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The world’s most painful insect sting - Justin Schmidt


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TEDEd Animation

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One of these three creatures is thought to possess the world’s most painful insect sting: there’s an ant that forages in rainforest canopies, a bee that protects a hive of delectable honey, and a wasp that paralyzes tarantulas. So which has the nastiest sting? Justin Schmidt describes and ranks the pain inflicted by each insect.

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Stinging insects do not sting because they want to cause people pain. They sting because they want to defend their babies and families just as we do. If you leave them alone or do not intrude too near to their nest they usually will not harm you. In general, the larger their family to defend, the more painful their stings and the more they are likely to defend themselves. There are some exceptions to this generalization and the exceptions make interesting natural history to understand why. For more information visualizing the amount of pain different insects can cause, take a look at Atlas Obscura. Jimmy Kimmel Live hosted a fascinating display of stinging insects and discussion about them. Don’t forget to check out the educator Justin Schmidt’s book, The Sting of the Wild, to learn more!

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Justin Schmidt
  • Director Alopra Studio, Nicholas Paim
  • Narrator Jack Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Alopra Studio
  • Animator Alopra Studio
  • Art Director Nicholas Paim
  • Sound Designer André Aires, João Mendes
  • Music João Mendes, André Aires
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Cella Wright
  • Production Coordinator Abdallah Ewis
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma

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