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World's Most Painful Insect Bites

Bullet Ant

This rather unassuming inch-long ant is capable of inflicting the most agonizing sting in the insect world. The Schmidt Pain Index describes it as “pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch rusty nail in your heel.” According to victims who have suffered both the misfortune of being stung by a bullet ant and being shot with a firearm, the feeling is similar (hence the name). And the pain can last for 12 hours.

Where They’re Found: Mostly the rainforests of Central America, from Nicaragua to Paraguay.

How to Avoid Them: Bullet ants make their nests where they have easy access to the rainforest canopy, so avoid laying your picnic blanket among the buttress roots of towering trees. If one happens to crawl up your leg, hold your breath—they often attack if breathed upon.


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