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Schmidt Sting Pain Index: OUCH !Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at 11:40 AM
While investigating a friend's outbreak of flying ants at his home and assuring him that they were not termites, I ran across this interesting bit of insect trivia: The Schmidt Sting Pain Index. It seems that Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, developed it a few years back in an attempt to rate insect stings, the same way we have a scale to rate tornadoes (Fugita scale), hurricanes (Safford-Simpson scale), earthquakes (Richter scale), hot peppers (Scoville units) and so on.
The following are just a few of his rather humorous descriptions of the stings:
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 & reaching for the light switch.
1.8 Bullhorn acacia ant: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.
2.0 Bald-faced hornet: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
2.0 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
2.5 Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
4.0 Tarantula hawk: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been 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.
Now, don't you agree that his descriptive terminology is superb. And who hasn't experienced all of those painful experiences at least once in their life? Well, I must admit on that last one, fire walking with a rusty nail in one's foot, I've never personally tried to do those two at the same time, just on separate occasions.
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