This Is The Worst Insect Sting In The World
Huffington Post - 5 months
This post originally appeared on National Geographic.
One day while Justin Schmidt was riding his bicycle, something went terribly wrong.
“I was huffing and puffing, so my mouth was open, and this damn honeybee flew right in and stung me on the tongue,” he says. He tumbled to the ground, flailing in agony. Later he described the sting as “immediate, noisome, visceral, debilitating. For 10 minutes, life is not worth living.”
It wasn’t the worst sting possible (we’ll get to that), but its intensity surprised him—which is surprising in itself, because Schmidt, a University of Arizona entomologist, has been stung over a thousand times and is famous for developing the Schmidt Pain Scale for Stinging Insects, a four-point scale with descriptions of agony that read like hoity-toity tasting notes for Scotch.
The red paper wasp, for instance, rates a 3 with pain that’s “caustic and burning, with a distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric
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