Approximately 56 species of scorpions have been identified in Arizona.
But only one scorpion, the bark scorpion, has a sting that can cause medical problems.
Unfortunately, it is the most common one found in people's homes. If you live in a bark scorpion's territory, you will most likely have them inside your home.
A recent study by the Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center showed that 33 percent of scorpion sting victims were stung in the bedroom with 24 percent being stung in the living room and only 6 percent in the bathroom.
The study also showed most people, 60 percent, were stung on the hand or bare foot.
- The bark scorpion measures from one to one and a half inches in length.
- Color is not a good way to identify this scorpion.
- This scorpion can climb anything but clean plastic and glass. So you will find it on ceilings, cement walls, shower curtains, in clothing closets and food storage areas.
- They are most active at night and like places that are dark and damp.
- To find them in a house use a black light, after dark. Under the black light they look like the color of a green Halloween glow stick that is shining bright.
If you are visiting or live in a bark scorpion-prone area, you need to take special precautions:
- To prevent scorpions from either climbing or falling into a baby's crib, move the crib away from the wall, take off any crib skirts that reach to the floor, place the legs in glass jars and you might want to consider building a scorpion shield over the crib.
- A scorpion shield is a light weight rectangle of plastic or foam core board, cut to be bigger than the crib or bed and hung from the ceiling over the crib. A strip of sticky tape or glue board can be used around the edge to catch scorpions that fall from the ceiling.
- Roll back bed linens and check for scorpions before getting into bed.
- Shake or examine all clothing and shoes before putting them on.
- Move furniture and beds away from the walls.
- Wear shoes when outdoors, especially at night around swimming pools.
- Be especially careful of wet/damp towels in the bathroom and pool area.
Children younger than age 10 are more likely to develop severe symptoms from a scorpion sting. An infant or child stung by a scorpion may experience the following:
- Uncontrollable crying
- Rapid, jittery eye movements
- Increased salivation
Adults stung by a bark scorpion may experience these symptoms, usually beginning within the first two to three hours following the sting:
- Immediate local pain/burning sensation. No swelling or redness.
- Touching the site of the sting causes great pain.
- Numbness and tingling moving to parts of the body distant from the sting (infants and children may constantly rub their nose and face, indicating facial numbness and tingling).
- Visual disturbances and/or uncoordinated eye movements.
- Difficulty swallowing and "swollen tongue" sensation with excessive drooling.
- Slurred speech.
- Muscle twitching.
- Restlessness and irritability.
- Respiratory problems with possible respiratory arrest.
If you are stung by a scorpion, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222. We will give you first aid suggestions as well as follow up with you to make sure you did not have a dangerous reaction.