There are approximately 43 known species of scorpions in Arizona. All scorpions can sting and inject venom (they do not bite), but only one species of scorpion that occurs naturally in The United States, the Bark Scorpion (centruroides sculpturatus), is considered as being a potential health hazard. The Bark Scorpion is found throughout Maricopa County, frequently inside homes and other buildings.
The Bark Scorpion is a relatively small species of scorpion, ranging from about one and one half to two and one half inches in length at the adult stage. It’s color ranges from clear, light tan, ‘rubber band’, or even a darker golden brown, depending on it’s environment and how recently it has molted (the shedding of their outer exoskeleton layer), among other factors. As such, neither size nor color are good criteria for identification purposes. It does, however, have three distinguishing characteristics which help with identification:
1. It is the only scorpion in Arizona that climbs. It easily climbs any surface except clean glass or plastic. It can cling to the underside of a piece of wood, walk across your ceiling, climb furniture, and get into clothing and cupboards.
2. It is the only local scorpion that is able to curl it’s tail and lay it down flat next to it’s body. This maneuver allows it to become very flat and squeeze into very small and narrow cracks.
3. The Bark Scorpion has very under-developed pincers when compared to other species of scorpions. Their pincers can be described as narrow and slight.
The notion of a ‘scorpion nest’ is a fallacy. Scorpions are live-born, usually 18 or more at a time. Newborns look like miniature adults and are carried on the mothers back until their first molt, which is when they leave and venture out on their own. The young scorpions mature within about a year, requiring several molts to do so. They live a solitary life, interacting with each other only for mating or to defend their territory. Scorpions will also eat other scorpions.
As the human population grows and we extend our living areas out into the scorpion’s natural environment, interaction between humans and Bark Scorpions is inevitable. Our infrastructure provides the perfect conditions for their success: food, water and shelter. Effective Scorpion Control and Prevention is a critical part of any successful Pest Control Company’s offerings and will continue to be so as our urban sprawl continues.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sting
The sting from a Bark Scorpion is extremely painful and can sometimes cause swelling and redness at the site of the sting. Victims describe the feeling as being similar to having something very hot and sharp stabbed into the skin. The immediate local pain and burning is usually accompanied by a feeling of numbness and tingling that can travel outwards from the site of the sting, such as up a leg or arm. These are considered natural reactions to the venom of a Bark Scorpion. If there are further symptoms such as visual disturbance, difficulty swallowing, the sensation of a swollen tongue, slurred speech, or respiratory distress they should be reported to the Samaritan Regional Poison Center at 602-253-3334 in Maricopa County or 1-800-362-0101 elsewhere. The Poison Control Center will render first aid instructions and help determine if a victim needs further medical care.
Because children under six years of age are more likely to develop severe symptoms if stung, special care should be taken if you are visiting or live in a home where scorpions are present:
1. Children should be protected in their cribs/beds. To prevent scorpions from climbing up, place the crib/bed legs in clean glass jars. Also, make sure that blankets/bedding do not touch the floors.
2. To keep the scorpions from coming into the crib/bed from the side, move the crib/bed away from the walls and be sure that the blankets/bedding do not touch the walls.
3. To prevent scorpions from dropping into the crib/bed, you can install a scorpion shield. Hang a piece of foamcore board or other flat board that is bigger than the size of the crib/bed several inches from the ceiling directly above the crib/bed. Place double-sided sticky tape on the top surface of the board, especially towards the outer edges. If a scorpion falls onto the boards it will get stuck rather than falling into the crib/bed.
4. Check the crib/bed in advance of putting the child to bed and shake out all blankets/bedding.
5. Shake out all clothing and shoes before putting them on child.
6. Have your children wear shoes at all times and be especially careful around hot tubs and pools at night.
7. Teach your children about good bugs and bad bugs. Some kids are going to want to experiment so let them pick up a cricket but teach them not to pick up a scorpion.
NOTE: All of these precautions apply to adults as well!
Bark Scorpion Control
You DO NOT have to live with scorpions. If your Pest Control Company tells you there’s nothing they can do, or that pesticides don’t kill scorpions – GET ANOTHER PEST CONTROL COMPANY! Scorpion Control requires experience, an eye for detail and a genuine desire to solve the problem. I promise there are some quality Pest Control Companies out there that offer those credentials – and many who do not. When interviewing a Pest Control Company, ask a lot of questions and pay close attention to the answers that are given. Does the Pest Control Professional you’re speaking with display an extensive knowledge of scorpions and their behavior? Do they have a plan of action that is specific to a scorpion problem? Is their service guaranteed for the control of scorpions? I also recommend considering a professional Home Seal to limit access for scorpions to the inside of your home, so ask your Pest Control Professional about that, too. If you don’t feel really good about their answers, call someone else. Before contracting a Pest Control Company, type the name of the company into a regular Google Search and check them out thoroughly. You may be surprised what you find!
I hope this article has been helpful and I hope you’ll consider Goldshot Exterminating as your Scorpion Control solution. Happy Hunting!
John H. Goldshot