Bug Blog

Bring On the Pain!

Bring On the Pain!

A professor at the University of Arizona has just done what is probably one of the bravest acts a human can do. He’s willingly let over one thousand insects and over 80 species of insect sting him in order to come up with an insect sting pain index. Not one to let his lackeys do his dirty work, the professor decided to use himself as the guinea pig for his research on insect stings. His goal is to use his research to help treat people with chronic pain.

Dr. Justin Schmidt claims that most of the stings come by accident, but some he has to coax into inflicting pain. His pain index ranges from a rating of zero all the way to a four. He rates the stings by how painful they are and how much swelling and redness occurs. At the bottom of the list is the tphiid wasp, whose sting humans can’t even feel. At number one it’s a tie between the sweat bee and the fire ant. Those stings are mostly surprising, rather than incredibly painful. Number two goes to the hardworking honey bee, with a sting that makes you want to swat the nasty bugger. The harvester ant comes in at number three, and at the top of the chart is the tarantula hawk, a wasp whose sting will make you “keel over, roll down and scream.”

Have you ever been stung by any of these insects? How do they rate on your pain scale?