Q. I love wasps, bee, mud daubers and anything else that flies and buzzes. My friends call me a ‘bee charmer.’ I'm the one who carries them outside to fly free.
When I was reaching for a log on the woodpile today, though, I accidentally trapped one between my finger and a falling log. It stung me and caused excruciating pain. My hand also started inflating.
I searched online and found your Web site. Cut onion on the sting worked in 20 minutes to stop the swelling and ease the pain.
I don't blame the wasp. I will continue to protect them, but I’ll check a log before picking it up.
A. We first heard about using a cut onion on a sting about 20 years ago. A reader had learned this trick from his German neighbor.
We checked with world-renowned onion chemist, Dr. Eric Block of the State University of New York at Albany. He agreed that a fresh-cut onion might ease the pain of an insect sting because an ingredient in onions breaks down the chemicals responsible for inflammation and discomfort. Other readers have used fresh onion juice to soothe the pain from a minor kitchen burn.