The Schmidt Pain Index

Developed by Justin O. Schmidt in the 80's, the intent of this scale was to classify the degrees of torture inflicted by the stings of the insect class Hymenoptera, which includes ants, bees and wasps. For research purposes, Schmidt was personally stung many times over by most Hymenoptera species. In addition to his 1-to-4 point scale, he employed colorful language to describe the sensations (word of the day: Synesthesia - stimulation of a sense or cognitive pathway, leading to an involuntary experience in a second sense). All descriptions are direct quotes. Click on the names to learn more about each insect.

Fire ant: (1.2)
"Like walking across a shag carpet & reaching for the light switch."

Honey bee: (2.0)
"Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin."

Red harvester ant: (3.0)
"Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail."

Tarantula hawk: (4.0)
"A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath."

Bullet ant: (4.0+)
"Walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel."

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