What Insect Has The Most Painful Sting?

Bee stings suck, and they extra-suck if you happen to be allergic to them. But a bee's sting is really nothing compared to the stings of some of the world's other insects. 

According to the BBC, the world's most painful insect sting is delivered by the bullet ant, a large species that lives in the rainforests of South America. How do we know it's the most painful sting in the world? Well, we don't, really — that's a totally subjective question, and it could really only be answered by someone who has actually been stung by all or most of the world's most impressively painful stingers. But wait, we actually do have someone like that: Entomologist Justin Schmidt, who's not just a dude who's been stung more than 1,000 times by 150 plus different species of insect, he's also the dude who developed the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which categorizes the pain intensity of an insect's sting on a scale of one to four. Schmidt says the sting of a bullet ant is "pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch nail embedded in your heel." Ouch.

The bullet ant isn't the only insect with a really painful sting

In case you still need something to compare that to, the sting of a fire ant ranks just a one on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Honey bee and yellow jacket stings rank two. Paper wasps and harvester ants land a three, and the bullet ant is at the top with a four. Schmidt says it's the most painful of all the stings he's experienced, but it's not the only insect that is rated at a four on his sting pain index — there's also the tarantula hawk wasp, which uses its venom to subdue tarantulas, so that's exactly how badass it is. Schmidt calls the sting from one of those "blinding, fierce, shockingly electric." Good to know. And thank you, Dr. Schmidt, for offering yourself up as the guinea pig of that little experiment. Wouldn't want to be you.