Here’s a simple way to relieve the pain of a bee or wasp sting. Take a sugar cube, add a drop of water, and place it on the offending area. Through osmosis, the cube will draw out the toxin and the swelling will start to go down. Simple.
Here’s an even better way: Use one of Martin Wenckens’s Bee-Patches, which are based on the same principle. A sort of Band-Aid coated with a sugar membrane, it will remove most of the discomfort within half an hour.
Wenckens, who has a PhD in chemistry, came up with the idea after seeing the sugar trick on TV. The patch is now on sale in Denmark and is widely used in schools and kindergartens, according to the inventor. He says it’s particularly good for children and young mothers, who may not be able to take antihistamines or hydrocortisones. The patch contains no drugs and has no side effects.
Tests with Danish beekeepers found the patches reduce 66% of pain within 30 minutes and 77% within an hour. Swelling went down 60 to 90%, Wenckens says.
The Bee-Patches cost about $10 for a box of five condom-like foil packets. They’re available across Europe, and online, but haven’t yet found a distributor in the U.S. “It’s a very, very simple medical device that works well,” Wenckens says. “And it can be used by everybody, even children.”