Descriptions and Control Techniques

Scorpion Facts

Scorpions have existed for 350-400 million years. They were one of the earth's first arthropods.

They are commonly found in deserts, but are present in grasslands, savannahs and certain forests as well. Scorpions have even been found under snow covered mountains.  There are approximately 90 different types of scorpions living in the U.S. All but four of these live west of the Mississippi River.

Scorpions are predators. They feed on a wide range of insects, spiders, centipedes and even other scorpions. Larger scorpions can feed on small lizards, snakes and mice.

Scorpions are nocturnal animals, which means they only go out at night.

Scorpion Bodies 

Scorpions have long, segmented bodies that are divided into 2 sections: The body and the tail.

The Body: They body is divided into 2 parts. One part contains the sensory, mobility and feeding appendages. The other contains the genital openings, the breathing slits and a pair of comb like appendages (pectines) that sweep the ground as detectors.

The Tail: The tail extends out from the abdomen. It has 5 different segments, each one longer than the one before it. At the tip of the tail is the stinger, which is not considered a true segment.

Scorpion with its stinger raised


Symptoms Of A Scorpion Sting

Usually scorpion stings are not fatal, but their sting can be very painful and will need treatment. For more serious scorpions stings, the following symptoms may be seen:

  • Body discomfort
  • Sweating
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Salivation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions
  • Convulsions

Treatment Of A Scorpion Sting

  • If you are stung, you should follow these steps:
  • Call your doctor or emergency services right away
  • Be calm and do not move too much
  • Make sure not to raise up the area
  • Remove blood or venom from around the sting by wiping away from the sting area
  • Use ice cubes to dull some of the pain
  • Bandage the sting area tightly

Scorpion Venom

The venom of scorpions is used both for prey capture and defense.  Their venoms are complex mixtures of toxins, which affect the victim's nervous system, and other substances. Each type of scorpion has its own mixture. Although these creatures have a bad name, only one species in the United States has venom strong enough to seriously harm humans.

The Bark scorpion has the most toxic sting in the U.S. It is found over much of Arizona and a small population live in southeastern California. The venom of this scorpion may produce severe pain and swelling at the sting site, numbness, frothing at the mouth, breathing problems, muscle twitching and convulsions. Death is rare and an antivenin is available for severe cases.


Scorpion Control

Scorpions do not nest, so it is hard to treat them with insecticides. If you use chemical control, be sure to follow the instructions on the label. One of the best ways to control scorpions is to capture them, but you must be careful. Scorpions glow under a black light, so you can use it to find where they are hiding. To be safe, where boots and gloves. You can prevent scorpions from entering your home by following the steps below:

  • Remove/ Cover all trash
  • Remove unneeded rock piles
  • Seal openings in outside walls with mortar or caulking and weather-strip doors
  • Screen doors, windows and vents
  • Keep wood piles away from the house and ground
  • Repair or prevent wet areas caused by leaks

How To Avoid Being Stung 
Scorpion are active at night, so there are more chances to get stung after dark.  Be careful around cracks or plants where scorpions tend to hide.  Scorpions are most often found in dark places when indoors.  Always check the inside of  shoes, closets, cupboards and beds.  Be sure to shake any clothing before putting it on and wear socks and shoes when walking around at night.

Scorpions Life Cycle

Scorpions give birth to their young throughout the summer months.  Their young are not fully developed when they are born, and will develop over the next 7-21 days.  As the babies are born, they crawl up on the mother's back, where they will live safely until they molt.  If they fall off, they become prey, even for their mother.


Scorpion Survival

Scorpions bodies help to protect them, but they do have natural enemies. Scorpions not only feed upon each other, but are prey to other animals as well. Lizards and snakes are among their enemies in San Diego County.