Weird Nature How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index  

analise.dubner
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Think bug-scientists are timid wimps with butterfly nets and high-pants? Not Justin O. Schmidt. Back in 1984 he wanted to rank the painfulness of insect stings, specifically those of the Hymenoptera Order. He let himself (goaded them) be stung by each of the 10 adorable beauties on this list and then wrote brilliant mini-observations about the sensation -- presumably after he recovered. Schmidt has been stung (to date) by over 150 different species, so who better to rank the pain? 

 Images found on Flikr and Wikipedia, credited where asked.

1
Bullet Ant is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Bullet Ant 4.0+
SCHMIDT INDEX

Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal witha 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.

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2
Tarantula Hawk is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Tarantula Hawk 4.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair dryer has been dropped in your bubble bath.

3
Red Harvester Ant is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Red Harvester Ant 3.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.

4
Paper Wasp is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Paper Wasp 3.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Caustic and burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

5
European Hornet / Honey Bee is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
European Hornet / Honey Bee 2.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Like a matchhead that flips off and burns your skin.

6
Yellowjacket is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Yellowjacket 2.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

7
Bald-faced hornet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Bald-faced hornet 2.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.

8
Bullhorn Acacia Ant is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Bullhorn Acacia Ant 1.8
SCHMIDT INDEX

A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.

Photo by: Ryan Somma

9
Fire ant is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Fire ant 1.2
SCHMIDT INDEX

Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.

10
Sweat Bee is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list How Painful is That Sting? The Schmidt Pain Index
Sweat Bee 1.0
SCHMIDT INDEX

Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm,