These are a few of my favorite stings...

...well, not really.  But an exchange I had at Photo Synthesis with Andrew Bleiman of Zooillogix got me thinking about all the different insects that have charmingly envenomated me at one time or another.

Myrmecia piliventris, Australia

Myrmecia piliventris, Australia

So I'm starting a meme called Things That Have Stung Me.  The rules are simple:

  1. List all the things that have stung you.
  2. Bites don't count.
  3. Pass the meme to 3 or more other bloggers you suspect have also been well-zinged.

Here are mine.

Things that have stung me:


  • Pachycondyla verenae

  • Pachycondyla harpax

  • Pachycondyla villosa

  • Pachycondyla stigma

  • Odontomachus chelifer

  • Odontomachus bauri

  • Odontomachus haematodus

  • Odontomachus erythrocephalus
  • Odontomachus cephalotes

  • Harpegnathos saltator
  • Rhytidoponera metallica
  • Hypoponera spp.
  • Pogonomyrmex badius

  • Pogonomyrmex barbatus

  • Pogonomyrmex californicus

  • Pogonomyrmex rugosus

  • Pogonomyrmex maricopa

  • Pogonomyrmex naegellii
  • Pogonomyrmex occidentalis
  • Pogonomyrmex desertorum
  • Myrmica incompleta

  • Solenopsis invicta

  • Solenopsis geminata

  • Solenopsis macdonaghi

  • Solenopsis saevissima

  • Solenopsis xyloni
  • Wasmannia auropunctata
  • Eciton burchellii
  • Nothomyrmecia macrops

  • Myrmecia pyriformis

  • Myrmecia tepperi

  • Myrmecia piliventris
  • Pseudomyrmex gracilis

  • Pseudomyrmex spinicola

  • Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus

  • Pseudomyrmex kuenckeli


  • Apis mellifera
  • Various Halictidae spp.


  • Polistes fuscatus
  • Vespula germanica
  • Dolichovespula maculata
  • Mischocyttarus sp.
  • Various Eumenine spp.


  • Megalopyge (Ow.  That really, really hurt)


  • Urtica dioica

Ow.  Now I'm sticking the sting meme to Anna, Ted, and Eric.

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what do halictid stings feel like?

i'm gonna get you stung by a bombus this summer :)

i've been stung by yellowjackets, apis, several bombus,

polistes, mud wasps (don't know genus)...never by any ants don't think...and no scorpions.

i got chased by a tarantula hawk once.

By ihateaphids (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

Wow. That's quite a list.

I kind of suspect that, even if I went out and intentionally got stung by every species of stinging insect in Michigan, my list would still be a lot shorter than that. As it is, I think I can only account for paper wasps (Northern and European), yellowjackets (not sure which species, but they were living in a dead tree that I knocked over), some unidentified halictids (back when I was a kid working on the farm), a bald-faced hornet, and honeybees (but only because I keep bees). So, maybe six or seven species, tops.

Yeah, remarkably I've never been stung by a bumblebee.

The Megalopyge was in Paraguay. I leaned on a caterpillar accidentally out in the forest, and it felt like I broke my arm. Wow, that was intense.

I'm with psi - I had no idea moths could sting!

I don't have much of a sting list, but I do recall quite vividly being stung by two different types of hornets on the same day when I was at an age where I thought throwing rocks at hives would be fun.

Okay, can we just declare right here and now that Alex is the King of Sting?!

Anna and Eric are good subjects to tag - what with their respective fascinations with bees and everything. I'll play, but this beetle guy's list will be short - I've been largely successfully at avoiding stings by focusing my attention on groups where such things never evolved. I do have one experience, however, that would be near the top of anyone's pain scale.


King of Sting? That'd be Justin Schmidt. He gets himself stung intentionally.

Mine are nearly all accidental, with just a couple of exceptions where I needed a photo of the stinging behavior.

In any case, Ted, I tagged you on the hope that something unusual and exotic might have pegged you during your South African adventures.

In my youthful efforts to impress people that the shortest kid in the class (as I was in grades K-6) was actually a fearless warrior, I used to handle bees and wasps bare-handed. Even then, I knew what I was doing, handling non-stinging males when available, but also braving the females. I got stung only once, by a Bombus worker that I pinched accidentally trying to prevent her premature escape.

A lot of ants stung me when I was doing fire ant research, and I allowed a few of each species I encountered to sting me, as an informal assay of their effects. Basically, all saevissima complex species hurt and result in a pustule of several days' duration. The rest have stings a bit more painful than those of sweat bees, the itchy after-effects of which lasted only an hour or less for me. I may well have been stung by more Solenopsis species than anyone else in history!

In January of this year, I allowed myself to be stung by several species of plant mutualist Pseudomyrmex in Ecuador. The ones in Triplaris were interesting. I have to confirm IDs before naming them, but after allowing at least three of each to sting my inner fore arm (sensitive!), I can say this. One hurt like heck, then faded over about a half hour; and another one hurt notably less but still annoyingly, then faded over 10-15 minutes. The most interesting one produced no pain at all. Incredulous, I allowed about a dozen of these little buggers to sting me to check the result. But they got me in the end; The next day I had an itchy, poison-ivy-like rash where I had let them sting me, and this lasted a week. Continuing the adventure, I also allowed a Tachigali-inhabiting species, P. concolor I think, to sting me. They really pack a wallop, like the bad one from <Triplaris, but the pain turns to bad, then mild itching over 15 minutes or so, then disappears shortly thereafter.

There's a long list of other arthropods that have stung me, partially overlapping with Alex's, also including the common eastern US scorpion Centruroides vittatus, and including another lepidopteran larva, the well-defended Io moth caterpillar, whose armature is easily seen in this image I have never gotten severly stung by this one, but a student helper once grabbed one that was perched hidden on a weed she was pulling and had to go to the hospital!

By James C. Trager (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

Yes, that is my arm. It's one of the few intentional stings I've done, but I let the ant discharge some of her venom before putting her on me so I wouldn't get the full Myrmecia zing.

Here in Venezuela, local brujos will command respect in rural areas by grabbing the dreaded yellow carpenter bee with bare hands. The yellow bees supposedly have the most dreadful sting. They are actually the males!

An entomological acquaintance a long time ago upon his first job just out of ag school in a plantain operation in Zulia found the local labourers very unfriendly towards him, a chamito just out of college.

Amidst the difficulties in this big macho culture, he one day stopped to inspect insect activity in a dry branch and caught a male carpenter bee with his bare hand.

The labourers took due notice and the next day their attitude changed 180 degrees. This change was a welcome mystery, but it was after some inquiries that he found out what was going on.

By John Lattke (not verified) on 19 May 2009 #permalink

First proof of Colectiv Myrmecological Mind: at about the same time Alex Wild was posting "These are a few of my favorite stings", a group of Croatian myrmecologist had an unexplained but strong need to sing "These are a few of my favorite things" for 5 days on isolated island in the Adriatic sea. It was a true light motive of the field trip. Furthermore, on the last day of the trip we had a live discussion about painful stings of both ants and spiders.. Going through your blog when I got home was a "chill down my spine" experience.

By anajesovnik (not verified) on 24 May 2009 #permalink

I was expecting to find Dinoponera on the list, then I thought... hell no. I´ve assumed their sting must be painful, but have you got any idea of how painful?