SCORPION INFESTATIONS – THE DANGERS OF SCORPION STINGS
A member of the arachnid family, scorpions are feared for their sting. The continental United States has three native species of scorpion, all found throughout the southwestern states where the climate is hot and dry for most of the year. Of these three, the stripe-tailed scorpion poses the least threat. The other two–the bark scorpion and the Arizona hairy scorpion–are capable of inflicting mild to serious damage to humans with their sting.
The Desert Hairy Scorpion Sting
Arizona hairy scorpions, also known as desert hairy scorpions, are the largest scorpions in North America, ranging from 5 to 7 inches in length. These scorpions are yellow with brown coloration on the top of its body. They are found throughout the regions of the Sonora and Mojave deserts, preferring to burrow under rocks. These scorpions are aggressive when disturbed, but their sting causes no more than a mild to painful reaction at the site unless the person stung has an allergic reaction to their venom.
The Bark Scorpion Sting
Bark scorpions, also known as Arizona bark scorpions, are typically no more than 3 inches in length with a light brown body. They are distributed across almost the entire southwestern United States and northern Mexico, and their venom is the most potent scorpion venom in North America. A sting can cause symptoms from severe pain for up to three days, numbness in the affected limb, or convulsions. Death has been reported, though typically only in the elderly, very young, or those with scorpion venom allergies.
Scorpions have been known to enter homes in order to escape the heat of the desert sun. In order to prevent these occurrences, cracks in walls and foundations should be sealed, ensuring that small scorpions cannot enter. Homes should also be kept clean in order to prevent incidental insects that scorpions may eat, such as ants and cockroaches. Items such as boxes that can serve as hiding places for scorpions should be removed.
If You See Scorpions in Your Home
If one or two scorpions are seen inside a home in a scorpion-prone area, it may not be a sign of a problem. Individual scorpions can be prevented by ensuring that home entry points are sealed and that items such as clothing are scorpion-free before entering a house. If multiple scorpions are seen in a short period of time it is a likely sign of infestation and a licensed pest-control professional should be called.
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