Scorpions

There are approximately 56 species of scorpions in Arizona. All scorpions can sting (they do not bite) and inject a venom, but only one scorpion in the United States, the bark scorpion, is classified as potentially deadly.

The bark scorpion occurs naturally throughout Maricopa County and much of the rest of the state. It is commonly found inside houses and buildings. The bark scorpion chooses a defined area in which to live. If a structure is built on that, the number of scorpions that find their way inside can be controlled but may never disappear completely.

The bark scorpion is one of several small scorpions and is about one and one half to two inches in length. It has two distinguishing characteristics. The first is that it is the only scorpion in Maricopa County that climbs. It easily climbs any surface except clean glass and clean plastic. It can cling to the underside of a piece of wood, walk across your ceiling, climb furniture, and get into clothing and cupboards. They are most active at night and love places that are dark and damp. The second important characteristic is that it curls up its tail and lays it down flat next to its body. This allows the scorpion to become very flat and squeeze into very small and narrow cracks.

The bark scorpions color varies from clear, light tan, rubber band or darker golden brown. Color and size is not a good way to identify this scorpion.

Most calls to the poison control center about scorpion stings occur April to October.

Signs and Symptoms of a Sting - the bark scorpion sting is extremely painful, but does not usually cause swelling or redness at the sting site. Victims describe the feeling as similar to having a piece of metal heated in a fire and then stabbed into the skin.

The immediate local pain/burning is usually followed by a feeling of numbness and tingling (and still lots of pain) that can travel up an arm or leg. This is a totally natural reaction to the sting.

If further symptoms, like visual disturbance, difficulty swallowing and swollen tongue sensations, slurred speech or respiratory problems occur, they should be reported to the Poison Control Center.

Young infants and children are at greater risk of serious symptoms. A major problem is identifying that a scorpion sting has occurred. With no visible mark or swelling it is hard to tell. The child will be hurting and upset, and then the eyes will start moving in an uncoordinated, roving manner. The child may become hyperactive, with facial twitching and lots of drooling.

Treatment - Call the Banner Poison Control Center to get first aid instructions and determine if the victim needs further medical care. Contact Wagner Pest Solutions for immediate treatment. Each year over 7,000 stings are reported to the Poison Control Center.

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