Our Guide to Scorpions in Arizona
Scorpions are a common sight in Arizona. These venomous pests can be found in deserts, urban areas, and even in homes. Although they are not aggressive, scorpions can deliver painful, even fatal, stings. Learn how to identify scorpions, how to keep them out of your home, and what to do if you get stung. We will cover:
Scorpions are arachnids, related to spiders and ticks. They have eight legs and a long, segmented tail that ends in a stinger. They are nocturnal predators and use their long tails to inject venom into their victims, which paralysis and eventually kills them.
Where do Scorpions Live?
Scorpions are nocturnal predators that hunt and feed primarily at night. During the day, they find shelter in burrows, cracks in rocks, or under debris. In homes, they often take up residence in garages, attics, or closets—areas that are dark and undisturbed.
What do Scorpions Eat?
Scorpions are opportunistic predators and will eat just about anything they can catch—including insects, spiders, lizards, and rodents. In heavily infested areas, they may even resort to cannibalism. If food is scarce, scorpions can go for long periods without eating and survive on the fat reserves stored in their tails.
Are Scorpions Dangerous?
Although scorpions are not aggressive by nature, they will attack if they feel threatened. They are most dangerous to small children and pets, who may be more susceptible to the effects of their venom. However, even healthy adults can experience serious health problems if they are stung by a scorpion.
Symptoms of a scorpion sting include pain, swelling, and numbness at the site of the sting. In some cases, people may also experience difficulty breathing or dizziness. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
While there are more than 60 species of scorpions in the United States, only a handful of them can be found in Arizona. The most common types of scorpion in Arizona include the following:
Arizona Bark Scorpion
Bark Scorpions are relatively small—only between 2-3 inches in length. They are light brown to yellowish in color and have a thin, elongated body with a long, curved tail. The venom of a bark scorpion is highly toxic and can be deadly to humans, especially children.
Giant Hairy Scorpion
Giant Hairy Scorpions are the largest type of scorpion found in Arizona. They can grow up to 7 inches long and are brown or black in color with hairy legs. Though desert hairy scorpions are not considered dangerous to humans, their venom can cause intense pain and swelling.
Arizona Stripetail Scorpion
Striped Tail Scorpions are small, black scorpions with two thick stripes running down their tails. While generally 2-3 inches long, females tend to be larger than males. Stripetails are not considered dangerous to humans, though they can sting in self-defense.
Yellow Ground Scorpion
The Yellow Ground Scorpion is also between 2-3 inches long and has an overall light tan to brownish color. Though their sting is painful, it is not lethal to humans.
If you think there may be scorpions in your home, look for the following signs:
- Droppings—Scorpions leave behind black droppings that look like pepper flakes.
- Exoskeletons—Scorpions molt (or shed their skin) several times during their lifetime. You may find these exoskeletons near where they're hiding.
- Scuttling noises—You may hear some scuttling or scratching noises, especially at night when the creatures are most active.
- Live scorpions—The most obvious sign is actually seeing one.
If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take steps to get rid of the scorpions as soon as possible. Otherwise, they may reproduce and create an even bigger problem.
There are a few different factors that can make your home more appealing to scorpions, and understanding these can help you take the necessary steps to deter them.
- Food Sources—Scorpions are predators and they will eat just about anything they can catch, including other scorpions. So, if your home has a lot of insects, spiders, or other pests, this can be a big attractant for scorpions.
- Shelter—Another reason they are drawn to your home is that it provides shelter from the elements. Scorpions are cold-blooded creatures and they like to find places where the temperature is more moderate. And what’s more, homes are usually filled with hiding places for scorpions to nest.
So, if you want to keep scorpions away from your home, there are a few things you can do.
- Make sure to seal up any cracks or crevices in your home’s foundation and walls. This will help to prevent scorpions from getting inside in the first place.
- Keep your yard clean and free of debris. Scorpions like to hide in clutter, so keeping your yard tidy will make it less appealing to them.
- Try to reduce the number of insects in and around your home. If there are fewer insects for scorpions to eat, they’ll be less likely to stick around. Getting recurring pest inspections and treatments can go a long way toward keeping your home pest-free.
By following these simple tips, you can help to keep scorpions away from your home and keep your family safe.
If you are stung by a scorpion, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The venom from these creatures can cause intense pain and swelling. If you have any allergic reactions, you should also be sure to call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. You can also call the Arizona Poison & Drug Information Center at 1-800-222-1222 for first aid instructions. This service is free, confidential, and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Do not try to catch or kill the scorpion that stung you. This will only increase your risk of being stung again.
Call the Professionals
If you see a scorpion in your home, it is important to call an exterminator immediately. Scorpions can be very dangerous and should not be taken lightly. If you think you may have a scorpion infestation, call an exterminator right away. Do not try to deal with them yourself, as this could be extremely dangerous.