Insect Profile: Most Painful Insect Stings In The World

Most people have been bitten by some sort of insect in their life. We all know what pain feels like and we all know what the sting of a bee feels like. But did you know that insect stings are rated on a scale from 0 – 4? The rating system was developed by Justin O. Schmidt an entomologist who personally endured the stings of hundreds of insects all in the name of science. Many of us living in America have no idea the true meaning of painful insect sting. For reference, a fire ant and a paper wasp have a pain index of just one. If you want to find out the true meaning of pain, check out our list of the most painful insect stings in the world. yellow jacket

The Eastern Yellowjacket

Yellowjackets are part of the wasp family and are very common throughout the United States. They can make their nests in old barns, holes in the ground, and hollow logs. They are famous for their aggressive nature and ability to sting multiple times in a row. Most homeowners have some type of experience with these angry wasps and know better than to mess with them.

At Okeena Pest, yellowjacket control is one of our most requested services. Yet, as infamous as they are for their aggression, their stings rank at a two on the Schmidt sting pain index. Schmidt describes the pain as “hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.”

The Velvet Ant

The velvet ant is a bit of a misnomer. The insect is actually not an ant but a type of wingless wasp. They get their “velvet” name from the dense orange hairs that cover their body. Also known as “The Cow Killer,” Velvet ants have one of the longest stingers relative to body size out of all the insects in the animal kingdom. The velvet ant is typically not aggressive but it will attack if threatened and the sting from one of these bad boys is so painful that it is rated a three on the Schmidt pain index and listed as the fourth painful sting in the world. Schmidt describes the pain as, “hot oil from the deep fryer spilling over your entire hand”.

Warrior Wasp

The warrior wasp is mostly found in South and Central America. Once you see one of these suckers you’ll know why they get their name. These wasps can get up to two inches long with jaws longer than their front legs! It has a pain rating of four and Schmidt calls it, “Explosive and long-lasting. You sound insane as you scream.” Sounds like fun. 

Tarantula Hawk Wasptarantual hawk wasp

Ranked at a number 4 on the Schmidt pain index, the tarantula hawk wasp takes the prize as the world’s most painful wasp sting. They are also the largest species of wasp in the world at four terrifying inches. Unlike other wasps, tarantula hawks lead solitary lives and are found across South and Central America and in the southern United States. As their name implies, they hunt tarantulas which are much bigger than they are. Their stingers can be as long as 1/3 to 2/3 of an inch long. The venom that it injects into the spider is designed to paralyze it but not kill it. After that, the female lays her eggs inside the spider. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feast on the still-living spider.

The pain is described by Schmidt as, “Torture. You are chained in the flow of an active volcano. Instantaneous, electrifying, excruciating, and totally debilitating. Blinding, fierce, like a running hairdryer, has been dropped into your bubble bath.”

Bullet Ant

Finally, we come to the most painful sting in the world. Schmidt described the sting of the bullet ant as, “pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail embedded in your heel”, and that pain can last up to 24 hours! Bullet ants are about one inch long and can be easily provoked into defense mode. Their sting, not their bite, releases a neurotoxic peptide that causes severe muscle contractions, a burning sensation, and you guessed it, lots and lots of pain. These ants are used by the Satere-Mawe Tribe in the Amazon rainforest as a part of a manhood ritual. During the rite of passage, boys stick their hands into woven gloves filled with angry Bullet Ants and endure the pain for ten minutes. They repeat the ritual until the boy can take the pain like a man, which can take up to 20 tries. 

Call The Professionals At Okeena Pest Control

If you are having problems with pests in your yard or home then call the pest control experts at Okeena Pest Control. We offer a wide range of pest control services to keep you and your family safe and healthy including wasp control, duct cleaning, and termite control

Call us today and we will send out one of our trained teams to assess your situation. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call us at 731-285-4982 or leave us a message online. You can also connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and don’t forget to check out our blog for more tips and tricks.