Is Manuka Honey Good For Insect Bites?

We know that Manuka Honey is an amazing natural superfood that can help with all kinds of ailments: Inflammation in the body, bacterial infections, staph, even fungi and viruses.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it is the wonderdrug that can cure anything.

So today’s question: Can it really help with insect bites as well?

Interestingly, yes.

Comvita is one of the top Manuka honey producers in the world. They’re a listed New Zealand company, and one of the most reputable Manuka brands operating today.

Many years ago, a man was hospitalised with a poisonous bite from a white tail spider. Unfortunately, the man lost a finger in the incident. This prompted Comvita to publicize that one of its products – Manuka Honey Wound Gel, had shown in case studies to be effective at healing such spider bites. You can read the full story here.

One thing that Manuka Honey is most well known for is its antibacterial action due to the very high concentration of methylglyoxal (MGO) that no other food has.

This is such an effective antibiotic because bacteria is unable to form any kind of resistance to it like it can to synthetic antibiotics.

Some researchers think this is the reason why it can be effective against some spider and insect bites, though more study is needed to confirm exactly why and how this happens. However, it is believed that the antibacterial action of the honey, along with the soothing of redness and swelling that most natural honeys provide, is a powerful two-pronged treatment that proves very effective.

In any case, Manuka honey is well known to increase the healing speed of all wounds, including cuts, scrapes, scratches and bites, so using Manuka honey on any wound type is always a useful way to aid healing.

For example, this study found that:

The use of manuka honey as a wound dressing material in our study has proved to promote the growth of tissues for wound repair, suppress inflammation, and bring about rapid autolytic debridement.

There have been many such studies showing Manuka honey’s effectiveness in hastening wound healing and preventing infection.

How to use Manuka honey to treat insect bites

If you ever have an insect bite that is causing swelling, here’s how we do it in our household:

  • Wash it properly.
  • Apply some high UMF Manuka Honey directly to it. We recommend UMF 24 Manuka honey by NZ Honey Co.
  • Leave for 2-3 hours.
  • Apply some ice for two minutes, then reapply the honey.
  • Continue until relief.

Who are we?

I'm Erin, and my husband and I have been raising bees in Northern New Zealand for over 30 years. We no longer raise bees on Manuka flowers, but it remains one of our favorites, and we eat it daily, among other honeys like Kamahi and Rata. Since Manuka has grown in popularity overseas in recent years, we thought we should educate people on the true benefits of Manuka and how to find quality Manuka honey. Above is our guide, written by us and designed by our brilliant computer whiz of a son, Byron. We hope you find it helpful! Learn more about us here.