Because it’s Friday: the worst place to be stung by a bee

May 9, 2014
By

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Ever wondered where on your body is the most painful place to be stung by a bee? Me either, but Michael Smith from Cornell's Department of Neurobiology and Behavior was eager enough to find out that he stung himself 25 to find out which location was the most painful. (Thanks BR for the tip.)

Bee stings

The experimental design and the data analysis was conducted with R:

Sting locations were randomly ordered by the statistical program R (R Core Team, 2012). When applicable, the left and right side of the body were alternated. Some locations required the use of a mirror and an erect posture during stinging (e.g., buttocks). Stinging occurred before the author did any other honey bee work, to prevent unintentional stings during routine bee work from interfering with the experimental stings. The author had received approximately 5 stings per day for three months before the experiment, so no changes in his immune system were to be expected over the course of the experiment (Light et al., 1975).

The pain of each sting was ranked according to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The most painful location to be stung, according to this research? The nostril, followed by the upper lip. Surprisingly, a sting on the shaft of the penis is merely the third most painful.

That's all for this week. Enjoy your weekend, and watch out for bees!

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on his blog: Revolutions.

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