Unwelcome summer guests: Fighting off snakes and scorpions


Ten years is a long time to get used to living in any city. A 115-degree forecast for a July weekend? No sweat. Living half my life on the highway, driving from one extended suburb to another? Meh.

But faced with an inch-long bark scorpion that pretty much blended into my living room carpet as it approached my daughter's canary green Lego? Yikes. Totally unprepared for that.

I promptly bought batteries for the black light, probably as important in an Arizona home as ice in the freezer. The light helps you hunt for them (they glow in the dark) instead of being the hunted and stung.

So that was on a recent Sunday.

The next day, a busy Monday, is hit with a phone call from home, just as I'm settling in at work. "There's a snake in the garage."

It took me about 15 seconds to grasp. Then I went into panic mode, trying to figure out how you even handle such a situation. Bring on swords and clubs? No black light to the rescue I suppose.

Plus, the thought of why me? What’s with my house and all these critters?

Of course that was somewhat naive of me, as scorpions and snakes are a pretty common sight in the hot summer months.

According to the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center, the bark scorpion is the most dangerous and likely to cause medical issues if anyone is stung.

Each year, the Center receives thousands of calls regarding scorpions and snakes, particularly in the summer months. So they would be a great resource to keep in mind.

There are things that can be done to keep scorpions out of your home, including sealing windows and using pesticides, to keep them at bay. Of course, with two young kids at home, I hated the idea of spraying chemicals in the house. But according to Dr. Daniel Brooks, the Center’s co-medical director, you’re better off being safe than stung.

As for the snake, about three feet long, it disappeared in our desert landscaped front yard before we could do anything about it. At least it wasn’t a rattlesnake, which is the most common reason for snake-related calls fielded by the Center. And now I’ve read up on all these handy tips to avoid being caught unawares.

I’ve also plastered the Poison and Drug Information Center’s number - 800-222-1222 - onto my fridge. I used my special magnet: a cool, black spider.

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