Are you ready to do the mosquito-slap or biting-fly-swat dance at family barbecues or picnics? Those hungry pests always find the spot where you forgot to spray. Then it’s scratch, scratch, scratch for days to come. Here’s some handy quick relief for the itch of bug bites….

Please note that if it’s a sting with an embedded stinger, apply these remedies around the stung area. Do not put directly onto broken skin. And by all means, if you are allergic to bee or other insect stings, make sure you carry with you whatever emergency treatment your doctor prescribes.

Here’s help for bug bites at a barbecue or picnic…

Salt treatment: Moisten the itchy area with water. Then take a pinch of salt (coarse kosher salt or sea salt is preferable), and gently rub it on the area. Stop when the itching stops—most likely in a few minutes. The salt helps to exfoliate and detox your skin and should reduce inflammation.

Strong solution: If you can sneak into your hostess’s maintenance closet, grab some ammonia and mix about one-half teaspoon with one teaspoon of water and gently dab the itchy area with this solution.

Sour power: Combine equal parts of vinegar (any kind) and lemon juice, and dab on every five minutes until the itch disappears.

Curing condiment: Apply mustard to the area to help relieve the pain, itch and redness.

Ice is nice: Grab a few ice cubes and numb the redness until you can apply stronger stuff.

If you’re out in the wilderness, try these natural fixes…

Mud’s the word: Wet mud is one of the oldest and most practical remedies for stings. It’s best to make “fresh mud” out of clean water and dirt. Apply a thin layer to the area, and let dry. If you haven’t already removed the stinger, scraping off the dry mud will help draw it out.

Healing leaves of three:  As soon as you know you’ve been bitten by a bug, take three leaves from three different kinds of trees, and mash them with your fingers (unless you happen have a mortar and pestle outside with you). When the juice of the leaves comes out, apply it to the bite. In minutes, the pain should be gone as the bite starts to heal. (Just make sure the leaves are from a tree and not a plant or vine, such as poison ivy, which will only make the itching worse!)