A bark scorpion – is worse than a bite

Ah, the beauty of living in the desert. Stately cacti, red rocks and beautiful sunsets are our backdrop. There are also pests like spiders, mites, ticks and scorpions who make desert life tricky.

Scorpions in the Arizona desert

There are roughly 1,200 scorpion species in the world and 70 species in the United States – with the most dangerous species (bark scorpion) living in the American southwest and in Northern Mexico.

The record setting heat of this past summer didn’t help reduce the scorpion population – it may have helped increase it. During the height of summer you may experience more scorpions than usual. “Hot and dry conditions send many pests indoors, as they seek moisture and cooler temperatures” according to Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), but in Arizona it’s rain that really impacts scorpion movement.

Our monsoon season brings scorpions inside. Scorpions prefer a dry habitat, but during our long, hot and now humid weather, they are seeking cooler conditions. If you’re uncomfortable outside in our monsoon weather, so are scorpions.

Because scorpions may now be invading your home, you and your family are more prone to being stung by a scorpion. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center claim that last year “they recorded 10,000 scorpion stings in AZ” according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (azdhs.gov).

Your home is a scorpion’s home

When scorpions are living outside, they can usually be found burrowing in the soil or hiding under rocks, logs or debris – however when they travel inside your home, they can be seen anywhere. They are nocturnal, so they are usually more active at night. Their diet constitutes of insects, crickets and cockroaches (and sometimes spiders). They have been known to go for months without any food or water.

When the monsoon starts, you may notice an increase in insects, crickets and cockroaches – especially inside your home. So if there is an increase in these pests’ populations, there is an increase in risk for hungry scorpions to make it inside your home.

A study conducted by Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center found that scorpion stings occur:

  • 33% in the bedroom
  • 24% in the living room
  • 6% in bathroom

In order to eliminate any risk of scorpions entering your home, go around your yard and eliminate any potential scorpion habitats. Remove piles of wood, trash and any debris which may make a cool place for scorpions to hide.

When it comes to your home, go around (preferably during the daylight hours and from inside your home) and look for spaces in windows and doorways where light and air comes into your home. If light and air can creep in, so can pests like crickets, cockroaches and insects – and scorpions looking for a meal.

Caulk any cracks in your home and repair any screens that may be torn. Inside your home, move furniture and beds away from walls (bark scorpions can climb), check bed linens before climbing into bed and shake your clothes (and shoes) before wearing – especially if the clothes were lying on the floor.

When stepping outside, wear shoes to help prevent stepping on a scorpion. If you have a pool, scorpions are attracted to the cool dampness of the motor, spa and surrounding landscaping. Be especially careful when picking up damp pool towels as scorpions love to hide under them (that includes bath towels when inside).

Since scorpion stings can be more dangerous to babies and children (more on that in the next section), take extra care when prepping your child’s living space. Move crib and bed away from wall. Remove bed linens which hang and touch the floor, such as bed skirts. You don’t want to give scorpions any method of climbing onto your child’s bed and stinging them.

A scorpion’s sting

Scorpions sting as a defense mechanism or to kill their prey. If you are stung by a scorpion, you may experience mild symptoms similar to a bee sting (not that a bee sting is mild by any means). The scorpion sting can have temporary pain, numbness and a burning sensation with possible localized swelling.

Washing the sting area, applying a cold compress and taking over the counter pain medication should help ease the symptoms of the sting. The pain and numbness can last several days, so treatment may last as long.

However, the bark scorpion (remember, one of the most dangerous species and native to Arizona) has a more dangerous venom.  A bark scorpion can measure one to one half inch in length and it’s sting can potentially be fatal to humans – especially if a baby, child or the elderly is stung.

If the scorpion sting victim (especially someone very young or very old) show signs of severe symptoms, immediate medical attention is needed. Sever symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrolled muscle/ limb/body jerking
  • Drooling
  • Wild eye movements
  • Blurred vision

As was mentioned above, infants and small children are at the highest risk for developing severe symptoms.

Why take a chance on your family getting stung by a scorpion. Give us a call and we will examine and treat your home for scorpions. We also offer a black light service and will look at your home at night when scorpions are the most active. Don’t wait to become a victim of a scorpion sting (and a possible trip to the emergency room), give our office a call to make your home safe. Call or text us at (480)3-7034 or click here to set up an appointment.