- Scientific name: Centruroides
- Size: 2 to 3 ¼ inches
- Color: Light brown to dark brown
- Shape: Long oval body with curved, stinger-tipped tail and small claws
- Found in: Southern United States
What are they?
Bark scorpions are a general classification for several different species of scorpions that dwell in the Unites States, Mexico and South America. Though the general conception is that scorpions live exclusively in deserts, this is not always the case. They can live quite comfortably in much more temperate environments. Some of these species are quite uniquely colored, but the most common species are very plainly colored. Bark scorpions are venomous, but the most common species are not very strongly so. At most, unless there is an allergic reaction, most adults react to the sting of the most common type of bark scorpion, the Arizona Bark Scorpion, as if it were a bee sting, however, if the household has small children, those with compromised immune systems or those with allergies, the bark scorpion can be a very big issue.
How can you tell you have them?
If you haven’t already spotted scorpions in your home, the best way to tell if you have scorpions is honestly by looking around your home if you live in an area where bark scorpions are common. Most species of bark scorpion fluoresce under ultraviolet light unless they have just molted, but it makes it very easy to identify scorpions in their normal nocturnal foraging/hunting habits by simply shining a black light over the suspected area of infestation. You can purchase a cheap black light at many hardware stores for a relatively low price. Wait until full dark and then take a look around the exterior and interior of your home, concentrating on areas that are profuse with nooks and crannies for these small creatures to hide.
What kind of environment do they like?
Bark scorpions are most common to the areas of the United States are primarily arid and dry. These little predators are adapted to a desert environment and are biologically adapted to the low moisture areas they are native to. They usually hide during the day, to conserve their body’s supply of water. They like to use spaces that are dark and stable, such as piles of rocks, tree bark and wood piles. They are not a burrowing animal, but will use the burrows of other animals as shelter. This type of scorpion is unique in its ability to climb almost anything with a rough surface, including interior and exterior walls and trees. They also prefer to be upside-down, which means most people will be stung while lifting a surface that the scorpion is clinging to.
The bark scorpion is a stalking predator and prefers to eat other insects such as roaches, crickets and other smaller insects. These scorpions will likely follow their prey into human habitation, though it is also the case that bark scorpions are fond of houses that are newly built, near new construction sites or surrounded by desert. The bark scorpion is also a prey animal for many other species, such as peccaries, snakes, spiders and other scorpions. The bark scorpion is also the particular prey of the grasshopper mice, who, instead of being adversely affected by their sting, actually uses it for a pain killer.
What to do?
Because of the pesticide resistant and venomous nature of these scorpions the best bet for homeowners in the case of a scorpion infestation is to consult an expert in scorpion eradication. Also, because most scorpions invade human homes due to a disturbance in their native habitat, getting rid of them without professional help is almost impossible.