According to the Mayo Clinic, the only scorpion species in the entire United States with venom strong enough to cause severe symptoms in people likely lives in your basement throughout the year in Arizona. It’s the Arizona Bark Scorpion, and while it’s not the only scorpion you might find on your property this year, it is one of the scariest.
Every year, Phoenix pest control experts receive thousands of calls about scorpions, and for good reason. The last thing you want is to deal with the potentially severe effects of a scorpion sting, but is there really anything you can do to prevent the problem? Absolutely.
Know Your Scorpions
The Arizona Bark Scorpion isn’t the only scorpion you might see if you live in Arizona. There are actually a number of different types of scorpions that live in the area because the state’s climate helps them thrive. While all scorpions have venom in their stingers, it’s not always harmful to humans. Instead, it’s meant for prey.
There are other types of scorpions in Arizona.
- The Stripetail Scorpion is the single most common. It’s yellow and has dark stripes across its back. It’s usually less than three inches in length, but the females can grow a bit bigger than that. You might find these in your basement, garage, or in an outbuilding as in the wild, they live under the cool shade of rocks, so it’s easy to mistake your space for theirs.
- The Arizona Giant Hairy Scorpion is another type of scorpion you might see on your property. It’s actually the largest scorpion in the United States, growing up to six inches in length. They get their name from the tiny brown hairs that cover their entire body. They are also yellow, but they usually have a fairly dark back. They can be a bit aggressive too, but a sting from one isn’t particularly dangerous. You might notice a localized reaction on your skin.
- You could also see the Yellow Ground Scorpion. It’s most often misidentified as the Arizona Bark Scorpion. With slender legs and a yellow color, it’s easy to see why, but one quick look at the tail may help you tell the two apart. The first two segments of it’s tail are wide, rather than long.
The confusion around so many different types of scorpions is due to one thing – the fear of the Arizona Bark Scorpion. The fear is fairly warranted too, given that it has deadly venom. With long, slender legs and a long tail, you’ll find them in a number of different colors including grey, yellow, and light orange. If you live at a higher elevation, you may also find Arizona Bark Scorpions with stripes. These scorpions aren’t lonely creatures, either. Instead, they hang out in groups. At two to three inches long, they’re fairly easy to spot, and one sting truly is dangerous. You could experience muscle spasms, tremors, blurred vision, and even seizures after a sting.
Each night, the Arizona Bark Scorpion hunts for its favorite foods – smaller insects. Then they use the venom in their stingers to disable that food. This is when you’re most likely to encounter the scorpion, on a hunt, and if one thinks you’re getting in the way of that hunt, you will get stung. During the day, the Bark Scorpion will retreat and hide like inside the nooks and crannies in your home, basement, or garage. If you disturb that hiding place, they could wake up. They don’t actually seek people out. Instead, they work to protect themselves when discovered by a person or when they think they might not catch their prey.
Arizona Bark Scorpions are unique in that they love trees. They climb up almost anything when they’re on their hunt, so you could see them along your baseboards, on your ceiling, or virtually anywhere. They can squeeze themselves into gaps that are less than the thickness of your debit card.
You’re most likely to spot Bark Scorpions in the summer, typically after the monsoon rains. If you have a problem, you’re going to see it during July and August, and while you might spot them other times of the year, they’re typically hibernating during the fall and winter months.
Understand How Scorpions Get In
Understanding the creatures is one thing, but if you’re like most people, you only want to know one thing – how to keep them out. Fortunately, there are ways to make your space a little less habitable for them. First, make sure that you have weather stripping around your doors, windows, and any pet doors on your home. Make sure you replace it on a regular basis, and it’s not worn. If you can see daylight, a Bark Scorpion can get in. You’ll also want to check the openings around pipes or other lines coming into your home. If they’re not properly sealed, a Bark Scorpion can easily squeeze its way in.
Clutter creates hiding places for these scorpions, so you’ll want to do what you can inside and out to keep the clutter to a minimum. If your home is cluttered, you’ll find scorpion hiding places abound. Outside, boxes, tarps, kid’s toy spaces, and more provide great scorpion hiding places. If they’re in your yard, they’re likely to find a way to get into your home.
Have potted plants inside or out? Keep them off the ground and work to avoid overwatering them. You’ll attract other pests and that could attract the Bark Scorpion to prey on those other pests.
Wood piles can also serve as an attraction for Bark Scorpions. They provide multiple hiding places for them, and they offer lots of opportunities to capture prey. If you have a woodpile, be sure to keep it as far away from your home as possible. It can also help to elevate it off the ground to create fewer hiding places.
Keeping your trees trimmed can help to eliminate scorpion problems as well. Eliminating the leave litter and dead or dying branches is a great way to keep the population to a minimum. This is especially true for palm trees. This type of tree offers lots of shade, and when the leaves fall to the ground, scorpions can take refuge under them. That makes grooming your palm trees an absolute must. Trim it to eliminate the dead and dying branches. You’ll want to keep leaf litter out from under the tree too.
Finally, don’t give these scorpions a water source. Excessive water and leaks can attract them to your property, so if you have a leaky sprinkler system, areas of standing water on your property, or a continually leaking pipe near or inside your home, have it fixed immediately.
If you do have a problem with the Arizona Bark Scorpion or any other scorpions on your property, don’t try to handle it yourself. Many people resort to pesticides immediately. Spraying pesticides that you got off the shelf at your local big-box store isn’t likely to kill them. Instead, it’s only going to spread pesticides across an area that don’t get any real results. Instead, get professional help. At ScorpionTech, we offer unique ways to eradicate infestations and keep them from coming back. Our trained and certified technicians do a number of things to keep them out.
Once you call us, we’ll carefully inspect the outside of your home for spaces that are helping make your place an open invitation for Arizona Bark scorpions. We identify problem areas like cracks and openings that scorpions might use to get into your home, then we treat the entire space with a chemical barrier that ensures the scorpions can’t cross into your home.
Beyond that, we’ll help you take a closer look at any potential landscaping issues that may prove an invitation for Arizona Bark Scorpions to inhabit your yard and escape into your house.
Not sure you have a scorpion problem? We offer inspections as well. We know that it can be hard to tell the difference between a problem and natural scorpion activity during their peak months, so we’re here to ensure that you don’t have a problem and to help prevent any future pest or scorpion control issues, whether you’re worried about scorpions or other common issues in the area like roof rats.
The Importance of Remaining Vigilant
Arizona Bark Scorpion stings are rarely fatal. In fact, there have been only two fatalities over the course of the last sixty years in Arizona. The problem, though, is that the population of Phoenix is booming, and as more people build beautiful houses in the area, more scorpions lose their standard hunting grounds and begin looking for new options (like your home). Because the risk is there for a dangerous, painful sting, your single best bet is to give us a call the moment you think you have a scorpion problem.
If you do experience a painful, concerning sting, seek medical help, then give us a call to help prevent any future problems with these creatures.