The Schmidt Sting Pain Index rates the painfulness of 78 Hymenoptera species, using the honey bee as a reference point. However, the question of how sting painfulness varies depending on body location remains unanswered. This study rated the painfulness of honey bee stings over 25 body locations in one subject (the author). Pain was rated on a 1–10 scale, relative to an internal standard, the forearm. In the single subject, pain ratings were consistent over three repetitions. Sting location was a significant predictor of the pain rating in a linear model (p < 0.0001, DF = 25, 94, F = 27.4). The three least painful locations were the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm (all scoring a 2.3). The three most painful locations were the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft (9.0, 8.7, and 7.3, respectively). This study provides an index of how the painfulness of a honey bee sting varies depending on body location.
Schmidt J. 1990. Hymenopteran venoms: striving toward the ultimate defense against vertebrates. In: Insect defenses: adaptive mechanisms and strategies of prey and predators. Albany: State University of New York Press. 387-419
Ya-Xian Z, Suetake T, Tagami H. 1999. Number of cell layers of the stratum corneum in normal skin—relationship to the anatomical location on the body, age, sex and physical parameters. Archives of Dermatological Research 291(10):555-559