One man voluntarily subjected himself to the most painful insect stings and ranked them. The Schmidt sting pain index is the work of Justin Schmidt, a US entomologist based in Arizona.
Schmidt used a ranking system of 0-4, with 0 being ineffectual, 2 being on par with a regular bee or wasp sting, and 4 being excruciatingly painful. The best part? His descriptions, which are quite specific and a bit off-the-wall.
These start fairly insubstantial:
- “Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. As if a tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.” (Sweat Bee)
- “Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.” (Yellow Jacket)
Before getting a bit more painful:
- “Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a power drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.” (Florida Harvester Ant)
- “There are gods, and they do throw thunderbolts. Poseidon has rammed his trident into your breast.” (Giant Paper Wasp)
Then we have some of the worst stings, which get a 4 on the pain scale. I’m not sure what the consensus number 1 most painful sting is but it seems to be a toss up between these three: