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How To Tell The Difference Between The Most Dangerous Scorpion Species That Are Frequently Found Within And Around Arizona Homes

Dozens of scorpion species inhabit the United States, the majority of which can be found west of the Mississippi River. Most scorpion species dwell far away from urban areas, and are only active at night, making them unlikely to be encountered by humans. In fact, new scorpion species are discovered in the southwest US frequently, and of the 70 to 75 species already documented in the country, experts believe many more species have yet to be discovered. Only four scorpion species are regularly encountered in urban and suburban areas of Arizona, and they are the only scorpion species that are considered pests in the state. These species are named: Hadrurus arizonensis, Centruroides exilicauda (formerly C. sculpturatus), Hoffmannius or Vaejovis coahuila and Vaejovis spinigerus, and they are more commonly known as the “desert hairy scorpion,” the “Arizona bark scorpion,” the “yellow-ground scorpion,” and the “stripe-tailed” or “devil scorpion,” respectively. Of These four species, only the Arizona bark scorpion is considered medically significant.

Due to not being well described in academic literature, many sources make no mention of yellow-ground scorpions as being common pests in Arizona, but these medically harmless scorpions are commonly found within and around homes in the southern half of the state. The desert hairy scorpion stands out among scorpion pests for its relatively massive size, which can exceed 6 inches in length. Although these scorpions are intimidating to look at, their stings are not terribly painful and they are not medically significant, but those with venom allergies may experience distressed breathing, swelling and other symptoms in response to stings.

Yellow-ground scorpions are commonly mistaken for Arizona bark and devil scorpions, as all three species are usually slightly less than three inches in length and are of similar color. However, yellow-ground and devil scorpions are a bit more robust than Arizona bark scorpions, and the back and underside of the tail of the devil scorpion features dark horizontal stripes that both Arizona bark and yellow-ground scorpions lack. Arizona bark and yellow-ground scorpions both have a similar light brown to yellowish body color, and their pincers are longer than those of devil scorpions, but yellow-ground scorpions have a lighter colored back and a bulkier tail than Arizona bark scorpions. It is also important to mention that the Arizona bark scorpion is the only scorpion species that does not burrow and is a capable climber of vertical surfaces. This is why Arizona bark scorpions often congregate on the exterior walls of homes, fall from ceilings, and are commonly found in attics, while the other species are generally found only on the ground, especially within shoes and underneath furniture.

Have you ever put on a shoe that had been occupied by a scorpion?

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When Was The Last Time Someone Died From A Scorpion Sting In Arizona, And How Deadly Were The Arachnids In The State Before The Advent Of Antivenin Treatment?

When Was The Last Time Someone Died From A Scorpion Sting In Arizona, And How Deadly Were The Arachnids In The State Before The Advent Of Antivenin Treatment?

More than 1,800 scorpion species have been documented worldwide, including 50 in the Sonoran Desert. Given the abundance of scorpion species inhabiting isolated desert areas where fauna have yet to be adequately documented, many more scorpion species likely remain undiscovered. While this may be hard to believe, new scorpion species are discovered frequently all over the world, even in Arizona. For example, a 2 inch scorpion was discovered near Tucson back in 2013, and two additional scorpion species were discovered in Arizona in 2016. Although these recently discovered scorpion species are venomous, the well documented Arizona bark scorpion is likely the only species in the US that is capable of inflicting potentially deadly sting to humans. Due to widely available medical facilities in the US, fatalities from scorpion stings almost never occur in the country, but this has not always been the case.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center collects around 12,000 scorpion sting reports per year in the state, and this high number is due to the Arizona bark scorpion’s habit of gravitating onto residential properties where dangerous encounters are apt to occur. The last known fatality resulting from a scorpion sting in Arizona occurred in 2013, and the one before that occurred a decade earlier. However, in between the years of 1926 and 1964, the Arizona bark scorpion caused 75 human deaths, and while this species can be found in smaller numbers in neighboring states, all 75 of these fatalities occurred in Arizona. This clearly indicates that Arizona bark scorpions remain a major public health threat in their native region, but fatalities are rare today due to the advent of antivenin, which is often mistakenly referred to as “antivenom.” Antivenin is a medical treatment that can save the lives of those who sustain stings inflicted by Arizona bark scorpions, and all hospitals and medical clinics in the state stock large amounts of antivenin.

Have you ever encountered an Arizona bark scorpion within your home?

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An Arizona Senator Sustains A Scorpion Sting Within Her Bed

Scorpions can be found in several states along the Gulf Coast and even as far north as Kentucky, but the most abundant and diverse scorpion populations exist in the southwest states of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and Texas. The most venomous species, which still kills scores of people every year in Mexico, is the bark scorpion, which is most abundant in Arizona, but the species can also be found in southwest New Mexico, southeast California and the southern regions of Nevada and Utah. Not even experts like entomologists and pest control professionals are exactly sure as to how many scorpion species have been documented in Arizona over the years, but the number is somewhere in between 40 and 60 species. Unfortunately, the dangerous bark scorpion is the most commonly encountered scorpion in Arizona, and it is also the species most often found within homes in the state. Hopefully, this is not the scorpion species that recently stung Arizona state Senator Sine Kerr last month while she was sleeping in her bed.

At 3:00 AM on a Tuesday morning, Senator Kerr suddenly awoke to an intense throbbing pain in her hand. As it turned out, the Senator’s left thumb had been stung by a scorpion that was crawling around within her bedding. Needless to say, the Senator did not notice the scorpion in her bed before retiring late the night before, but it many have climbed into her bed while she and her husband were sleeping. The scorpion was found below her sheets, and although it was Senator Kerr who sustained the sting, it was her husband that seemed most frightened of the arachnid, as Senator Kerr ended up squishing the fierce creature. But before she did, the Senator captured video footage of the scorpion on her phone, which she later posted to Facebook where it can still be viewed. The Senator claimed that the sting had been very painful, and it took a whole 15 hours to subside.

Do you ever check your bedding for creepy-crawlies before going to bed at night?

 

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Well Over 1,000 Scorpion Sting Cases Have Been Reported In Arizona During 2019

Well Over 1,000 Scorpion Sting Cases Have Been Reported In Arizona During 2019

The types of pests that invade homes in the United States vary tremendously depending on the region. For example, according to Census Bureau data, around 15 percent of households in New York City are infested with rats, while cockroaches, another abundant pest in the Big Apple, are present within only 16 percent of households in the city. However, in Phoenix, only 3 percent of homes are believed to be infested with rats, but a whopping 20 percent of homes in the city are infested with cockroaches. Although cockroaches are abundant across the US, most people would likely be surprised to learn that a sprawling Arizona city sees a greater number of roach-infested households than New York, especially since Phoenix is nearly one eighth of New York City’s size in terms of population. As much as cockroaches are hated, at least they don’t inflict venomous stings that could send humans to the hospital. Unfortunately, for Arizona residents, scorpions also invade homes during the spring and summer months in the state, and they are not gracious guests. Two years ago, Arizona’s only two poison control centers reported that around 12,000 people per year sustain scorpion stings in the state. Since the start of the 2019 year, more than 1,000 scorpion stings have been reported in all Arizona counties except for Maricopa, which alone contains more than half of Arizona’s entire population.

In addition to being very painful and even life-threatening, scorpion stings can also lead to hefty hospital bills. For example, back in 2012, Marcie Evans was billed 83,000 dollars for a much-needed dose of antivenom after she sustained a sting from a bark scorpion. Bark scorpions are the most venomous scorpions in Arizona, and they also account for the greatest amount of sting cases reported in the state. The Valley had long been a natural scorpion habitat until the region was settled by humans over a century ago. This partly explains why scorpion sting cases are particularly high in Maricopa County, but as it turns out, bark scorpions are one of the few scorpion species that are not only capable, but also seem to enjoy crawling up a home’s interior and exterior vertical walls. Strong insecticides can take care of indoor scorpion infestations, but Arizona residents should always be mindful of their surroundings, as scorpions sometimes appear in urban centers of the state.

Have you ever found a scorpion crawling on you, but did not sustain a sting?

 

 

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The Largest Scorpions In The World Can Be Found In Arizona

The Largest Scorpions In The World Can Be Found In Arizona

It goes without saying that Arizona is known for its numerous arachnids, most notably scorpions and tarantulas. Any good real-estate professional in Arizona is sure to warn potential home-buyers in the state about the many local wildlife hazards that can pose a threat to residents, and arachnids are certainly one of these wildlife hazards. Although they may be a nightmarish sight and venomous, the tarantula species that are native to Arizona are next to harmless, and will not inflict bites that are any more painful than bee stings. This is not the case for another group of arachnids within the state–scorpions.

The Arizona bark scorpion is easily the most venomous scorpion species in Arizona, and while their venom is potentially deadly, very few people in the state have succumbed to bark scorpion stings since the introduction of an effective antivenom. A far less venomous, but much scarier looking scorpion species in Arizona would be desert hairy scorpions. There are numerous hairy scorpion species residing in Arizona, and hairy scorpions represent the largest family of scorpions in all of North America. These wicked looking creatures can grow to be around seven inches in length. Unfortunately, these massive scorpions are sometimes found in residential areas, and even within homes, as this scorpion group gravitates toward watered lawns and ornamental plants in order to capture and feed on their beetle prey that are also attracted to these common features of suburbia. Interestingly, desert hairy scorpions have the longest lifespan of all scorpion species worldwide. The oldest hairy scorpions die at around 25 years of age, while most specimens live for 10 to 15 years in the wild, and for 15 to 20 years in captivity. Although not territorial, desert hairy scorpions will not hesitate to attack when provoked. When properly motivated, a hairy scorpion will intimidate prey and humans by raising their legs in the air while vertically situating themselves with the assistance of their strong tail.

Have you ever found a scorpion specimen in the wild that you believe exceeded 7 inches in body length?

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A Young Arizona Boy Demonstrated Serious And Bizarre Symptoms Before Nearly Losing His Life Due To Two Bark Scorpion Stings

When the hot summer months start to arrive in Arizona so do all the creepy crawlies that you want to avoid at all cost, namely scorpions. With more scorpions out and about the number of scorpion stings increase during the summer. We know what they look like and that it is important to watch out for scorpions, but most people would not know how to recognize the symptoms of a scorpion sting in a young child. One little Arizona boy suffered from an attack from one and his parents were shocked and rather confused by his extreme symptoms. They would never have known it was caused by a scorpion sting had they not caught him with the creature still crawling on him.

10 month old Jericho Lewis began exhibiting strange symptoms after being stung by a bark scorpion, one of the most common scorpions in Arizona as well as the most venomous. His grandmother recorded the child on her cell phone, and the family shared it on the Internet to show his reaction and hopefully raise awareness of just what it might look like if your own child were to be stung and have a similar severe reaction. Without knowing he was stung by a scorpion, his reaction could easily be mistaken for a child having a temper tantrum. In fact, the boy was suffering from a severe reaction to the sting. His mother, Kelsie Lewis described his symptoms, citing his red face, trouble breathing, vomiting, and darting eyes and tongue. What might not cause much harm in an adult can easily be deadly for a small child.

Where parents might get confused is that, while Jericho was stung twice, the stings were not very red or swollen, and might have not even been noticed if he hadn’t been found with a scorpion still crawling on him. His family quickly took him to the hospital, and Jericho had to be treated with two vials of antivenom in order to get rid of his symptoms. Thankfully, after just a few days the little boy was up, happy and as talkative as if the harrowing event had never taken place.

Has your child or another child you know ever been stung by a scorpion? What was their reaction?

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You Wouldn’t Believe How People Fought Scorpion Invasions Before The Emergence Of The Commercial Pest Control Industry

Scorpions are one of the most deadly arachnid groups that exist, as many species produce venom that can kill an adult human after making him/her extremely ill. Scorpion stings are notable for causing a wide range of highly unpleasant physical symptoms ranging from cardiac issues to bizarre neurological conditions. It is not unheard of for people to fall into comas in response to scorpion envenomation. Although venom antidotes have been developed to treat stings from some of the most dangerous scorpion species, many antivenoms have yet to be developed for addressing stings inflicted by other potentially deadly scorpion species. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people around the world are vulnerable to scorpion stings. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that more than 1.2 million scorpion envenomations occur every year, 3,500 of which turn out to be fatal. The country with the greatest number of human deaths caused by scorpion stings is Brazil. For the past few years, deadly yellow scorpions have been moving into urban areas of Brazil for the first time in history, and this migration has caused a rash of deaths within the last year. In order to prevent yellow scorpions stings in urban areas of the country, many people have been putting chickens in backyards and around apartment buildings, as chickens are natural scorpion predators. Although this method of scorpion control may sound strange, such unorthodox control measures are not new to Brazilians.

During the early 1950s, the Brazilian city of Ribeirão Preto, which contained 80,000 residents, was invaded by deadly scorpions, resulting in widespread panic and numerous deaths. Between 1949 and 1951, over 10,000 scorpions were captured within the kitchens, bathrooms and backyards of people’s homes. In order to reduce the rate of scorpion sting fatalities in the city, a massive media campaign was launched to educate the public concerning the nature of scorpions and how to protect homes from being invaded by the arachnids. School students were subjected to daily lectures concerning the scorpion threat, and the city’s mayor enacted a program that entailed the capturing of scorpions by students. Numerous collection points were located all over the city and the mayor offered a prize to the student who succeeded in capturing the greatest number of scorpion specimens. Ironically, this particular public health campaign to protect residents from scorpion stings by reducing their numbers in the city only increased the risk of falling victim to potentially deadly stings.

Have you ever sustained a bite from any type of arachnid?

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Which Scorpion Species Are The Most Deadly?

If you have ever lived, or have gone camping in dry and arid regions, then you were likely made aware of the threat of scorpions. Although there exists a multitude of scorpion species, most of them are not life-threatening to humans. In most cases, a brutally painful sting is the worst that would happen if you were to, say, put on a shoe containing a scorpion. Many people wrongly assume that a scorpion’s body size is indicative of their venomous potential. Apparently, the bigger the scorpion, the more venomous people assume it to be. Although large-bodied scorpions may be the scariest scorpions to look at, body size is not, in any way, indicative of a scorpion’s venom-toxicity. For example, the emperor scorpion can grow to be a whopping eight inches in length, but they are relatively safe. In fact, many people keep emperor scorpions as pets. However, there are a few scorpion species that can, indeed, cause human fatalities.

The most venomous scorpion species in the world may be the Indian red scorpion. This species is typically cited by experts as being the most dangerous scorpion to humans. Victims of Indian red scorpion stings will likely experience nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and, in more severe cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Pulmonary edema causes shortness of breath and it can lead to death. Luckily, a drug known as prazosin can decrease mortality rates from these stings.

If you want to know which scorpion sting is among the most painful, look no further than the aptly named “deathstalker scorpion.” This scorpion species is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Sting victims will experience increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, and even convulsions and coma. Children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals can die as a result of this scorpion’s sting. Finally, there is the Arabian fat-tailed scorpion. This scorpion species has been known for killing children and people with heart conditions. For those not afflicted with a heart condition, the worst that will happen upon receiving a sting from a fat-tailed scorpion include unconsciousness, hypertension and seizures. If medical treatments are not sought out within a seven hour timeframe, death is likely to result from this scorpion’s sting.

Have you ever sustained a sting from a scorpion?

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The Most Venomous Scorpion Species Is Not The One You Think

The Most Venomous Scorpion Species Is Not The One You Think

The United States is home to numerous scorpion species, the most dangerous of which is the Arizona bark scorpion. Despite this species’ highly toxic venom, it is not the most dangerous species known to exist in the world. For those who fear scorpion bites, be thankful that you do not live in India, which is home to the world’s most dangerous scorpion species.

It is often claimed that the notoriously venomous and aptly named deathstalker scorpion is the most dangerous scorpion species to humans, and while an argument can be made to support this claim, many experts would insist that the Indian red scorpion deserves the title of the world’s most deadly scorpion. As its common name suggests, this scorpion species is mainly found in India, but populations are also found in neighboring Pakistan and Nepal.

The Indian red scorpion sting can cause a plethora of unpleasant symptoms such as  nausea, heart problems, discoloration of the skin, and in some cases, pulmonary edema, which is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The chances of dying from a red scorpion bite depends on the amount of venom injected into a wound, but in many cases, stings are fatal. However, when the blood pressure medication called prazosin is administered to sting victims within a quick enough timeframe, fatality rates decrease to only 4 percent. Deaths from Indian red scorpion stings most often result from fluid buildup within the lungs, which is certainly not a pleasant way to go out. Despite this species being well studied for several decades, experts are still not sure as to how the venom triggers such violent physiological reactions in humans and other animals. This species of scorpion is rarely encountered in Pakistan and Nepal, but unfortunately for citizens of India, red scorpions are often found nesting near human settlements.

Have you ever encountered a potentially deadly arachnid of any species in the wild?

 

 

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Persian Kings Paid Bounties For Dead Scorpions As An Ancient Form Of Pest Control

Persian Kings Paid Bounties For Dead Scorpions As An Ancient Form Of Pest Control

Who has not, at one point in life, chosen a favorite animal? Children are especially opinionated when it comes to this topic, but even many adults favor one particular type of animal over others. Monkeys, lions, bears or wolves are common animal favorites, but it is rare to hear anybody speak highly of scorpions. This is not hard to understand, as scorpions are unsightly creatures that are notorious for delivering painful and sometimes deadly stings. Not surprisingly, scorpions have been universally hated for ages. Some of the earliest surviving texts from the Roman era have contained passages that describe scorpions with great disdain. A couple thousand years ago, scorpions caused many problems for both Romans and Persians. Persians were especially ill-disposed toward scorpions, as they inhabited desert regions where scorpion species were abundant and diverse.

The ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder described scorpions as being “worse than a plague.” Elder further described how scorpion stings were worse than viper stings, as scorpion sting-victims would suffer in agony for three days before finally dying from the toxic effects of venom. Another Roman historian, Aelian, wrote about the unfortunate abundance of scorpion life in middle-eastern regions where the creatures could be found beneath every rock in the desert. Although this may be an exaggeration, scorpions posed a serious threat to those traveling along the historic trade route known as the Silk Road and other caravan routes. This meant that shipments from Asia would sometimes be held up by deadly scorpion attacks. This problem was serious enough for Persian kings to put bounties on dead scorpions. These bounties resulted in numerous scorpion hunts where the highest bounties would be paid to the individuals who captured the greatest number of scorpions. Aelian wrote about winged scorpions, and winged scorpions were depicted on different forms of early Mesopotamian art.

Of course, we can be grateful that flying scorpions do not actually exist, nor have they ever existed. Modern scholars believe that ancient historians mistakenly referred to venomous flying insects as scorpions. However, Pliny the Elder was the first Roman historian who hypothesized that so called “winged scorpions” were actually normal scorpions being pushed through the air by strong wind gusts during sandstorms. This may be the case, as airborne scorpions will straighten their legs to resemble wings during sandstorms.

Given the scorpion’s lobster-like pincers, do you believe that scorpions share a close lineage with aquatic arthropods as opposed to winged arthropods?