Steve Tvedten's "The Bug Stops Here"
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All U. S. scorpions can sting, but only the bark scorpion normally can cause serious medical problems. It chooses to live in well defined geographic areas. The small bark scorpion only measures from 1 to 1-½ inches in length. Its color varies from light tan to a dark golden brown. It also is the only scorpion that curls its tail to the side while at rest.

A nighttime feeder, it is most commonly found near irrigated areas, pools, in palm trees, concrete block fences and wooden fences and on the walls in homes. The bark scorpion is the only scorpion that can climb walls and walk across ceilings. It, therefore, can show up in bathtubs, sinks and beds, having fallen from the ceiling. It also has the ability to cling to the underside of wood, making it important to be extremely cautious when handling wood or outdoor furniture. Many times scorpions are found in cupboards, showers and other unexpected places. Scorpions are most active when the daytime temperatures are 70o F. or above.

Special Precautions

Because children under 10 years old are more likely to develop severe symptoms if stung by a scorpion, special care should be taken if you are visiting or reside in a bark scorpion-prone area:

J   To prevent scorpions from either climbing or falling into the crib, place netting over the crib and place the crib legs in clean, wide-mouth jars or wrap with duct tape, sticky-side out.
J   Place duct tape sticky-side up and secured with (masking) tape on the edges along the edges of walls and/or around the bed and/or furniture.
J   Roll back bed linens and carefully inspect for scorpions before getting into bed.
J   Shake and examine all clothing and shoes before putting them on.
J   Move furniture and beds away from the walls.
J   No bare feet; always wear shoes when outdoors, especially around a pool at night.
J   Be especially careful of wet/damp towels in the bathroom and pool area.

Signs and Symptoms of a Scorpion Sting

In infants and children watch for excessive crying, rapid, jittery or uncoordinated eye movements and increased drooling or saliva. They constantly rub their noses and faces, indicating facial numbness, tingling and visual disturbances. Bark scorpion stings can cause one or several of the following symptoms, usually within the first 2 - 3 hours following the sting:

L Immediate local pain/burning/prickly sensation. No swelling or redness.
L The site of the sting is very sensitive; a slight touch causes great pain.
L Numbness and tingling moves from the sting site to distant body parts.
L Difficulty swallowing and "swollen tongue" sensation with excessive drooling.
L Slurred speech.
L Muscle twitching.
L Restlessness and irritability.
L Respiratory problems with possible respiratory arrest.


Call your medical provider to determine whether the sting victim can be managed at home or will require medical treatment, e.g., intravenous medication to relieve muscle pain and spasm. If in doubt, go to the emergency room. Garlic has been used to relieve scorpion stings. It is thought the sulfur components help neutralize the toxins.



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