Scorpions are arthropods like spiders. Arizona has over 30 species of scorpions but only the small, pale yellow, bark scorpion is considered life-threatening.
Baby scorpions are more venomous and deadly than adults because they can’t yet control how much venom they inject. Male bark scorpions are slightly bigger than the females, about 3” long.
In over 40 years of keeping records, no human deaths have been reported but the bark scorpion’s sting can produce severe pain and swelling, numbness, breathing difficulties, muscle twitching and spasms, and even convulsions.
Arizona bark scorpions glow in the dark under a black light, so hunt for them at night. During the day they hide in walls, under stones, or in and around tree bark, from where they get their name.
They love crickets, but also eat spiders, centipedes, and other scorpions. Bark scorpions can go without eating for more than six months.
Spraying for scorpions does not help much because short of a direct hit, most pesticides don’t affect them. Keeping their food source out of your house will.
Only bark scorpions can climb vertical surfaces like walls, drapes, the side of your house or up your leg. They can also cling to the underside of rocks.
Attention Pet Owners! Here are common signs of a bark scorpion sting:
- Localized pain and swelling
- Yelping, licking, limping, head shaking, rubbing, etc.
- Trouble swallowing
- Breathing difficulties
- Trouble urinating or defecating
- Drooling or vomiting
- Abnormal behavior
If you see or suspect that your pet has been stung by a scorpion, call your veterinarian immediately.
Most animals recover within four hours without a problem, but some can have a more severe reaction affecting the heart, lungs and nervous system. Scorpion venom can kill small pets such as puppies, kittens, hamsters, and guinea pigs.
Reduce your chances for a scorpion encounter:
- Switch your outdoor lights from white bulbs to yellow. Yellow light doesn’t attract as many bugs.
- Check your weather-stripping. If a business card can fit underneath, a scorpion can slip through.
- Clear away, or move, woodpiles that are stacked up near the house.
- Don’t leave wet towels on the ground around a pool or spa. Scorpions like the moisture.
- If you’re gardening or digging around ornamental bark, wear gloves and keep your eyes open.