s use against such invasions.

Harris Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, 2lb with Powder Duster Included (link to Amazon) disrupts the hard waxy layer of an insects body causing them to slowly die of desiccation. But DE must remain dry in order to work and if the underground nest has enough moisture the DE will not work so in that case you need to use Seven 5 Dust.

Only use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. Pool Grade or Filter Grade Diatomaceous Earth has been heat treated, a process called calcinated that makes it ineffective as a method for killing insects.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, DE, used as a dust is also effective in ridding your home of cockroaches. DE is the shell of one celled organisms called diatoms, a type of algae. The shell has small sharp spines on it and these spines penetrate the waxy exoskeleton of bugs such as cockroaches and causes them to die from desiccation, dehydration.

The spines on Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, although very sharp, are so fine they do not pierce human skin so DE is safe to use around humans and other mammals. To learn more about using DE as a pest control, read our article, “Does Diatomaceous Earth Work As A Method Of Pest Control?”

We have been using Diatomaceous Earth for a lot of years as a natural insecticide, storing our flour, grains and dried legumes and also for keeping our pets free of fleas with wonderful success. We would encourage others to do the same. You can learn even more about DE in our article, “Diatomaceous Earth – Uses, Health Benefits, Is It Safe.”


Borax is used in laundry detergent as a booster for cleaning and stain remover. Its chemical name is Sodium tetraborate, sometimes listed as Sodium tetraborate decahydrate. Borax is a natural mineral (link to Amazon) found in the earth. In the US there is a large deposit of it in Death Valley California.

Borax, Na2[B4O5(OH)4], is not Boric Acid, H3BO3, which has the chemical name Trihydrooxidoboron. Do not confuse Borax with Boric Acid! They are not the same thing.

In our article, “Ant Invasions (Ant Facts, Successful Eradication, Cost And Safety)” we discuss how to use make and use Borax ant killer bait. This in one of the most effective ways of riding your home of ants.

If you can trace an ant trail to the outside and find out where the ants are entering the house, use the borax ant killer bait outside. Our article discusses safety measures to prevent pets and other animals from getting the Borax ant killer bait.

Boric Acid Powder

Fine Powder Boric Acid (link to Amazon) can kill insects two ways. They can die from ingesting Boric Acid powder and when they walk through the powder it cuts their bodies like little shards of glass causing them to desiccate and die.

Boric Acid can also be used as a bait where insects will eat it and go back to their nest and feed their young causing them to die. You can learn about the uses of Boric Acid in pest control by reading our article, “Can Boric Acid Kill Insects Safely And Inexpensively?”.

With the exception of during pregnancy, Boric Acid is not harmful to humans. By observing simple safety precautions outlined in the article about Boric Acid, this can be an inexpensive method for getting rid of insect problems in the home.

After Cockroaches ingest Boric Acid, they can go back to the nest before they die. Then these dead cockroaches are eaten by other cockroaches and they too will die. More can be found for the usefulness of Boric Acid for cockroach infestations in our article, “How To Rid Your Home Of Cockroaches: In-Depth Facts & Control Methods.”

Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Roach and Ant Killer

Another option for ridding your home of ants and roaches is Zap-A-Roach Boric Acid Roach and Ant Killer (link to Amazon). Zap-A-Roach comes ready to use with a nozzle that can direct the Boric Acid powder into cracks and crannies. Zap-A-Roach does not stain , can be used on all types of surfaces and is odorless.

When used according to directions it is safe and non-toxic. Many people prefer the use of Zap-A-Roach to maintain their home roach and ant free. Not only is it effective against roaches and ants but it is also effective against water bugs, fleas and silver fish. Place it in the favorite places that bugs like to hide and you will have a much happier pest free home.

Very Bright Flashlight

To successfully hunt for the hiding places of cockroaches in your home you need a very bright flashlight. The Maglite LED 2-Cell Flashlight (link to Amazon) is a good choice that is capable of a beam that reaches over 300 yards.

Maglite manufactures industrial strenght flashlights of high quality that are used by law enforcement and others requiring bright dependable flashlights for the performance of their duties. This is an excellent flashlight to use when inspecting cracks and crannies for cockroaches and other insects.

It’s reasonable cost makes it a favorite around the homestead for many people. We have several Maglite flashlights that we use on our homestead.

Mechanic’s Mirror

We recommend having a mechanic’s mirror when inspecting for cockroaches. A good mechanic’s mirror enables you to see around the corners and into tight spots that it would be difficult to see otherwise.

The Telescoping LED Lighted Flexible Inspection Mirror 360 Swivel for Extra Viewing (link to Amazon) is a great choice because you can turn it, swivel it, extend it plus it is lighted.

Infact, some homesteads have two of these mirrors, one kept in the house and another in the shop because of their usefulness when working on all types of equipment.

Inspection mirrors like this are ideal to use for those who are machinists, toolmakers, inspectors and mechanics. The fact that it has lights makes it expecially useful for dark or hard to see places.

Knee Pads

Professional Knee Pads for Work (link to Amazon) are recommended to protect ones knees for the times you need to be down on them while inspecting for cockroaches. Knee pads also come in handy for when you are working in the garden.

These knee pads also protect knees while kneeling when doing welding, construction jobs when on the homestead and when having to kneel when working on concrete surfaces. Their soft gel core and high density foam make them not only protective but comfortable.

Abrasion-resistant and skid-proof PVC caps helps to protect against cuts or scrapes when on any surface. These knee pads were made for durability and are a vital component of homestead equipment.

Hard Hat

To protect the head from bumps while inspecting for cockroaches that are hiding in hard to get to places you will need a hard hat. A good choice is the AMSTON Safety Hard Hat (link to Amazon).

The Amston Safety Hard Hat meets ANSI standards and is constructed from high-density polyethylene. It’s light weight, comfortable and suitable for both men and women.

Hard hats like this are routinely worn by carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, packers, sawyers, and other laborers. This hard hat has improved circulation of air to reduce heat in hot weather and an adjustable strap for ease of fitting.

Tub and Tile Caulk

To exclude places for cockroaches to hide one of the best ways is to seal up those cracks and crevices in kitchens and bathrooms where they can get into if not sealed properly. Loctite Polyseamseal Tub and Tile Adhesive Caulk (link to Amazon) is a great choice because it is formulated for areas that can get wet and have a higher moisture content.

This Tub and Tile Caulk can be used around bath tubs, sinks, shower stalls, tile and plumbing fictures. It readily adheres to ceramic, porcelain, glass, fiberglass composites, enamel, aluminum, stainless steel, wood, most plastics and wall board.

Loctite Tub and Tile Adhesive is manufactured with a mildewcide so it will resist mold and mildew growth. After application it is easily cleaned up with soap and water prior to curing.

Acrylic Latex Caulk

In any of the areas other than in kitchens and/or bathrooms an Acrylic Latex Caulk is a good choice. It adheres to most surfaces, even masonry, is easy to apply and cleans up with water.

The DAP Alex Painter’s Acrylic Latex Caulk (link to Amazon) would be a good choice to use. I’ve always found DAP brand caulks to be very good products.

Acrylic Latex Caulk is highly durable, sets in about one hour and can last for up to 25 years.

Polyurethane Foam

The best method to keep cockroaches from entering the house where pipes enter the house, around electrical outlets and switch boxes, and in gaps, holes and voids is GREAT STUFF PRO Gaps & Cracks Insulating Foam Sealant (link to Amazon). It expands to fill gaps, is easy to apply, cures readily, has good adhesion and is paint-able.

Great Stuff Pro Insulating Foam will expand to fill cracks up to one inch wide. This also works well to seal cracks in attics, crawl spaces and between concrete blocks and boards. It’s a very valuable product to use to exclude cockroaches and other insect pests from gaining entrance into your home.

Rodent Glue Boards

One of the ways to keep rodents out of your home is to use sticky barriers such as Trapper Max Glue Traps – Glue Boards (link to Amazon). These glue boards come peanut butter scented and will catch and hold mice and insects.

They can be used either flat or folded into a covered trap. Place the where mice or insect activities are known to occur. The glue traps have an easy to remove release paper that gives a fast easy method of removing the trapped mouse or insects.

Insect Trap Adhesives

Placing the Traps Direct Spider & Insect Trap (link to Amazon) underneath table legs or against the sides of counters can trap insects before they climb up onto table tops and counters. This prevents contamination of foods or utensils on table tops and counters without the use of pesticides.

These insect trap adhesives are one of the best methods of trapping and removing cockroaches, spiders and other unwanted insects from inside you home.

Sticky Spray

A useful form of excluding cockroaches and other unwanted insects is Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Sticky Coating Aerosol Spray (link to Amazon). This could be sprayed on table legs or on the legs of metal tables to prevent cockroaches from getting on top and contaminating the table top by walking on it.

The Tangle-Trap Sticky Spray can be used in greenhouses, yards, orchards and gardens to prevent unwanted insects from getting to plants or leaves and fruit of trees.

It can be sprayed on tree trunks and plants stalks to provide a sticky barrier to catch insects. It’s a pesticide free way to catch those unwanted insects.

Teflon Sprays

An indoor alternative to the sticky spray for preventing cockroaches and insects from climbing up on table tops or counters is a Teflon spray such as B’laster Advanced Dry Lube with Teflon (link to Amazon).

Teflon sprays leave a dry powdery film on treated surfaces which will keep cockroaches from climbing up onto tables, counters and furniture. Spray it on the furniture’s legs, table legs or sides and toe space portions of cabinets. Be aware that it will leave a powdery film that can be white in color.

Spectricide Wasp and Hornet Foam Spray

I prefer using non-toxic/non-poisonous methods to control insect pests whenever possible. However, there is one main exception, I routinely use the commercial Spectricide Wasp and Hornet Foam Spray (link to Amazon).

Spectricide sprays up to 27 feet and the potential risks of using toxic poisonous chemicals are more than offset by the additional safety margin to prevent a fall and injury when getting rid of wasps and hornets that requires the use of a ladder.

The Spectricide Foam Spray covers and instantly kills wasps and hornets thereby eliminating the potential for angry wasps or hornets attaching me while I’m up on a ladder. This gives a great margin of safety from falling off of a ladder and breaking an arm, a leg or a worse injury.

Spectricide Foam Spray kills yellow jackets and tent caterpillars on contact as well. The 27 foot spray gives a large margin of safety when eliminating those pests from hard to reach areas.

Wasp Suit

Most people who need to clean out wasp and hornet nests prefer to do so wearing a Wasp Suit. The main difference between a Wasp Suit and a Bee Suit is that a wasp suit is made of thicker material since Wasp stingers are longer than Bee stingers.

A high quality Bee Suit such as the Complete Bee Keeper Suit (link to Amazon) comes with Helmet, Pants and Gloves. Some Pest Control Specialists use this suit when dealing with bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets. It is available in Large or Extra Large or XXL sizes.

This Complete Bee Keeper Suit is made of thicker material than a less expensive Bee Suit so it offers more protection against stings from wasps, hornets and yellow jackets. That said, I would wear at least one layer of clothing underneath this Complete Bee Keeper Suit including long pants and a long sleeved shirt.

It is important to be sure there are no places where an angry stinging insect can get inside the Bee Suit. This includes being sure the ends of sleeves, pants and the area around the neck is completely closed.

If you are allergic to the venom from being stung by bees, wasps, hornets or yellow jackets the price of the Complete Bee Keeping Suit and wearing at least one layer of clothing under it is less than a trip to the local Emergency Room for treatment for getting stung.

Besides, completing a job of cleaning out a nest of sting insects without any stings is a very satisfying job indeed!

Heavy Duty Garbage Bags

Heavy Duty Garbage Bags are a very useful item when dealing with those large hornet nests under the eves of buildings and hanging down from tree limbs on your property. A good choice is the Hefty Strong Multipurpose Large Black Garbage Bags – 30 Gallon (link to Amazon).

The tecnique is to go out early in the morning when it is still cool outside and the hornets are still up inside the large tear drop shaped nests. Many people will prefer to do this wearing the Complete Bee Keeper Suit listed above for added protection. Carefully slip the large plastic trash bag up over the hornets nest and quickly close the draw strings and tie them thightly.

Toss the hornet containing garbage bag out on the lawn where it will be in full sun for a few hours. The sun will heat up the black bag which will effectively kill all the hornets in the bag without the use of chemical sprays and without the chance of your getting stung.

Do not attempt to do this with flimsy trash bags of less than 1 mil thickness, Angry hornets can escape those trash bags.

Sevin 5 Dust

A very effective method of getting rid of underground Yellow Jacket nests is to use Sevin dust. Sevin is available in more than one formulation however, only one of the formulations is best suited for getting rid of underground Yellow Jackets and that is the Sevin 5 Dust Bug Killer (link to Amazon).

The Sevin 5 Dust Bug Killer formulation contains the active ingredient carbaryl. The Sevin formulations containing zeta-cypermethrin and bifenthrin such as Sevin Insect Killer Granules are the best formulation to use on underground Yellow Jackets because granules do not disseminate into underground cavities as well as dusts do.

The Sevin 5 Dust Bug Killer formulation is perfect for use in underground Yellow Jacket nests because it can reach both up into the nest and coat the entrance way from the outside world to the nest in a manner that is effective in getting rid of these stinging pests.

Sevin 5% Dust Bug Killer is also great for use on vegetables providing excellent control of leaf eating and sucking insects.

Sevin 5 should not be used where it can get into a homestead pond or stream as it is lethal to several different varieties of fish and other fresh water creatures.

Yellow Jacket Traps

There is a specific Yellow Jacket trap that is effective in trapping and killing Yellow Jackets when used according to directions. It is the Rescue Bundle: Reusable Yellow Jacket Trap (link to Amazon).

The bait for this Yellow Jacket trap replicates Yellow Jacket sex pheromes which works to draw the Yellow Jackets into the trap. Holes in the bottom of the trap allow the Yellow Jackets to enter and fly up into the clear yellow catch chamber where they die of dehydration.

Place the traps 20 feet away from activity areas such as a pool or deck. It is best to place them in a natural setting such as a tree or hung from a bush. Do not place them closer than 20 feet to a known Yellow Jacket nest.

You can see how many Yellow Jackets are caught in the trap at a glance and the trap comes apart for emptying the dead Yellow Jackets. This trap is reusable and extra pherome bait is available.

Remedies For Stinging Insect Bites

Apple Cider Vinegar

An excellent natural way to help neutralize the venom, reduce the pain, itching and swelling from a bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket sting is to soak a cotton ball with Bragg USDA Gluten Free Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, with The Mother (link to Amazon) and hold it on the sting. We have done this many times here on our homestead and it works great!

Apple Cider Vinegar is organically grown, processed, bottled in accordance to USDA Guidelines and is also Kosher Certified. It’s a wholesome way to add delicious flavor to salads, veggies, most foods.

Apple Cider Vinegar has been well thought of throughout history. In 400 B.C. Hippocrates, father of medicine, used it for its health qualities. Past scientific studies have shown that Apple Cider Vinegar may help reduce high glucose (blood sugar) levels, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Some ladies like to use it on their face, skin, scalp and hair. They mix one part Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and four parts distilled/filtered water.
Others swear by Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with Epsom salts for a foot soak.

Witch Hazel

Quinn’s Alcohol Free Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera (link to Amazon) applied to an insect sting area reduces the swelling, pain and itching. In addition Witch Hazel is effective in relieving irritation from minor cuts and scrapes.

For generations, Witch Hazel has been used as a home first aid remedy and is still a valuable addition to any home medicine cabinet.

Aloe Vera

Another effective method of relieving the pain of a Bee, Wasp, Hornet or Yellow Jacket sting is to apply Aloe Vera Gel to the site. A good choice of Aloe Vera is Organic Aloe Vera Gel with 100% Pure Aloe From Freshly Cut Aloe Plant (link to Amazon).

Other uses for Aloe Vera include soothing sunburn, treating small cuts and scrapes, helping heal rashes, shaving burn and treating scalp itching and relieving dandruff.

Calendula Cream

Another product that we know works to help ease the swelling and help to heal a sting is Boiron Calendula Topical First Aid Cream (link to Amazon).

The flowers of the Calendula officinalis plant, also known as the Pot Marigold, have been used topically for generations to naturally heal skin irritations. Calendula Cream soothes and promotes healing of cuts, scrapes, chafing, minor burns and sunburn. It is a standby by in many families first aid kit.

Essential Oils for Wasp/Hornet Repellents, Bee Stings

Natural Riches Organic Peppermint Oil, USDA Certified Organic, Undiluted, Natural Peppermint Essential Oil (link to Amazon) works wonders when added to a Natural Wasp Spray Formula. Peppermint is also good for repelling other insects and rodents!

We describe how we use this wasp spray on single Wasps, Hornets or Yellow Jackets that you find flying inside or around your plants in the garden or in your greenhouse in our article “Can I Safely (Or Naturally) Get Rid Of Wasps And Hornets.” We also use it in our Natural Wasp Nest Spray Formula as shared also in that article.

But that’s not all Peppermint Essential Oil is useful for. Peppermint’s cool, invigorating and clearing aroma is so refreshing with layers of minty sweetness. Diffuse peppermint essential oil near your desk or gently inhale it helping to keep you alert.

We use it also in our home for helping to relieve tension headaches and migraines by topically applying to the temples, above the ears and back of the neck. It can help relieve asthma and sinus congestion when applied to the chest and back or bottoms of the feet.

Peppermint essential oil also works wonders for sore aching and painful muscles. Peppermint essential oil needs to be diluted with a carrier oil as it is a very potent but wonderful and beneficial oil.

Edens Garden Lavender Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade (Highest Quality Aromatherapy Oils- Skin Care & Stress) (link to Amazon) has been used in our household for a lot of years, an essential oil that we try to never run out of. Not only do we use it for reducing swelling of an insect sting when mixed with a coconut carrier oil, it has been used for many other uses.

Lavender, which means “to wash” in Latin is probably one of the most popular and widely used essential oils worldwide and for good reason. Lavender is a timeless and tranquil scent promoting calm, peaceful serenity. An all around fantastic essential oil, Lavender is so versatile, loaded with benefits.

With its calming properties, Lavender is perfect for sleeping and relaxation. Diffuse a few drops at night to create a warm, calm atmosphere or add a couple of drops onto a pillow for a more restful sleep. Its used a lot for this purpose in our home.

In our household it’s been used to help reduce or get rid of migraines and headaches by putting on the temples and back of the neck. Its been very useful to help reduce the damage caused by cold sores/fever blisters. We add it to coconut oil as a skin lotion to help reduce any skin problems like fine lines, wrinkles, and chapped lips.

Lavender oil works wonders on sunburns, burns and scars, especially when added to coconut oil to soothe and promote skin healing. Adding Lavender oil to handmade soap is absolutely divine. There are so many wonderful benefits and uses for this wonderful essential oil.

Edens Garden Lemongrass Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade (Highest Quality Aromatherapy Oils- Inflammation & Pain) (link to Amazon) is used in our homemade wasp repellent. Besides being useful for repelling insects, it can also be used as a parasite repellent. This can be achieved by combining a few drops with water or fractionated coconut oil in a spray bottle and applying topically.

Add Lemongrass essential oil to a diffuser for a wonderful clean scent to a room. Lemongrass has an electrifying, regenerating and purifying properties that can soothe and regenerate joint, tendon or ligament pain when applied topically to the affected areas.

It another one of those essential oils that can be added to your cleaning routine for a fresh clean scented room. Add it to homemade soap for an amazing scented natural soap. A drop of Lemongrass can also be added to your favorite cooking recipes for more flavorful dishes.

Edens Garden Thyme Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade (Highest Quality Aromatherapy Oils- Inflammation & Pain) (link to Amazon) is an essential oil that is a medicine cabinet mainstay. Thyme with it’s dry, sweet and herbaceous aroma has been championed for its natural properties for centuries.

Thyme is a versatile essential oil that has been used to remedy nervous conditions, soothe painful and achy muscles while also repelling insects. Thyme can be added to a relaxing bath or personal inhaler. We also use it in our homemade bug repellent. It’s another one of those essential oils you really shouldn’t be without.

Like most all essential oils, Thyme has many uses such as helping to relieve asthma when massaged topically onto the chest or diffused aromatically. Blending it with Geranium essential oil its said to also help with illness recovery, MRSA and bladder infections when applied topically to the skin.

In Greek, Thyme means “to fumigate” and is one of the most potent antioxidant essential oils. You simply can’t go wrong when adding this oil to your medicine cabinet.

Edens Garden Tea Tree Essential Oil, 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade (Highest Quality Aromatherapy Oils- Allergies & Inflammation) (link to Amazon) mixed with Olive Oil or Coconut carrier oil can ease the pain when a drop is placed on the area of a sting site.

But Tea Tree, also called Melaleuca, is a perfect example of an oil with natural healing properties. Even before using Tea Tree, this essential oil’s purifying, fresh aroma speaks to its medicinal properties. Offering purifying and healing properties, adding Tea Tree essential oil to all first-aid kits is a must. Tea Tree oil has a long established history for medicinal usage.

We use this Tea Tree oil pre-diluted to support our body’s healing process for wounds, cuts, scratches, blisters, cold sores and bug bites. We have long considered this oil as one of the most versatile and necessary essential oils to have in our medicine cabinet.

It’s simply a must-have oil for anything from infections, burns, skin ailments, healing, gums or fungal problems as an example. Works great as a deodorant, added to homemade shampoo for anti-fungal properties like we do. It’s also great for those who suffer from acne by using on the face every night after moisturizing to prevent pimples. There are so many uses for this wonderful essential oil.

Edens Garden Spearmint 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil (link to Amazon) is one of those oils you just can’t do without! Not only is it perfect for adding to the homemade wasp repellent, it is also good for so many other things.

Spearmint (its not to be confused with Peppermint) with its amazing rich, fresh, clean, and sweeter minty aroma will refresh your senses. Use it in the diffuser for an uplifting and refreshing atmosphere. It’s wonderful to add to your sports massage or to a bath for relaxing and revitalizing sore muscles.

To make the whole house smell wonderfully fresh, try adding a couple of drops to your vacuum cleaner filters. Makes a wonderful exhilarating handmade soap among a lot of other uses.

Coconut Carrier Oil

Plant Therapy Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil (link to Amazon) is our favorite carrier oil for diluting Essential Oils when used as relief from the pain and the swelling of a sting. This coconut carrier oil has a lot of other beneficial uses. Like Virgin Coconut Oil, 100% Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil MCT (Medium-Chain Triglycerides) is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants which makes it a wonderful moisturizer.

Fractionated Coconut Oil, one of the most widely used general carrier oils, always remains in a liquid form and is colorless and odorless. Fractionated Coconut Oil may be used by its self or with any essential oil or blend. It is rapidly absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. It is used as a way to moisturize dry skin and to restore shine and luster to dull, dry hair.

Fractionated Coconut Oil is highly resistant to rancidity and properly stored, it will last for over two years. It has been used to make lip balm, hair loss topicals, and shaving cream. It can be used in the creation of coconut shampoos and conditioners, lotions, soaps, massage oils and other DIY aromatherapy projects.

Hydrocortisone Cream

To help with the itching of the bite or from the sting of a stinging insect, Hydrocortisone Maximum Strength Cream 1% with Aloe (link to Amazon) works great when rubbed over the sting area.

Hydrocortisone Cream is a much prescribed treatment by Dermatologists and other Physicians for a wide variety of skin conditions. 1% Hydrocortisone is the maximum strength of Hydrocortisone that can be purchased in the U.S. without a prescription.

Hydrocortisone Cream provides quick relief from the itching associated with insect bites and stings, poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. It has also been used for relief of common skin conditions such as eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Hydrocortisone is known to be effective in easing the symptoms of itching, redness and discomfort and is a staple in many homestead first aid kits.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) Lotion

Another over-the-counter remedy for the itching associated with insect bites and stings is Benadryl Extra Strength Cooling Anti-Itch Gel, Diphenhydramine (link to Amazon) rubbed over the area.

Benadryl Extra Strength Cooling Anti-Itch Gel provides relief from itching associated with insect bites, sunburn, scrapes, minor skin irritations, burns, and cuts. It also provides relief from itching caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

Benadryl is preferred by some homesteaders over Cortisone Cream. Both are effective remedies for the same conditions. The gel formulation does not leave a oily residue on skin and clothes.

Although both Benadryl and Cortisone work essentially equally well, our favorite is the Benadryl formulation.

Calamine Lotion

Calamine Lotion (link to Amazon) is another over-the-counter remedy for the itching associated with insect bites and stings. Calamine is an anti-itch medicine that creates a cooling sensation as it evaporates on the skin and it can dry the oozing or weeping that sometimes results from minor skin irritation.

Calamine lotion has been used to treat diaper rashes in babies, soothe dry skin and treat chicken pox blisters. It has also been known to aid in treatment of minor skin irritations like psoriasis, eczema and hives.

Calamine lotion contains zinc oxide, which has anti-inflammatory properties which aids in the healing of diaper rash, is thought to help in severe acne treatment and possibly reduce dark spots and some types of scars. Calamine lotion has been used by pregnant women who suffer from itchy skin and occasional spots and blotches on the abdomen.

For homesteaders with children, Calamine lotion in the first aid kit is a great way to help sooth the itching and crusting formed from chicken pox.