a fire ant

Q. Let’s talk about the crawling wasps and hornets of the American Southwest–fire ants and scorpions. These critters give a wallop of a bite or sting without the warning of a buzz.

Years ago, when I moved to Texas with a toddler I was freaked out just by seeing a scorpion. Poison control in San Marcos, Texas, told me to keep meat tenderizer–the kind with papaya extract in it–on hand for bee stings, scorpions and fire ants. Add a little water to a scant handful of tenderizer and put the paste on the sting immediately. It works!

The poison control people also said we should keep tetanus shots up to date because stinging things, especially fire ants, can spread infection.

A. The papaya extract in meat tenderizer breaks down proteins, including the proteins in stings. It is a time-honored treatment for bee and wasp stings. Scorpion stings might be too serious for home remedies. If a child is stung, medical attention would be prudent.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Laura

    Works perfectly on scorpion stings as well. My husband stepped on a scorpion barefoot and needless to say got stung. I made a paste of coconut oil and Adolph’s Meat tenderizer and within 1/2 hr the pain had moved back to just the sight and within an hour was almost totally gone. His foot never swelled up.

  2. mac

    I rescued a dog from a rescue center–she is still a pup and the vet told us to use Adolph’s meat tenderizer on her food–just a sprinkle–and sure enough it works. She was “eating” her poop–yes disgusting, but it was something she picked up as a stray–the Adolph’s makes her poop smell terrible–to her only–and has kept her from eating it. Thank God for Adolphs!

  3. Robert H. Spielman

    I had been in the high desert of Oregon several years ago, artifacting ,(arrow heads, etc.) and when I saw an arrow head lying beneath some sage brush, I picked it up, and I felt a sharp prick on the back of my hand, and really thought nothing of it, since there were shrp thorns around the area as well, but later that evening, my hand had a swelling starting and there was a “purplish” discoloration around that area. Well, being with the rest of”The Desert Rangers”… we knew what to do…. we applied the “Adolphs ” treatment! This treatment was told to us by a Paramedic, from when we took a first aid course. He said that was the “preffered treatment” for bee stings, etc. However, he said that the Paramedics could not say that they had put a substance on the sting, that was not “approved” , so they called it the “Adolphs Treatment”!
    As an aside,as a little kid, and getting stung by bees when playing, Mom always made a paste of baking soda and we put that on the sting… that fixed it up just fine… Mom’s know what to Do!!!

  4. Noemi Weil

    In 2005 the Mediterranian Sea
    was swarming with jellyfish.
    They go in cycles. When I went swimming off the island of Malta I got stung three times. Boy it really hurts and very irritating. My cousin first cleaned the spot with alcohol then applied a paste made from meat tenderizer and water. It took the sting out quickly although the mark itself took longer to heal. So, meat tenderizer, made into a paste, helps with other stings as well. One should carry alcohol and meat tenderizer anytime you go outdoors and swim in the ocean or sea. You never know when a jellyfish may strike.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.