Stinging Insect Pain Index – This hurts to read!

Stinging Insect Pain Index – This hurts to read!

Not infrequently, allergists are faced with a patient who has had an allergic reaction to an insect but has not been able to identify the culprit. Allergy testing can help identify the cause of the allergy. In cases where the allergy was mild and testing was therefore not warranted, another way to identify the elusive critter is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Justin O. Schmidt subjected himself to the stings of 78 species and 41 genera of hymenoptera. He developed a pain scale from 0 to 4. He also added personalized distinctions between the insect stings.

Some cogent examples from the pain index:

 1.0 Sweat bee: light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

 1.2 Fire ant: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.

 1.8 Bullhorn ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.

 2.0 Hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.

 2.0 Yellow jacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

 2.0 Honeybee: Like a match head that flips off and burns your skin.

 3.0 Harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting, someone is using a drill to excavate your in-grown toenail.

 3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic and burning with a distinct bitter aftertaste; like spilling hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

 4.0 Pepsis wasp: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric — a non-fatal version of a running hair drier being dropped into your bubble bath.

 4.0+ Bullet ant: Pure, intense, brilliant pain; like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel.

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