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Insect sting pain scale revealed

24 July 2013 09:32

A bumblebee sting is classed as level two on a researcher's scale

A bumblebee sting is classed as level two on a researcher's scale

There are scales to measure the strength of earthquakes, the speed of winds and even the spicy heat of chili peppers.

And now there is a scale of pain felt after insect bites.

A researcher who claims he has been bitten more than 150 times has come up with a scale, ranging from a small reaction to the worst pain one could imagine.

Justin Schmidt, from the Southwestern Biological Institute, said one on the scale would be caused by insects such as fire ants.

He said a one on the scale would trigger a sharp pain, but it would not be enough to make you drop anything you may be holding. He said a fire ant bite was a sharp, piercing sting, which promotes the reaction to just brush them off yourself. He said that was the limit of its effect on a normal healthy adult.

Level two would come from being stung by a honeybee or bumble bee.

None of those would normally require medical attention, but a sting Mr Schmidt would rate as a three or four on his scale might. And seeing as the insects capable of delivering such stings are more exotic than those found in the UK, it is another reason why having travel insurance when on holiday is vitally important. Of course, if you have an existing health problem you should look into medical travel insurance.

Mr Schmidt described a level four sting, such as a bite from a tarantula wasp, as feeling as though you have been hit by 20,000 volts.

The researcher said a bullet ant had the most painful sting he had experienced. Not only would it make you drop anything you were holding, you would likely want to throw anything you had in your hands. He added that a bullet ant bite made him want to lie down and die, and that he was screaming in pain and agony.

Another insect Mr Schmidt claims will give you a level four sting is the warrior wasp.

Mr Schmidt's said being bitten by insects doesn't worry him, as none of the bites have a lasting impact.