If you think about where scorpions live, do you picture them in lush forests, or in arid deserts?
Both scenarios are actually correct. Often thought of as desert dwellers, these highly adaptable creatures actually thrive both in lush Brazilian forests and arid deserts. In fact, they can be found in all continents except Antarctica. The evolutionary history of scorpions go back hundreds of millions of years, and they’ve adapted to live in a variety of environmental conditions, including the harsh living conditions on top of snow covered mountains.
Scorpions belong to the class Arachnida. They are predatory arachnids under the order of Scorpiones, and are closely related to spiders, ticks and mites. These arthropods have 8 legs and are easily recognizable by the forward curve over their backs that end in a stinger full of venom.
Speaking of venom, there are almost 2,000 scorpion species, and all of them have a venomous sting! The good news is that of that number, only about 30 species carry enough venom capable of killing a human. In remote places where these venomous species are found, people dying from scorpion stings occur regularly, especially if they’re in remote locations with no easy access to modern medical facilities.
This is especially concerning in underdeveloped tropical and subtropical countries – according to studies published on Medline, the annual estimated number of scorpion stings is 1.2 million, and of this, 0.27% lead to deaths. It may not seem much, but that’s 3240 people every year. That means that for every person killed by a poisonous or venomous snake, 10 people are killed by venomous scorpions.
What we should worry about in the US
In the United States, that number is much, much lower – only 4 people have died as a result of a scorpion sting in over a decade.That said, a scorpion sting can still very painful.
Most of the scorpions in the country are found in the southwest. Arizona is popular for being home to a lot of these scorpions, including the most venomous species in the country, the potentially deadly Arizona bark scorpion – also found in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.
Scorpions are nocturnal, burrowing creatures. They like to hide under rocks, trees, bushes, in holes, anything where they can find shelter from the sun – including your house and garage. They have been found to hide under piles of laundry, and even seek shelter in unusedshoes. They are also known to lie in wait for their prey so you may not even notice them when you pass byuntil the scorpion, fearing for its life, stings you.
If you find one, there’s a good chance there are more in the area (a pregnant scorpion can give birth to dozens of scorplings at the same time). If it’s inside your home, there’s also a good chance that your home is vulnerable and that there are pest entry points you need to locate and seal.
Never handle a scorpion with your bare hands, and insecticide sprays only work when sprayed directly on the scorpion. If you need professional help, pest control services like Watchdog Pest Control are only a call away.
One of the most frightening things you may ever see in this world is a mother scorpion scuttling on the ground and carrying her babies – on her back! It may not look like it, but scorpions actually have great maternal instincts and are excellent caretakers of their brood as far as arthropods go (unless she gets too hungry… in which case, a mother scorpion has been known to snack on a baby or two, but only as a last resort, thank goodness). She carries them for several days and protects them until their first molt — shortly after, these baby scorpions will learn to hunt for themselves and leave to make a life of their own.
Baby scorpions are called scorplings, and unlike most arachnids, they are born alive and are even born one by one. While scorpions usually give birth to 20 to 30 babies, they can have as many as 100 babies per brood!
Scorplings are born with a very soft and light-colored exoskeleton which leaves them vulnerable to predators, and will climb on their mother’s back one by one for relative safety where they’ll stay for about 2 weeks.Once they molt, these exoskeletons will be replaced by another exoskeleton that is much harder, and this process will repeat a number of times throughout a scorpion’s life as it grows older and changes size.
A young scorpion will have a lighter color, and while they’re not able to sting as babies, once they’ve molted and have left their mothers they’ll have stings as painful (and as dangerous) as an adult’s. If you find one wandering your home, chances are its siblings, and possibly their mother, is still nearby.
Treat it as you would an adult scorpion and handle it with care. Make sure you’re wearing protective gear like gloves. If you’d like to release it outside, make sure to put it in a secure container to keep it away from your hands while you’re walking. Otherwise, insecticides will do the trick, and you’ll want to spray on cracks and crevices where more could be hiding.
Glue traps also work for catching scorpions and their food sources – which, by the way, you’ll want to get rid of as well if you don’t want scorpions in your house. They eat a number of insects, spiders, lizards, other scorpions and even small mammals like mice! Taking away their food source will make them want to move to more fertile lands.
You’ll then want to seal possible entry points into your house, such as cracks and crevices they can come into from outside. Put mesh on your outside vents, and screens on windows.
Note that scorpions would rather flee than attack you, but studies have shown that a mother carrying babies on her back may be more aggressive – this is likely because fleeing with her brood on her back makes for a slow escape, so she may want to take her chances with you head on. Handle with extreme care, or better yet, call a professional exterminator!
Doing a thorough search of your home and your yard with a blacklight, is actually a very effective way to locate scorpion activity and their hideouts.
When your investigating your scorpion situation, use an ultraviolet light. When shone directly on a scorpion, they light up like glow in the dark stars that we used to put on our bedroom ceilings as kids.
But why do they glow?
This is actually a tough question to completely answer. Scientists are working on getting more information as to why this occurs, However, they have some ideas as to why scorpions glow in the dark.
Scorpions have what is called an exoskeleton. They possess a cuticle which is a thin a section called the hyaline.
The hyaline section reacts to the UV light and moon light, and causes scorpions to glow.
Scorpions usually will not glow upon molting. Their cuticles have to completely harden in order for them to fully glow.
A common misconception about Arizona scorpions is that they die off in the winter. This is not entirely true though. Arizona scorpions actually dislike winters so much that they opt to hide in their homes until March or April. This is called hibernation and is also pretty standard for a wide variety of both insect and animal life.
They start hibernating as soon as fall begins, which is why most scorpions can’t be found on land during this time. What also helps them is the fact that they are built to endure a wide variety of temperatures. Although most scorpions are lone creatures, bark scorpions tend to form clusters when they hibernate or nest. They can even form groups of 30 or more scorpions huddled together. Once the clusters are formed, the scorpions stay safe until the weather begins to warm. Another option for scorpions during the winter is to make their way into a warmer environment. This warmer area could easily be your well heated home. They are very small and can even squeeze into a space as small as 1/16 of an inch. These creatures can be found hiding somewhere in your stores, tiny openings or maybe even your shoes, so be careful!
One of the reasons why it could be a little tricky to spot scorpions in your house is because they are nocturnal beasts that sleep during the day and come out at night. They feed on roaches, crickets and other insects. The bark scorpions are the only kind of scorpions that can actually climb walls which gives them a lot of options to hide within your house.
Just because it’s winter time in Arizona doesn’t mean that scorpions are gone hibernating for good. Always check your home for these pesky little critters just in case they were seeking a warmer environment. Watchdog Pest Control specializes in scorpion eradication, removal, and exclusion. Give us a call for details.
The most venomous scorpion in North America, the Bark Scorpion sting can cause severe pain, numbness, tingling and convulsions lasting between 24 and 72 hours. Tens of thousands of people are stung across the country each year, many in their homes. A large proportion of these stings could have been prevented by people undertaking simples steps to deter the bark scorpion from their homes. So here we explain what you can do to deter these common household pests from your home.
Seal Your Property
Sealing the cracks and holes in the foundations, walls and baseboards is an excellent way to prevent scorpions entering your home. These critters can squeeze through a gap as thin as a credit card! Be sure to close windows tightly so there are no gaps for an invader to climb in and invest in door seals to prevent an entry route.
Remove Potential Scorpion Shelters
The predominantly nocturnal scorpion will seek shelter during the day, becoming active at night. Removing structures that scorpions may use as a daytime hiding place will prevent the creature from hanging around both inside and outside the home. Store cardboard boxes on cupboard shelves and keep storage and wardrobes neat and tidy. Outside, ensure hedges and plants are trimmed so there are no places to hide and don’t leave garbage hanging around.
Lavender or Citrus
Both Lavender and Citrus naturally deters scorpions. Plant lavender around the perimeter of your home and use lavender scented cleaning products. The same principles apply to citrus products, a pot with some citrus plants near entrances to your home will deter the arachnid invaders.
Balance the Insects
Bark Scorpions feed on insects around the home so be sure to kill and remove ants, cicadas, crickets and cockroaches quickly. However, leaving spiders around the home will help! Spiders will kill scorpions in the vicinity.