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How Dangerous Are Scorpions?

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My husband and I were conducting our final walk-through of our soon-to-be beautiful new home. After almost a year of looking, we were excited to find a perfect match for our family of five and ready to move in. As we smiled, took room measurements and imagined our family making memories in this new home, we unexpectedly discovered that the house was already occupied. My husband stopped as he noticed a “stain” on the carpet. He bent down closer to examine it and realized that it was actually a scorpion and it was alive. We found one more live scorpion in a different room. The thought of their four sets of creepy legs, two pincer claws and the venom bulb at the end of their tail made my skin crawl. I was sick to my stomach each time I looked at my sweet boys and pictured them playing in the spots that we found the scorpions. After agonizing over the decision of walking away from our beautiful new home, we ultimately pulled out of the sale and lost money to do so.

Here are just some of the haunting facts that I have found about scorpions.
1. Scorpions are active and feed at night. They typically eat spiders, insects and sometimes, each other.
2. Scorpions live and hide under rocks, wood, crawl spaces, and such areas. They typically hide during the day. If you suspect there are scorpions in your house, always check shoes before putting them on and all towels or articles of clothing.
3. If you live in an area where there is a lot of construction, you may be more likely to find scorpions inside because their outdoor habitat has been disturbed.
4. They can live for months on just water. Because they are looking for water, you may find them in or under sinks, tubs or pools.
5. Scorpions will sting when disturbed. Getting stung is painful and can be extremely dangerous if you have an allergic reaction. Scorpion stings can be deadly for children under six, older adults and anyone with an allergy to the venom.
If you live in an area where scorpions could be found and are looking to buy a new house, do your research before purchasing your new home. Ask the neighbors if they have scorpions.

Add a Comment3 Comments

Wow, this is really creepy! I just relocated to an area that actually has scorpions (being from the frozen North I've never even encountered them before! So now I'm looking for scorpion control that doesn't use lots of chemicals as I'm so sensitive! Thanks!

February 27, 2013 - 5:53pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Susan - What an interesting post, thanks for sharing your experiences.

While scorpions may be feared, they're also fascinating. The Cooperative Extension service at the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at the University of Arizona has a lot of information about them. According to their website:

The venom of scorpions is used for both prey capture, defense and possibly to subdue mates. All scorpions do possess venom and can sting, but their natural tendencies are to hide and escape. Scorpions can control the venom flow, so some sting incidents are venomless or only mild envenomations. Scorpion venoms are complex mixtures of neurotoxins (toxins which affect the victim's nervous system) and other substances; each species has a unique mixture. Despite their bad reputation, only one species in the western U.S. (the bark scorpion, Centruroides exilicauda) and about 25 others worldwide have venom potent enough to be considered dangerous to humans.

The world's most dangerous scorpions live in North Africa and the Middle East (species in the genera Androctonus, Buthus, Hottentotta, Leiurus), South America (Tityus), India (Mesobuthus), and Mexico (Centruroides). In some of these areas, scorpion stings may be a significant cause of death, but reliable data on human mortality are not readily available. Some studies suggest typical mortality rates up to about 4% in hospital cases, with children and the elderly being most susceptible. Death by scorpion sting, if it occurs, is the result of heart or respiratory failure some hours after the incident. During the 1980's Mexico averaged about 800 deaths each year. However, in the past 20 years there have been no reported fatalities in the US due to scorpion stings.

About 40-60 species occur in Arizona, although many are undescribed. The bark scorpion (Centruroides exilicauda) is the only species in Arizona of medical importance. The venom of the bark scorpion may produce severe pain (but rarely swelling) at the site of the sting, numbness, frothing at the mouth, difficulties in breathing (including respiratory paralysis), muscle twitching, and convulsions. Death is rare, especially in more recent times. Antivenin is available for severe cases. Certain people, however, may be allergic to the venom and can experience life-threatening side effects when stung (as occurs with bee stings). No cases of anaphylaxis have been reported in Arizona.

You can find the full text here: http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/insects/az1223/

May 14, 2010 - 5:50pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Thanks for the additional information Pat!

May 14, 2010 - 7:44pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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