SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - It don’t mean a thing it if ain’t got that sting.
Meet Justin Schmidt, an Entomologist affectionately known as the King of Sting. He’s been stung thousands of times by a variety of insects, all on purpose.
Why you ask? Because science.
Schmidt seeks stingers to compile data for his sting pain scale, the Schmidt Pain Scale of Stinging Insects. The scale assigns a rating, 1 through 4, to different insects that can sting and describes the sensory characteristics of each.
His descriptors, though, go far beyond “very painful,” or “extremely painful.”
In his book, The Sting of the Wild, Schmidt paints the pain with imagery and eloquence resembling that of an exclusive champagne menu.
For example, the sting of a wasp, which lands at a 1 on the scale: Sharp meets spice. A slender cactus spine brushes a Buffalo wing before it poked your arm.
A Sweat bee, also a 1 on the scale: Light and ephemeral, almost fruity. A Tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.
Now for a heavy hitter- A Bullet ant, 4 on the scale: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch nail embedded in your heel.
Schmidt joined News 8’s Heather Myers in studio to talk more about his book, his passion for being stung, and gives some tips for the moment you find yourself writhing in pain after an encounter with an insect.