Honey Bee Sting Pain Index

Have you ever wondered where the most painful location to be stung might be?

Michael L. Smith of Cornell University, was recently awarded an Ig Nobel prize for his work in researching which part of the (male) human body was most painful in receiving a honeybee sting.

An abstract from his research:
"The Schmidt Sting Pain Index rates the painfulness of 78 Hymenoptera species, using the honey bee as a reference point. However, the question of how sting painful- ness varies depending on body location remains unanswered. This study rated the painfulness of honey bee stings over 25 body locations in one subject (the author). Pain was rated on a 1–10 scale"
If you want to read the research paper along with the graph on page 5 listing the locations of his sting tests and the results, you can find it here.

I don't know about you, but when I get stung, my reaction is to immediately move back, locate and remove the stinger to prevent more toxin from entering my skin.

Below is another excerpt from the study, describing how the bees were obtained, made to sting and how long the stinger was left in the skin before removed.
Guard bees were collected in a cage, and used immediately. Bees were taken from the cage  haphazardly with forceps. To apply the sting, the bee was grabbed by the wings and pressed against the desired sting location. The bee was held against the sting location until the sting was first felt, and kept at the location for 5 s to ensure that the stinger would penetrate the skin. The bee was pulled away after 5 s, leaving the stinger in the skin. The stinger was left in the skin for 1 min, and then removed with forceps.

Whoa, having the bee kept in place for 5 seconds, and then not touching the stinger for a full 60 seconds must have been painful!

But I suppose it was worth it to receive the prestigious Ig Nobel Award!

Comments For This Post: (2) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   September 24, 2015, 6:43 am

Funny!   He must have been desperate for a research topic.

Mark Martin says...
Date:   September 24, 2015, 10:41 am

Yikes.  I've never even heard of a Bullet Ant or a Tarantula Hawk.  And I'm a little scared to even Google the Tarantula Hawk!

Uhhhhh, did you look at the sting location diagram?  This is the reason that he had to do this research himself.  I'm not stinging myself in the scrotum no matter how much they are paying me.  Just sayin'    =)

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