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How bad does it hurt to be stung by a giant murder hornet?

Screenshot: Brave Wilderness YouTube

How bad does it hurt to be stung by a giant murder hornet? The short answer: a lot.

Scientists aren’t sure how the Asian giant hornet made it to the United States, but the 2-inch long nightmare insect has been spotted in Washington.

 The good news for us in the Beehive State is that experts don’t believe that the insects would want to settle down in Utah because they wouldn’t like the climate.

Thank goodness.

“They like low-elevation, moist places,” University of Utah Entomologist Jack Longino told KSL NewsRadio’s Paul Nelson, “They don’t extend to very high elevations and mountains.”

But if you did have the misfortune of coming into contact with one of these monster hornets, how bad would it hurt to get impaled with their nearly quarter-inch stinger?

Well, a nature host that goes by the name Coyote Peterson found out.

Murder Hornet Sting


Peterson is the star of the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel that focuses on nature and education, and part of that is a popular series where he gets bit and stung by various insects around the globe.

As part of that series, he traveled to Japan to find that out. 

So how does he describe it? 

“Absolute searing pain!” 

What makes it so painful, and potentially deadly?

Murder Hornets Utah

Very close macro of the yellow face of a Japanese giant hornet. Getty Images

According to Animal Diversity Web, a database run by the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology the Asian giant hornet Vespa mandarinia is responsible for 30 to 50 deaths in Japan every year which is due to their venomous sting and as such delivers nearly seven times the amount of venom as the average honey bee.

“Everything about this creature screams run in the other direction,” Peterson said before being stung. 

According to the Schmidt sting pain index, the giant hornet only ranks as a 2 on the scale of 1-4 which should, according to Schmidt, feel like “the debilitating pain of a migraine contained in the tip of your finger.”

Peterson disagreed with that assessment. 

Screenshot Brave Wilderness YouTube

After being stung, Peterson described feeling a wave of dizziness followed by ‘absolute searing pain.’

“Okay okay okay okay. My hand is completely seized up and locked in place. When the stinger went into my arm I had this wave, a wave came over me and I got super dizzy. Almost didn’t feel what was happening,” he says. 

After 20 minutes there was noticeable discoloration and swelling on Peterson’s forearm, and 24 hours later Peterson says arm had swollen to nearly double it’s normal size.

At the end of the video, Peterson summed up his experience saying, “In this moment, I consider it to be the most painful sting in the world.”