We were looking up sweat bees online yesterday (don't remember why) and found a great Wikipedia article on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
...subsequently, Schmidt has refined his scale, culminating in a paper published in 1990 which classifies the stings of 78 species and 41 genera of Hymenoptera. Notably, Schmidt described some of the experiences in vivid and almost synesthetic detail:
- 1.0 Sweat bee: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. 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 and 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 Yellowjacket: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
- 2.x Honey bee and European hornet: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns on your skin.
- 3.0 Red harvester ant: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
- 3.0 Paper wasp: Caustic and burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
- 4.0 Pepsis 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.