How Much Do Stings Hurt?

How Much Do Stings Hurt?

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index was created by a renowned entomologist Justin O. Schmidt. It is a pain scale that rates the relative pain caused by different insect stings.

Schmidt created his pain index (from 0 to 4) after being stung by 78 different species (see below).

Imagine the same type of scale created by the global open water swimming community to similarly describe the stings they received from jellyfish from moon jellies to box jellies. Please send your comments to [email protected]

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.x 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.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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