$1 Million Study at Cornell University: Where It Hurts the Most to Be Stung by a Bee

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If you have ever been stung by a bee, you know it hurts. You do not need a $1 million scientific study to tell you just how much.

But in an April 2014 research paper, then-Cornell University graduate research scientist Michael L. Smith used the $1 million he got from the U.S. National Science Foundation to rank how much it hurt to be stung by honey bees on different parts of his body.


The report, “Honey Bee Sting Pain Index by Body Location,” ranked the three least painful spots as the skull, middle toe and upper arm, while the most painful were the nostril, upper lip and, well, his genitals.

“Stings to the nostril were especially violent, immediately inducing sneezing, tears and a copious flow of mucus,” the report noted.

Smith designed the experiments, and was the experimental subject, rating how much pain he felt when he was stung on each of 25 body locations when he was stung over 38 days, between Aug. 20, 2012 and Sept. 26, 2012.

He then analyzed the data and wrote the paper.

Smith, now a social insect biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany, investigates how honeybee workers detect and respond to the developmental state of their colony.

Noting that the study had only one subject, it included this disclaimer: “The data should therefore be taken to represent only this person, and not be generalized for the public.”

That is right, this $1 million study is not to be generalized for the public.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

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