The culture of scorpions can date back into ancient history where scorpions represent fierce warriors and protectors of kings and pharaohs. In some cultures, scorpions represent evil entities that are fighters that possess irreconcilable powers. These historical and cultural connections with the scorpion figure may have led to a bad taboo on the scorpion and often times, in today’s world, even the sight of a scorpion will terrify homeowners. Unfortunately, these ancient stories and myths may have sprouted from an all too eerie reality. Although they are considered an occasional invader inside homes, they pose a potential medical threat to people and animals. Known to be fierce hunters, scorpions utilize venoms to paralyze insects and even small animals to forage for food. Because this venom can also pose as a health threat to people, there has been a general concern for scorpions that invade homes. Their nativity is unknown, however, they can be found all over the world with about 70 species located in the United States. In the United States however, they are primarily located in the southwest region and dry southern regions.
Adult scorpions can range in size depending on species and will be as small as 2 inches or can grow to be about 4 inches long. They are easily recognized by their body shape. Their heads look like it has been fused to the thorax. Their thoraxes are elongated and extend out into a tail like appendage that curves upwards that completely ends with a stinger. Towards the front of their bodies, they possess two large legs that end with pincerlike claws. They have 4 pairs of legs and the colors will also vary depending on the species.
Scorpions undergo a simple metamorphosis which means that the young scorpions have the same shape as the adults but are differentiated by size, color, and other minute physical and biological differences. They do not lay eggs; rather, female scorpions give birth to their young. As soon as the young are born, they crawl onto their mothers’ backs and remain on the back until their first molt which can be as far as 30 days after they are born. They will not feed until after their first molt and on average, a scorpion will molt 6 times before they are fully developed. The development process can take anywhere from several months to a staggering 4 years, depending on the species and environmental conditions. Furthermore, the color that the adult scorpion will give off is not attained until after 2 to 3 months of development. Fully matured scorpions can live for several years but on average, they will survive about 3 years. One rare occurrence that can be found in the scorpion group is their ability to regenerate lost appendages. Often times, however, their new appendage is malformed and may not operate as well as the original appendage.
There are not many scorpion species that are found in the United States that can deliver a fatal sting to people. However, the sting of one of the most common scorpion species found in the United States, the common striped scorpion, cause temporary pains, itching of the skin, localized swelling and sometimes even bruising. Normally, the sting of a scorpion is best related to a sting of a wasp or a bee. Although in most cases, the symptoms of a scorpion sting will subside within 24 hours, there are people who will develop a fatal allergic reaction.
In general however, scorpion stings can be fatal. Usually, stings made by scorpions deliver an intense pain and will be followed immediately by distress, numbness, dizziness, anxiety, hyperactivity, difficulty speaking and swallowing, respiratory malfunctions, paralysis of the injured area, and sometimes even convulsions of the body. If a death occurs from a scorpion sting, it is caused by respiratory failure and a combination of other stressful complications on the body.
Scorpions are nocturnal creatures that are the most active during the night. They forage on food during their active stage and will feed on such things like small insects and spiders. There have been reports of scorpions exhibiting cannibalistic behavior; however, this is a rare case and often times when they feed on their own species, they are without an adequate food source. If there is a legitimate water source available, scorpions can actually survive without food for several months.
During the day, scorpions will usually rest or hide in protected areas. This may be in a burrow, under rocks, under logs and fallen trees, in leaf litter and debris, and etc. This helps to conserve water loss and energy for the night’s activities and hunt. In and around the house, scorpions can be found in the crawl space area, in basements, garages, attics, and in the wall voids. If there are windows that are left open without screening or open and freed entry points, they will directly enter living spaces. At sunrise, scorpions will hide in the nearest protected area in the house which is often times inside shoes, in folded clothes and blankets, inside jackets and etc.
There are several different steps to eliminating scorpions from your house. This will involve identification, eliminating food and harborage sites, exclusion and chemical control. After identifying the area that they are harboring in, eliminate the breeding site and all other potential breeding grounds around the structure. Also, scorpions may thrive in an area where there is an adequate food source. Chemical control may be necessary to eliminate other small insect pests from your structure so that the scorpion food source is eliminated. Exclusion includes caulking around door and window frames, checking for possible entry points around utility lines that enter the building, checking for entry points in the vents and facia boards, and also making sure that screens on doors and windows are tightly fitted and in good condition. Finally, apply appropriately labeled pesticides in concentrated areas. If there are scorpions in the wall void, apply a dust product that provides a long residual. Also, apply an appropriately labeled liquid spray in a barrier treatment method outside the perimeter of the structure. Allow for all treated areas to dry before coming in contact with the area again.
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