Ranking the Excruciating Pain of Stinging Insects

There are enough painful stinging insects in the world that an official Schmidt’s Sting Pain Index has been created.

Named after biologist Justin Schmidt who studied insects and even subjected himself to their incredibly painful stings, the late scientist helped qualify the pain with colorful, creative descriptions of how they feel.

Atlas Obscura has a great article giving tribute to this brave and possibly foolish scientist, and talks about the discovery of these particular insects, and how their levels of pain can vary so much.

They include an infographic, which maps which insects are the most painful, along with descriptions like the Warrior Wasp:

“Torture. You are chained in the flow of an active volcano. Why did I start this list?” 

And the relatively tame Unstable Paper Wasp:

“Like a dinner guest who stays much too long, the pain drones on. A hot dutch oven lands on your hand and you can’t get it off.”



Read more about Schmidt and his pain index on Atlas Obscura.