Scorpions inhabiting Arizona remain dormant throughout the winter before emerging in March, but in recent years, the venomous arachnids have been emerging as early as February in the southern half of the state. For example, during February of 2017, numerous southern Arizona residents were finding scorpions within their bedding, in showers, all over their yards, as well as on the internal and external walls of their home. Arizona bark scorpions, stripe tailed scorpions and giant hairy scorpions are the three most commonly encountered scorpion species in residential areas of southern Arizona, and while sustaining a sting from any one of these scorpions will cause pain, only the Arizona bark scorpion inflicts dangerous stings to humans.
Children, the elderly, immunocompromised individuals and those with venom allergies are at the highest risk of suffering serious medical consequences, and even death as a result of sustaining just one sting from an Arizona bark scorpion. Although more than 12,000 scorpion sting incidents are reported in Arizona annually, deaths almost never occur due to the wide availability of anti-venom solution within hospitals and medical clinics statewide. That being said, when a scorpion is found crawling on a person’s body, the aggressive arachnid should be removed as quickly and as safely as possible, but of course, this is easier said than done.
Entomologists and pest control professionals generally use forceps that resemble large tweezers in order to safely remove scorpions from indoor and outdoor surfaces and people’s bodies. Professionals first use the forceps to pinch a scorpion’s tail before removing it with a quick turn of the wrist. The forceps should always be used to pinch the tail just below the stinger in order to prevent the arachnid from whipping its stinger into the skin. For the sake of their well being, scorpion tails should not be pinched too hard. It is also important to keep in mind that scorpions should be relocated quickly, as they wiggle furiously in an effort to shake themselves loose from forceps or gloved fingers. Picking up a scorpion with bare hands is inadvisable even for seasoned experts.
Have you ever picked up a scorpion with a tool? Gloved hands? Or even bare hands?