1) Hate your day job
2) Think Praemonitus, Praemunitus (Forewarned is Forearmed)
3) Urgently need to imagine an enemy in pain
Justin O. Schmidt is an entomologist from the Carl Hayden Bee Research Centre in Arizona and he has kindly dedicated his entire life to do all the research needed to provide the rest of us with the Schmidt Sting Pain Index to rate the relative pain caused by Hymenopteran (order of sawflies, wasps, bees and ants) stings.
In a paper published in 1990 Schmidt classified the stings of 78 species and 41 genera of Hymenoptera and in 1996 the following summary was coerced from the man himself by Outside magazine.
THE SCHMIDT STING PAIN INDEX
10 SWEAT BEE
9 FIRE ANT
8 BULLHORN ACACIA ANT
7 BALD FACED HORNET
5 HONEY BEE & EUROPEAN HORNET
4 RED HARVESTER ANT
3 PAPER WASP
2 TARANTULA HAWK
1 BULLET ANT
MORE FACTS ABOUT PAIN AND INSECTS
* The bullet ant can be found in the rainforests of Central America between Nicaragua and Paraguay where the locals weave the ants into clothes made of leaves as part of their initiation rites. Initiates have to wear the jacket for 10 minutes at a time… and repeat the exercise 20 times.
Steve Backshall tried it for himself:
* Species with the most painful stings tend to be the most aggressive and even release a pheromone that calls other insects to the biting party.
* Why do insect stings hurt? Because the enzymes released burst open our cellular membranes – including those of the nerve cells which directly short circuits our electrochemical signalling and results in more signals fired at random. Chemicals can also restrict blood flow to concentrate the pain.
* A dolorimeter is an instrument used to measure pain threshold and pain tolerance
* The Starr sting pain scale created by entomologist Christopher Starr also measures overall pain of Hymenopteran stings and he is in agreement with the Jason Schmidt scale rating (from least to most painful) the Southern Fire Ant, Honey bee, Africanized Bee, Bumble Bee, Yellowjacket,, Velvet ant, Paper Wasp, Pepsis Wasp and in the number one spot yet again the Bullet Ant.