'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sting Pain Index

Justin O. Schmidt's Sting Pain Index 1990. Nicely illustrated by Wayne at his excellent blog:

     Recently I stumbled upon the 'Schmidt Pain Index'.  This was invented by Justin Schmidt and is based on a selection of bitey, stingy little critters and their effect on himself! And enlivened with whimsical descriptions like: "No. 2: Bald-faced hornet : rich, hearty, slightly crunchy.  Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door" - which I love.

     When Wendy C. and I were about 21 we went on our first 'real' bit of traveling.  We flew across the ditch to the big red island of Australia.  We bought little motorbikes in Sydney and with tent and nothing much else but the confidence of naivety, we travelled slowly up to Brisbane over the next two weeks, camping where it looked pretty and having a generally interesting time.  Around Gosford, only a day or two north, I was stung (bitten?) by a bulldog ant.  A bloody huge red thing that was involved in our tent when I wanted to pack it up.  It hurt like hell, and then, to make matters worse, once I'd managed to get it off me, it tried to run after me too!
I don't think it was a bullet ant, however, on the chart at the most excruciating.  Because I have also been stung by number 3, paper wasps, and they are very, very 'hot'!

By far the most painful bite/sting I've ever had was from (I'm fairly sure) a white-tailed spider.  I could do nothing but sit, rock and moan for ten minutes.  After this time, astonishingly, the pain rapidly subsided to nothing and I was left simply slightly embarrassed and wondering if the neighbours had heard me.

Here is an image of my bulldog ants.  I put them around 2.5 on the Schmidt pain index.

Image by Mark Moffett


  1. I was recently stung by a wasp. I saw the little blighter flying directly at me, I tried to whack him with my hand, but he got me on my ear lobe. It wasn't 'painful', but the effect lasted for about two days. Little bogger.

    1. Ah, so that's what my Mum meant when she said 'carry on that way and you'll be heading for a thick ear'

  2. I rate a bumble bee (on the palm of my hand) very much higher than a wasp (on my neck). I woke up one day to discover a very strange 'bruise' on my leg with a white centre. It was diagnosed unanimously by all who saw it (and it was there for everyone to see) as being a bite by a white-tailed spider. The strange thing is it happened in the night and although the physical affect on my leg was significant (a rock hard lump the size of an egg) the pain was....zero. Perhaps it's a case of 'no sense, no feeling.'

    1. Geeb- You have me wondering if bumblebees live on like wasps, or die once they have stung, like bees.
      Yes, the old white-tailed spiders. An Aussie that I really wish had stayed there.

    2. Someone once told me that the pain of the white tail was in proportion to the number of spiders it had eaten. Sounds like a story, but I'm not sure if it's a true one.

    3. Now let me get this right about bumblebees. Until recently I thought all bees dies after stinging but Queen and worker bumblebees can sting. Unlike in honeybees, a bumblebee's stinger lacks barbs, so the bee can sting repeatedly without injuring itself: the stinger is not left in the wound.

    4. That’s interesting Geeb. By the way, I am sorry I missed this. You often leave comments that I seem to miss. Why is that, I womder?


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