Adventures With Scorpions

By Kristy McCaffrey

I live in the Arizona desert north of Phoenix and we have an abundance of scorpions. I liken them to roaches—they’re everywhere, impervious to environment changes, and plain creepy to witness.


Bark Scorpion
There are many types in the area but the most common is the Bark Scorpion, which is poisonous but luckily the sting only causes great discomfort. They inhabit our garage and at times our house, and come in all sizes, from as small as a fingernail to 4-5 inches long. Two effective means of attempting to control the population are the pest guy and sticky pads placed in strategic locations (door thresholds and along walls). Still, we encounter them, with high volume in the hot summer months. 


A sticky pad inside our house.
One afternoon I retrieved the mail and sat again in my car when a scorpion scurried from the letters and onto my lap. Much screaming and hyperventilating ensued, resulting in a squished scorpion. One ran between my feet while I stood in the laundry room in an attempt to escape my chocolate labs. I found a big one in my daughter’s hamper (which she never used again). One got his tail stuck on a sticky pad under my son’s dresser and was slowly making his way into the room, dragging the sticky pad behind him. One morning I entered the laundry room to discover a sticky pad that had migrated to the center of the floor. Two creatures were immobile upon it—a scorpion and the bull snake that was obviously chasing it. Clearly the steel wool we’d stuffed into cabinet crevices wasn’t doing its job to deter critters from entering the house. But probably the most shocking incident was the scorpion that went on vacation with us to California. He wasn’t discovered until we returned home, hanging out in the middle of our suitcase full of clothes. We speculate he’d hitched a ride on a pair of my husband’s shoes, which sat in a grocery bag inside the luggage during our two-day visit to Monterey.


Scorpions can have many young
and will carry them on their back.
I’ve never been stung but suspect my husband (and possibly one of our dogs) has, as evidenced by a strange sore on his hand (and near the dog’s eye) that oozed pus for several days. He eventually recovered, as did the dog.

A giant desert hairy scorpion I saw while hiking near
my house. He was dead when I found him. They
aren't very poisonous.
I wouldn’t say I’ve gotten used to them, but I’ve certainly learned to live with the creatures.

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