Top 10 MOST PAINFUL Bug BITES and STINGS
In the insect kingdom, there are what some people call the “Nopes” and then there are critters that put the “Nopes” to shame. For this creepy crawly Archive, we’re looking at what we’d like to call the “Absolute Nopes,” creatures of the insect kingdom that are known for one thing – having the ten most painful bites or stings.
What could possibly have dethroned the Bullet Ant as the insect with the most painful sting? Oh, what’s this? Just some winged nightmare fuel, that’s what! The Warrior Wasp looks about as painful as John Schmidt described it as being. According to the entomologist, when stung by this Central and South American monstrosity, it’s pure torture for up to two hours followed by days of intense swelling. Actually, his exact words were that it felt like “you are chained in the flow of an active volcano.” This flying death-copter is an aggressive beast that should have you running in the other direction when you see it.
At only 1.2 inches or 30 millimeters long, the Bullet Ant was best known for a while for sporting the most painful insect bite in the world. According to the Schmidt Pain Index, the pain can last steadily for upwards of 24 hours. Now get this - even though described as “pure, intense and brilliant” the bullet-like pain of this ant is used in Satere-Mawe initiation rituals. To be considered a man, young men stick their hands in a glove which is filled with bullet ants. For ten minutes, they have to endure the extreme pain of multiple bites.
Tarantula Hawk Wasp
It has a pain level of four and was named for its ability to hunt and kill tarantulas – so you can probably guess just how painful its sting is. If you need a hint, though, the sting of this American wasp has been described as “blinding, fierce and shockingly electric.” Luckily, the pain subsides pretty quickly, lasting only three minutes or so. Overall, the Tarantula Hawk Wasp is mostly docile and typically only stings when provoked and despite being so painful, an allergic reaction is the only medical concern that could arise from an unfortunate encounter. Then again, if Coyote Petersons’ screams of agony tell us anything, death may be the desired outcome.
Florida Harvester Ant
“Hey Mr. Archive, it’s only an ant. How painful can it be,” you ask only moments before it bites you and you keel over, tears welling in your eyes. If this list has told us anything by now, something doesn’t have to be big to cause us pain, and the bite of the Florida Harvester Ant is just another example. Though not aggressive in nature, the Harvester can deliver a painful sting when agitated, complete with a potent venom that, while not life-threatening, can cause an allergic reaction. The pain can be lasting and is known to persist throughout the day.
But… but it sounds so soft and cuddly. Regardless of its common name given to the Mutillidae for the pile of hair on its body, the Velvet Ant is anything but soft. In fact, you may even know this tiny insect by its other name – Cow Killer. On Schmidt’s scale, the hairy ant scores a pain level of 3, with its bite equated to “explosive and long-lasting” and “hot oil from the deep fryer spilling over your entire hand.” Avoiding the Velvet Ant bite is pretty easy as it’s not normally aggressive. Should you get bitten, though, expect at least 30 minutes of excruciating pain.
Red Paper Wasp
At a pain index of 3 on Schmidt’s scale, the Red Paper Wasp is a bit more than a simple nuisance. Growing up to 1-inch or 2.5-centimeters long, the Paper Wasp, or Umbrella Wasp, are generally peaceable unless provoked, but have been known to break character and sting without being triggered. Once stung, the pain can last up to 15 minutes and is accompanied by a grueling burning sensation. According to the scale, it’s described as being similar to “spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.”
Yak Killer Hornet
Despite its name, the Yak Killer, or the Asian Giant Hornet, isn’t known for actually killing yaks. Rather, it’s the .24-inch or 6-millimeter long stinger that produces a nasty sting that’s really this critter’s claim to fame. Painful and dangerous, the Giant Hornet releases a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin that can be fatal despite if the target has an allergic reaction or not. After being stung, some have described the pain similar to having a hot nail driven through their leg, and, shockingly, these aggressive hornets can sting multiple times.
A member of the Yellow Jacket family, the European Hornet, the only true hornet found in North America, is another aggressive winged beast to keep your eye out for. At an average of 1.4 inches or roughly 35 millimeters long, the European Hornet has a barbed stinger that remains attached to it, giving it the opportunity to sting its target multiple times. Even if you don’t swell up and suffer an allergic reaction, the level of pain you’ll be in is enough to ruin your day. In short, it’s painful enough to want to avoid.
Have you ever slammed your hand inside of a car door? According to the Schmidt scale, that’s about the same level of pain as getting stung by the Bald-Faced Hornet. Luckily, the pain typically only lasts for up to four minutes, but that’s four minutes you won’t likely forget anytime soon. The Bald-Faced Hornet can grow to about 20 millimeters or roughly .78 inches in length, are typically only most aggressive when their nest is in danger and has a smooth stinger that allows them to sting their victim multiple times.
Common Yellow Jacket
Helping us compile this list of painful bites is the Schmidt Pain Index, compiled by entomologist Justin O. Schmidt. The scale ranges from 0, or least painful, to 4, that’s pain that’ll make you want to die. Our first entry, the Yellow Jacket, is a nasty little critter common in North America. The sting is mostly bearable, falling in the middle of Schmidt’s scale, being described as “hot and smoky” and “almost irreverent,” like a cigar being put out on your tongue. Sounds unpleasant enough and luckily only lasts about 10 minutes. So long as you don’t disturb a nest and pose a threat, it’s fairly easy to avoid being stung.