Scorpions are ancient land-dwelling arthropods, cousins of spiders, ticks and mites, that have been around for millions of years. There are 1,400 species of these venomous creatures found throughout the world and about 70 can be found in the United States.
Most scorpions in the United States, with the exception of the Arizona bark scorpion or sculptured scorpion, have a sting that is no more painful than a bee sting. If you get stung by a scorpion clean the area with soap and water, apply ice and elevate. Some people can have an allergic reaction to a scorpion sting, so seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms like vomiting, twitching and accelerated heart rate.
Surprisingly, scorpions can be found in a wide range of habitats from grasslands and deserts to rainforests and caves. Most scorpions are nocturnal and hunt primarily at night. They eat insects, spiders and even other scorpions. Larger species will sometimes eat snakes, mice and lizards. Scorpions like to hide and ambush prey when it comes within reach.
Scorpions are mostly solitary creatures that prefer to live and hunt in specific territories. During the day, they seek shelter in cool, moist areas in burrows, under rocks or behind tree bark. Scorpions are most active when temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Predators of scorpions include owls, snakes, lizards, bats and tarantulas.
Scorpions reproduce using a special “mating dance”. Depending on the species, females can be pregnant anywhere from several months to more than a year. The mother has a live birth and her tiny white offspring quickly scramble onto her back from protection. Females usually give birth to 25 to 35 young. After their first molt and about one to three weeks after being born, the young will leave their mother to live on their own. Scorpions typically live between three and five years, but some species have been known to live for 25 years.
Scorpions become pests when their natural habitat is changed or damaged by things like flooding, construction or logging. Displaced scorpions may then seek shelter and food in houses. Don’t be alarmed if you find a scorpion in your home, they are solitary creatures so there aren’t usually more than one or two.
Types of Scorpions
Scorpions have eight legs, a pair of pincers and a long segmented tail that ends with a barb-like stinger. On a scorpion’s underbelly, there are a pair of sense organs that brush the ground like a comb in order to read the surface texture and vibrations. Scorpions found in the United States usually range between 2 to 4 inches, although Giant Hairy Desert Scorpions can get as long as 5 inches.
There are a few look-alikes out there that can be confused with scorpions. These include pseudoscorpions, solifuges or wind scorpions and whip scorpions.
Scorpions In The Home
Scorpions only occasionally invade homes when outdoor conditions make it difficult for them to find food and water. There are a variety of things you can do to prevent scorpions from getting into your home. Remove logs, rocks and other debris from around the perimeter of your house that scorpions could use for shelter. Regularly mow your lawn and trim bushes and tree branches to make it more challenging for scorpions to reach your home. Store your garbage cans and firewood off the ground and away from the house. Check that window and door screens are in good condition. Install weather-stripping and door sweeps. Seal cracks in the foundation, roof eaves and where pipes enter the house.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you treat a scorpion sting?
Each scorpion species has its own venom “recipe” that is a mixture of neurotoxins and other chemicals. It is important to know that while all scorpions have the ability to sting, running and hiding are their first reactions when they feel threatened. Most people have the same reaction to a scorpion sting as they would to a bee sting. In the United States, only the Arizona bark scorpion has venom that is strong enough to be considered dangerous to people. Reactions to a sting can vary depending on the type of scorpion, the age of the person and if the person has an allergic reaction. If you get stung by scorpion wash the sting area with soap and water, apply a cold compress and elevate the area to prevent swelling. If your symptoms get worse, you may be having an allergic reaction and should seek emergency medical help.
Benefits of Professional Scorpion Pest Control
A pest management professional can reduce areas where scorpions like to hide and treat for other insect pests that may be enticing scorpions to come inside.They will also capture and remove any scorpions found in your home during that time. Pest management professionals have the skills and tools necessary to find and eliminate scorpions from your home, and to prevent them from coming back.