Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hello Scary Giant - Our Battle with Scorpions

When a couple neighbor girls came by today to play with my daughter, they were greeted by this giant scorpion guarding our front door.  They were so brave to ring the doorbell anyway.  This guy is a Giant Hairy Scorpion.  He's as long as a crayon, but this species can grow up to six inches long.  Once I mistook one of these for a lizard, when I saw it down by my nephew's feet.

Right after we moved in a couple years ago, we started seeing scorpions around.  Among others, there was a scorpion on my kitchen counter, by my bedroom light switch, and more than once I found myself in the shower with one.  I learned the little guys we were finding inside the house were Bark scorpions.  There are about forty scorpion species in Arizona, of which only the Bark scorpion can deliver a venomous sting that often results in needing medical attention.  I was really freaked out that one of the kids might get stung.  I had heard that scorpions are impossible to get rid of completely.  I called exterminators and read everything I could find on them.  After reading survival tips like putting the legs of cribs into glass jars and suspending sticky foam board above the beds, I felt hopeless.  I wanted to move.   I'm sure there are great exterminators out there, but I had heard negative things from frustrated friends.  Despite hiring an exterminator, one friend and her son had recently been stung four times and spent time at the ER.  I didn't want to pay a bunch of money and still not have peace of mind that this enemy was gone. 

My determined husband took it upon himself to head up our scorpion eradication crusade.  He has found that doing just a few simple things has been very successful in combating them.  We have still had scorpions near our house, but only a few (dying or dead) inside the house.  Thankfully, none of us have been stung. 

Jess' Extermination Methods:
  • Scorpion hunting on warm nights in the front and back yard armed with a black light (since they glow) and wearing flip flops to slip off and smash them with.  He says every time he kills one, that's less babies they can have.  (They give birth 25-35 at a time.)  His record killing in one night is 23.
  • Regular bed and room checks with the black light.  He has never found one in a bed, but it provides peace of mind when tucking in for the night.
  • Fogging the attic has been crucial in removing scorpion prey, such as crickets.  He does this whenever we leave the house for a day or more, using the suggested amount for the living area but up to 3x as much for the attic.  
  • Spraying the barrier of house and the columns of the cinder block walls (they love living in those) with an insecticide.  This is to eliminate their food source as the insecticide doesn't work on scorpions unless sprayed directly.  If you're in a position to spray them directly, save the spray and smash 'em!  In his experience a common indoor/outdoor insecticide has been as effective as when he used a commercial grade spray.   He sprays a few times a year. 

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