Nature & Environment
The Schmidt index - which insect has the most painful sting ?
By T.K. Randall
April 26, 2023 · 9 comments
Don't try this at home... Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 William Cho
Dr Justin Schmidt, who died back in February, spent years being stung and bitten by dozens of different insects.
Imagine allowing yourself to be stung by wasps and bitten by ants over and over again - all so that you could find out first-hand what it actually felt like and to determine which of them was the most painful.
This was the work of Dr Justin Schmidt - an American entomologist who famously spent years cataloguing and describing the pain of being stung or bitten by 78 different insects.
His findings - published in 2016 as the Schmidt Sting Pain Index
- ranked all 78 of these experiences.
Among the worst were the warrior wasp - the sting of which caused pain similar to the sensation of being "chained in the flow of an active volcano" - and the bullet ant - which he described as "pure, intense, brilliant pain; like walking over a flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail embedded in your heel."
The tarantula hawk wasp was also pretty bad, with a sting described as "blinding, fierce, shockingly electric - a running hair dryer has just been dropped into your bubble bath."
The red fire ant, meanwhile, delivered pain that was "sharp, sudden, mildly alarming - like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch."
Given what the late Dr Schmidt had to go through to put his index together, it's unlikely that anyone else is going to be clambering to write a follow-up volume anytime soon.
Source: Mail Online
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