Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sting Pain Index

I've learned a lot about bees since being so ruthlessly attacked by one yesterday. My arm is still swollen, and it's really no wonder since a bee sting is a 2.x on the Schmit Sting Pain Index, which is the equivalent of having a burning match head flip off and land on your skin, searing it to smithereens.

No really.

I have no idea how he came up with this stuff. Apparently he's been stung by most stinging insects so he's familiar with pain of being injected with acidic venom, but how does he come up with the situations to liken them to. Like, "fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel." That's a 4.0 on the Schmit Sting Pain Index and is what you'd feel if you were bit by a bullet ant.

Now, I fully believe that Schmit may have been bitten by a bullet ant, but what did he think next, "Oh, wow! This hurts a lot. It feels kind of like that time I stumbled while walking across the nail bed and impaled my foot with a rusty nail and then attempted the fire walk. Yup. It feels just like that. I never forget a pain."

Thanks, Mr. Schmit, for bringing us the pain index. And may I never meet a bullet ant because 2.x was good enough for me.

Did you know that the reason bees die after they sting is because their stinger is attached to their internal organs? This isn't a problem if they're doing a tribal war on another bee colony because then they can sting numerous times, but if they happen to sting a thick skinned creature, such as yours truly, then their stinger gets lodged and when they try to fly away they leave behind all their internal organs. It doesn't seem like a very good plan.

Also, bee venom is used to treat arthritis. Who knew? I mean, last night I felt like I had arthritis and I just don't understand how bee venom helps. [burning pain, swollen joints] + [burning pain, swollen joints] = ? Somehow I don't get the solution [free of burning pain, swollen joints]. Perhaps unsurprisingly, bee therapy is controversial and a study in the Netherlands showed that allowing bees to sting patients did not actually improve their quality of life. Go figure. Half my forearm is swollen. And I just got stung once.

Some kinds of bees huddle around the queen all winter long and just vibrate in place to increase the temperature of the hive so they all stay warm. Other bees hibernate. Other bees just die. Winter is hard for bees.

The longer the stinger is in your skin, the more venom gets in your system. So you want to pull that sucker out as soon as possible. Mixed in with that venom are some pheromones that alert nearby bees to attack—and they will, but only if you're around their hive and they feel threatened. That's the problem with killer bees, which actually aren't more deadly than your regular ol' honey bee (they just are a tad more agressive and defend their territory up to a quarter a mile away from the hive).

Anyway, I'm sure I have more important things to do and write about.

1 comment:

  1. Now imagine how it felt to be your sisters K and A and their friend Heidi when they disturbed a nest of bees by accident in the forest in BC and were chased by them. They each had 20, 30, 50 -- stings everywhere. It was horrible.

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