Monday evening: I was Just Riding Along on the Guadalupe River Trail in San Jose when one of these guys flew RIGHT INTO MY MOUTH!
She made it as far as my tongue before I spit her out, but she managed to tag me good on the inside of my lower lip. Ouch!
Looking into stings led me to a Wikipedia article on The Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates pain from various insect stings. I’,m pretty sure I don’t want to be stung by a “bullet ant,” whatever that is, which rates a 4.0+ and is described as “Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel.”
So I look into the bullet ant and learn an indigenous tribe in Brazil uses this ant for their warrior initiation ceremony:
The ants are first rendered unconscious by submerging them in a natural sedative and then hundreds of them are woven into a glove made out of leaves (which resembles a large oven mitt), stinger facing inward. When the ants regain consciousness, a boy slips the glove onto his hand. The goal of this initiation rite is to keep the glove on for a full ten minutes. When finished, the boy’s hand and part of his arm are temporarily paralyzed because of the ant venom, and he may shake uncontrollably for days.