- Scientific name: Arachnida
- Size: 1-7 inches
- Color: Light tans to black
- Shape: Long, oblong bodies with compact head areas, larger grasping claws and a long, thinner tail with a stinger
- Found in: All of the United States
Scorpions are some of the oldest types of animals on the planet and belong to the same family as spiders. There are nearly 1,750 different species of scorpion, but only a small percent of that number are able to kill a human being with their venom. Scorpions vary in size and habitat, but most are shy creatures that will not seek to attack humans. They have thick exoskeletons and store a supply of fatty tissue under their hard exteriors to help them survive in both arid environments and those where food is scarce. All species of scorpion are known to fluoresce under black light, making them easy to spot, but startling to come upon by accident. Scorpions are also nocturnal.
Signs of Infestation
Like many pest species, the first sign of a scorpion infestation is by visual evidence. If you live in an area known for scorpions, it would be wise to purchase a hand-held black-light to check the outer foundations of the house or sheltered area of the house such as the basement or crawlspaces. Small black light devices are used by scorpion researchers in the field, so they are a very consistent means of detection. If you live in the most hospitable part of the U.S. for scorpions (those areas that are consistently between 68-99 degrees Fahrenheit), seeing a scorpion more than once in your home is cause to suspect that you may have an infestation.
Scorpions generally favor environments that are temperate, but they can be found in all different types of habitats. Scorpions have been found in high mountain areas and caves as well as deserts and forested areas as well. In a human habitation, scorpions prefer those areas that offer them dark, damp places to hide as well as shelter from the more extremes of weather. A scorpion will nearly always stay away from direct sources of light to avoid detection by their predators. In some cases, this can include humans, as some species of scorpion have been incorporated into the diet of certain cultures.
Scorpions are predators whose venom has been developed to kill or paralyze their food. They do not rely solely on their venom, however. The insides of the scorpion’s pincers are coated in reactive hairs that will cause the scorpion to snap it’s claws shut around the disturbing object. They then either kill the prey with their claws or sting it with their tail. Scorpions have been known to eat everything from insects, other scorpions to small lizards and rodents. Scorpions can consume a great deal of food in a single sitting which allows them to be able to go long periods of time without eating.
Treatment and Prevention
The best treatment if you expect a scorpion infestation is to remove the areas they can use as a hiding spot. Since most scorpion species are resistant to pesticides, it is best to call in a professional to deal with them if you find that you have a serious problem.