The Most Painful Places to Get Stung by a Bee

By Ashley Feinberg on at

You've probably got a bee sting at some point in your life, but have you ever had a bee sting on your testicles? Well, one Cornell grad did, and it sent him off on a journey to find out once and for all the worst places on your body to get stung by a bee. And he decided to test the whole thing out... on himself.

Using the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, (scale made by Justin Schmidt to quantify pain caused by insect stings), Michael Smith went out with a pair of forceps to grab bees by their wings and press the angry insects against his various body parts. The stinger would then be allowed to sit in the offending area for exactly a minute before being removed, at which point Smith would rate his pain on a scale of one to 10.

×These Are the Most Painful Places to Get Stung by a Bee

Sting locations.

While pain is obviously fairly subjective and, thus, difficult to quantify, Smith was as systematic in his method as humanly possible. Each day he would subject himself to no more than five stings, all of which took place between the hours of 9:00 and 19:00. And to account for any potential "off" days, Smith even stung himself on the forearm before and after each round of bee encounters as a way of calibrating his results. That means that for 38 straight days, Smith sung himself three times each on 25 separate body parts. Smith explains that "some locations [even] required the use of a mirror and an erect posture during stinging (e.g., buttocks)."

So which body parts came out as least painful? If you ever happen to get stung on your skull, upper arm, or the tip of your middle toe, you should be in good shape—all those averaged out to about a 2.3. According to Smith: "getting stung on the top of the skull was like having an egg smashed on your head. The pain is there, but then it goes away".

As for the other side of the scale, just try to keep bees away from your penis shaft (should you have one), upper lip, and nostril. All those came out to a 7.1, 8.7, and 9.0 respectively. And going by what Smith told National Geographic, that 9.0 rating is well deserved:

It's electric and pulsating. Especially the nose. Your body really reacts. You're sneezing and wheezing and snot is just dribbling out. Getting stung in the nose is a whole-body experience.

Of course, this doesn't mean that these are definitively the most painful body parts on which to get stung—he is just one man after all. Smith was also forced to avoid testing certain areas for the sake of not going blind (i.e. eyeballs).

These Are the Most Painful Places to Get Stung by a Bee

[PeerJ via National Geographic]