Desert Critters

Bark Scorpions

The bark scorpion is the most venomous in the U.S. Unfortunately, it’s also the most common scorpion found in homes.


  • The bark scorpion measures from one to 1.5 inches in length
  • Color is not a good way to identify this scorpion
  • This scorpion can climb anything but clean plastic and glass, and will be found 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 glow the color of a green glow stick

Symptoms in Children

For children under 10, pain/numbness and/or tingling can occur. Watch for face/nose rubbing, indicating numbness and tingling. Children are more likely to develop severe symptoms, including rapid, jittery eye movements and increased salivation.

Symptoms in Adults

Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 3 hours following the sting:

  • Local pain/burning sensation; no swelling or redness
  • Numbness and tingling moving through the body
  • Visual disturbances and/or uncoordinated eye movements
  • Difficulty swallowing and swollen tongue sensation, excessive drooling
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle twitching
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Respiratory problems with possible respiratory arrest

Treating a Sting

If you are stung by a scorpion, call the poison center at (800) 222-1222. We’ll provide first aid suggestions and follow up to make sure you did not have a dangerous reaction.


If you are visiting or live in a bark scorpion-prone area, you need to take special precautions: 

  • To prevent scorpions from 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

Buying a Home

Planning to buy a home? Learn how to determine if a home has a scorpion problem in our Poison Prevention tips

If you have questions, please call us directly at (602) 253-3334 or call (800) 222-1222 for your local poison center. 

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