The Schmidt Sting Pain Index was written by Justin Schmidt, an entomologist who says he's been stung by 150 species (more than 1,000 times in total). The pain scale ranges from 1 to 4, with the bullet ant and tarantula hawk wasp ranked as having the most excruciating stings. The first version of the pain index was published in a 1983 paper, but since then, Schmidt has revised it to add more insect species and colorful prose. The quotes about each sting appeared in a 1996 Outside magazine article, where Schmidt elaborated on the painful sensations.
The Schmidt Sting Pain Index
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Key Facts In This Video
The tarantula hawk has the most painful sting of any insect in the U.S. 00:48
Understanding chemistry is necessary to studying and harnessing the power of insect venom. 01:24
The Sonoran Desert is home to an impressive variety of stinging insects. 02:01