Steve Backshall and the Deadly 60 team trek deep into the hot and muddy jungle to seek out one of the world’s most elusive birds of prey. But no Deadly 60 trip is without its surprises, and when Steve meets an old enemy his nerves truly are put to the test.
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.