The Most Painful Sting in the World

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What’s the most painful sting in the insect world?

In the jungles of Panama Steve faced his fear and handled a mind blowingly painful stinger–the bullet ant.

A sting from most ants is nothing more than a painful nip, often with a bit of formic acid thrown in. But not the bullet ant. As its name suggests, a sting from one of these is like being shot!

In 1984, a man named Justin Schmidt published a paper in the journal Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. He subjected himself to the stings of 78 different insects which resulted in the Schmidt Pain Index with stings rated from 0 (no effect) to a maximum of 4 (most painful). Here are some of his pain ratings and his amusingly vivid descriptions.

1.0 – Sweat Bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. As if 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 – Yellow jacket; Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

2.0 – Honey Bee: Like a match head that flips off and burns on your skin.

3.0 – Red Harvest 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 Wasp: 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. I’d take his word for it if I were you!

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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