The Schmidt sting pain index

The Schmidt sting pain index

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: