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Scorpion Wars!

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posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 04:39 PM
Greetings fellow ATSers!

For those of you who live in the desert southwest here in the United States, it is that time of year again...Time for the dreaded Arizona Bark Scorpion to come out of hiding, breed and find happy hunting grounds in our houses.

I think it is worth examining this critter and its habits, because they cause a great deal of illness, pain and fear. Those who have been stung inadvertently say that it is very painful, and the venom makes them quite ill. Small children may even die from the sting.

These scorpions are not very large (males reach 3.14 inches in length, and females 2.75 inches), tan colored, and nocturnal. They start to move when the sun goes down and do all their hunting at night, which is why evening and nighttime, if you live in the desert, it is imperative to remember to wear some kind of shoe in case you step on one.

They ambush their prey and typically eat crickets, roaches, and also each other. Keep in mind that they can go a year without a meal, but they can't go long without water, so watered lawns and landscaping, bathrooms and kitchens are the areas where they are seen the most. They can also climb textured walls, and often live inside the walls of houses and up in attics. People have stated that these scorpions have dropped out of air conditioning vents and ventilation fans in bathrooms. Folks around here state they have seen them come out of drains in sinks and bathtubs, but I suspect they go down to where the moisture is, get a drink and then come right back out.


Life cycle: Arizona bark scorpions have a gestation period of several months, are born live, and are gently guided onto their mother's back. The female usually gives birth to between 25–35 young, and the young will remain with their mother until their first molt, up to 3 weeks after birth. Arizona bark scorpions may live up to 6 years. While nearly all scorpions are solitary, the Arizona bark scorpion is a rare exception: during winter, packs of 20 to 30 scorpions can congregate.

Habitat: The bark scorpion is particularly well adapted to the desert: layers of fat on its exoskeleton make it resistant to water loss. Nevertheless, bark scorpions hide during the heat of the day, typically under rocks, wood piles, or tree bark. Bark scorpions do not burrow, and are commonly found in homes, requiring only 1/16 of an inch for entry.

Arizona bark scorpions prefer riparian areas with mesquite, cottonwood, and sycamore groves, all of which have sufficient moisture and humidity to support insects and other prey species. The popularity of irrigated lawns, and other systems which increase environmental humidity in residential areas, has led to a massive increase in the number of these animals in some areas.

Venom: The bark scorpion is the most venomous scorpion in North America, and its venom can cause severe pain (coupled with numbness and tingling) in adult humans, typically lasting between 24 to 72 hours. Temporary dysfunction in the area stung is common; e.g. a hand or possibly arm can be immobilized or experience convulsions. It also may cause the loss of breath for a short period of time.

Due to the extreme pain induced, many victims describe sensations of electrical jolts after envenomation. Fatalities from scorpion envenomation in the USA are rare and are limited to small animals (including small pets), small children, and adults with compromised immune systems. Extreme reaction to the venom is indicated by numbness, frothing at the mouth, paralysis, and a neuromotor syndrome that may be confused with a seizure and that may make breathing difficult, particularly for small children.

Two recorded fatalities have occurred in the state of Arizona since 1968; the number of victims stung each year in Arizona is estimated to be in the thousands. In Mexico, more than 100,000 people are stung annually, and during a peak period in the 1980s, the bark scorpion claimed up to 800 lives there.

Meet our little friends:

Note they are not very large. Here is a close-up of one, with it's wicked exoskeleton:

Here are some tips to prevent being stung if you live in the southwest (from

Never walk around barefoot at night. At about dusk, the scorpions start to come out and look for food and this is one of the best ways to prevent Arizona Bark Scorpion Stings.

Always check your shoes before putting them on in the morning. We kept our shoes on a shoe rack. It makes it just a bit harder for scorpions to get inside of them. Regardless, make sure you always check for them. Carry a blacklight around with you at night if it’s dark in the house and you have to get up. You’ll be able to see scorpions, because they glow green under a blacklight.

If you are worried about scorpions getting into your baby’s or child’s bed, put each leg of the bed inside a smooth, glass mason jar. Scorpions cannot climb up glass. You can also enclose the crib or bed in a net to keep scorpions from falling onto the bed or crib from the ceiling.

Be very careful with clothes you have lying on the floor. I have heard countless stories of people getting stung because a scorpion was in their clothing. It is the perfect place for them to hide. Make sure you shake the clothes out well before you put them on in order to prevent Arizona Bark Scorpion stings.

Be cautious when putting your hands into a dark space, like a kitchen cabinet. Try to look before you reach. Scorpions love wet, damp places. Be careful in the bathroom or the kitchen areas. One time, there was a scorpion curled up on the inside of the shower curtain while I took a shower. Eek!

I purchased items from (blacklights, scorpion picker-uppers with sticky pads, and sticky tape to put around my doors). Note that these scorpions can crawl underneath a door that has a 1/16 of an inch opening. If you can slide a piece of paper under your door, they can crawl in.

Some people go out in the evening with blacklights and hunt them around the perimeter of their houses. They catch them with surgical tweezers or clamps and then burn them with propane torches. Others are not quite so gruesome, and simply put them in a jar and seal them up with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol, or filled with vinegar.

I feel guilty having to battle them, because they were here first, but if you've never found one of these suckers crawling on your bedding or in your shoes, it's hard to understand how frightening they are. These critters are also incredibly fast when they run, quicker than a spider.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. They say cats are good for them, as cats are immune to their venom, but I have 9 and all they do is play with them. For more information on scorpion prevention, please see:

OK, scorpions....It's ON!!

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 04:57 PM
Bark scorpions are 2 shots at best. It's the giant radscorpions that'll get ya.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by Jack3182

I've seen big black whip-tail scorpions out here as well (found one crawling on our screen door, gave me a frigging heart attack), but the bark scorpions tend to infest houses and are harder to see, hence my post.

Personally, if I never see another scorpion, snake or large spider, I would be happy. I know they have their place in the ecosystem but they really creep me out.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:13 PM
We catch them all the time. They taste good in tequila

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:16 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

I feel for you. I'm in the UK so our Scorpions are in the Zoo but it's never stopped me being freaked out by them.
Is there any way of repelling them?

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:29 PM
For as long as I've lived here in New Mexico, I have never seen one in the house. Seen a couple outside, but that's all. We get ants and crickets like crazy.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:39 PM
reply to post by MidKnight

Um...I'll take your word for it!

I like my tequila in a margarita sans any insects (that includes worms)!

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:49 PM
reply to post by Jack3182

There are some harsh pesticides that one can spray around the perimeter of the house, doors and windows, but I don't want my cats to get it on their paws because it can make them very sick. I have read that, if other bugs are eradicated, then scorpions won't come around because they have nothing to eat, but I don't see too many other bugs around here (maybe because the scorpions ate them all).

Come to think of it, I noticed cricket legs by themselves on the front porch, but I thought the cats had eaten them and left the legs. Apparently that is a sign of scorpions, because they eat the body and leave the legs.

These critters have been here in the desert for eons, and human environments are perfect for them....lots of moisture sources and places to hide from the intense heat. I must have caught over 50 last year, and early this year while I was doing some early spring cleaning, I found some hibernating under a large, heavy rug. They were too slow from the cold and being asleep to get away.

I'm learning to live with them, but that means shaking out shoes before putting them on each time, and shaking out anything that has been in a drawer (since they can climb up inside furniture and crawl into clothes). I turn the light on each time I have to use the bathroom at night, and examine the floor carefully before walking, or wear flip-flops.

No matter where you live, there is something to deal with. I thought we'd have trouble with rattlesnakes, I never imagined that nasty little boogers like scorpions would be a problem.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:51 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

Neither scorpions nor worms are insects

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:56 PM
reply to post by AwakeinNM

You are SO lucky!! When we bought this place last year, the two young kids who lived here were kind enough to show me around the property. I asked what kind of bugs they saw, and they were real nonchalant..."Oh, just some spiders, a few snakes, ants..and scorpions..." When they said scorpions, they gave each other a look like they knew we were going to be overrun with them but didn't want to say anything.

I have found some ways for them to get into the house which we are addressing. They are less common in areas that are heavily farmed. We live surrounded by CRP land (not farmed but left fallow for many years). The last time this land was farmed was over 20 years ago, so the prairie is filled with critters which are attracted to my garden and the flowers I water.

I suppose I'd rather have untouched prairie than farmland full of pesticides, herbicides, and GMO cotton, so I have to deal with the creatures that inhabit it.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:57 PM
reply to post by DaMod

I realize that scorpions are arachnids. Worms, I guess I can look it up. Either way, don't want them in my alcohol.

posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 11:58 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

I really enjoyed your OP. That said, it wasn't quite what I expected.

As a kid in the mid-teens, for three years in a row, I had the good fortune of spending two weeks a year at a summer camp close to Seville, Spain. We wasted many a day hunting and capturing scorpions. They may have been just a little larger than the ones you describe, but I don't believe their stings were quite as severe.

We used to have "Scorpion Wars!" by enclosing a small area in straw, setting it on fire, and then releasing 4 or 5 of them into it. They would fight until there was only one left. When the survivor realized it couldn't escape the fire, it would commit suicide by stinging itself behind the neck.

Our favorite gag was pulling the stingers off, and then putting them in the adult's sleeping bags.

Thanks for the memories, as well as the very enjoyable post.

Star and flag for you.

See ya,

posted on Mar, 31 2012 @ 12:58 PM
reply to post by BenReclused

LOL! Now those are some REAL scorpion wars! I know some kids play with them that way, but I suppose, at my age, I would feel guilty. I just want them to stay outside, but this is an old house and I assume there have been generations of scorpions breeding in the walls and venturing inside to get a drink of water and hopefully a snack.

The title of my thread was to indicate that, this summer, it is ON between the scorpions and myself. Last year's infestation kept me constantly scared to walk across the floor at night, and I'm always checking the bedding and clothes and shoes for the little suckers. One almost dropped on my head as I was getting into the shower. I'm just not going to take it anymore!

If I have to go outside at night with a blacklight and catch them in a jar, so be it.

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