Nobody enjoys getting stung by a bee, but some stings definitely hurt more than others according to Michael Smith, a honeybee researcher who let his bees sting him on 25 different parts of his body in order to determine which hurt the most. Smith was inspired to undertake this informal study after getting randomly stung on the testicle.
That might sound like a strange place to get stung, but Smith says the incident was part occupational hazard and part wardrobe malfunction.
“If you’re wearing shorts and doing bee work, a bee can get up there easily,” he told National Geographic. “But I was really surprised that it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would.”
A sting to the scrotum ranks as a 7/10 on Smith's pain scale, which is the same ranking he gave to stings on the palm of the hands, the cheek and the face. That's less excruciating than stings to the penis shaft (7.3/10) and the upper lip (8.7/10). Some of the least painful places to get stung are the upper arm, the middle toe and the scalp. All three spots got a 2.3/10 ranking on Smith's pain scale.
Moderate sting sites include the lower back (4/10), the wrist (4.7/10) and the back of the neck (5.3). Meanwhile, the tummy, fingers and nipple all came in at 6.7/10.
So what's the most painful spot? Well, it's right in front of your face. Getting stung on the nostril is excruciating according to Smith, who said that stings on the nose cause "sneezing, tears, and a copious flow of mucus" (possibly due to a histamine reaction).
"You’re sneezing and wheezing and snot is just dribbling out. Getting stung in the nose is a whole-body experience,” he said.
But is it really more painful than a sting to the penis? Smith says it is, but he added that neither spot is ideal.
“It’s painful, and there’s definitely no crossing of wires of pleasure and pain down there. But if you’re stung in the nose and penis, you’re going to want more stings to the penis over the nose, if you’re forced to choose.”
As the only test subject in the study, Smith couldn't evaluate the same pain sites on the female body. So there's no way of knowing if the results differ between male and female anatomy unless some brave soul picks up the study where Smith left off.
h/t Mental Floss