The 10 most painful stings on the planet, by the self-sacrificing man who tried 150 different varieties in the name of science


Most of us will have felt the pain of a bee sting. Luckily most of us will have avoided the dreaded pain of a tarantula hawk or a fire ant.
Justin Schmidt felt all three of these - and 147 other horrible, burning sensations - after a dedicated life-long career devoted to insects.
On numerous fieldwork trips, The University of Arizona entomologist would find himself digging up living colonies of creatures, who in turn were not happy with this destructive human scooping them into bags - and promptly sank their fangs, stingers or pincers into him.

Still, no pain, no gain, and Schmidt turned his experiences into the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, ranking 78 species in a list which, while subjective, was put together by the man who must surely know best, ranking their pain on a scale of 1 to 4.
He also gave un-scientific-sounding but apt descriptions for each pain, for instance the sting of the yellowjacket wasp felt 'hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.'.

According to io9, entomologist May Berenbaum described Schmidt's char as: 'A scale from 0 to 4, in which 0 was defined as the sensation of being stung by an insect that cannot penetrate human skin to 2, a familiar intermediate pain (honey bee), to 4, an intensely painful sting.'
If you think you can handle the all stings in the world, Schmidt made two other findings that might change your views.
FIrstly, Schmidt said that the more painful a sting felt, the more aggressive the species tended to be.

And, adding further insult injury, some creatures would also release a pheromone with their sting - telling other insects to join in the fun and give more stings to the victim.
If that has still not put you off a sting, io9 reported how the stingers affected our bodies.
'First, enzymes soften, then burst open cellular membranes. Some of these cells, inevitably, will be nerve cells. Wrecking these cells screws up all the electrochemical signaling that nerve cells do, so they end up firing off signals more or less at random.
'Other chemicals restrict blood flow, keeping the pain-causing stuff undiluted and in one place.'
Luckily, most of us will hopefully go through life with little more than the odd sting from a passing wasp or defensive bee - but spare a thought for Schmidt, who is bravely sacrificing his body in the name of science.

source: dailymail