Scorpions strike terror in many people and have been both hated and admired since ancient times. This is probably due to their fearsome look, with pincers called pedipalps at one end and a stinger filled with venom at the other. Scorpions are not insects but arachnids, like spiders, and have eight legs and two main body regions, the prosoma, or cephalothorax, and the opisthosoma, or abdomen. The prosoma has two eyes on top and two to five lateral eyes along each side (as many as five pairs).
Even with all those eyes, scorpions can’t see very well! Yet the sensitivity of their eyes is among the highest in all arthropods and dependent on the kinds of habitats in which they live. In general terms, however, their eyes mostly tell movement and light from dark.
The scorpion’s four pairs of legs are attached to the prosoma as well. Scorpions find their way through sensory structures in their legs, by feeling along with brush-like structures called pectines attached to the underside of the abdomen, and through fine sensory hairs to detect vibrations. Male scorpions also use the pectines to find an available female, and newborn scorpions use them to recognize their mother. Though scorpions have no true “tail,” the appearance of one on the abdomen is called the metasoma, and it ends with a sharp stinger and venom glands.
Scorpions have been on Earth a long time and are among the first animals to have adapted to land living—around 420 million years ago. There are fossil records from that time period of a marine scorpion that grew up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) long! Today, scorpions use book lungs to breathe, a type of breathing organ also used by some spider species and very similar to gills.
Scorpions are numerous in many regions but are rarely seen, due to their nocturnal and secretive nature. Even so, many cultures have myths involving scorpions and their powers. Some people believe that scorpions commit suicide by stinging themselves when threatened by fire. This is not true, as they are immune to their own venom.
Frequently Asked Questions about Scorpions.
The purpose of this page is to present answers to some of the questions I often get about scorpions. This page will gradually be extended as more questions occur. This page is devoted to questions about scorpion biology only, and will not adress questions about captive care of scorpions and scorpions as pets.
What is a scorpion?
Scorpions are members of the class arachnida, which also includes spiders (Aranea), mites (Acari), harvestmen (Opiliones), camelspiders (Solifugae), whip scorpions (Uropygi), whip spiders (Amblypygi), Peudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpiones) and a few more smaller orders. Scorpions are easy recognizable by their characteristic pincers and the tail with a stinger. Another uniqe characteristics for scorpions is the comb-like structure on the underside known as pectines.
Where can I find scorpions?
Scorpions are distributed in tropical and some temperate areas on all continents except Antarctica and New Zealand. In Europe, northern distributied is south of the Alps (but an introduced population of Euscorpius flavicaudis exists in southern England). In North America, scorpions can be found as north as southwestern Canada. Scorpions are occationally found outside their natural areas, but these are introductions resulting from scorpions traveling as stowaways in luggage, transports of merchandises etc.
How do I find scorpions?
Most scorpions are nocturnal and will hide during the day. Some species will hide under stones and other suitable objects on the ground. Others will hide in cracks and crevices in rock, trees, houses etc. Some species prefer hiding under bark of old and dead trees. Finally, many species make own burrows in the substrate.
How large/how small can scorpions get?
Scorpions come in many sizes. The longest scorpion is probably Hadogenes troglodytes from southern Africa, which can reach more than 21 cm in length. Long scorpions are also found in the genera Heteromtrus, Pandinus and Heteroscorpion. The rumour about an Asian Heterometrus measuring up to 30 cm is probably only a myth, as it has never been verified by reliable sources. The heaviest scorpion is probably Pandinus imperatur, which can weight more than 50 gram (adult females). The smallest scorpions are found in the genus Microtityus, which only reach 12 mm in adult lenght. There are also other small genera, some of them recently described because of they cryptic way of life. Most scorpions are 4-12 cm long. A couple of fossil scorpions, e.g., Brontoscorpio, may have been as much as 1 meter in length.
Scorpions are arachnids, not insects as you would think. They are close relatives to spiders, mites and ticks. There are approximately 1,300 species of scorpions worldwide. They have elongated bodies and a segmented tail that has a stinger on its tip. Scorpions are very common in the Southern and Southwestern United States.
Prevention and Exclusion
Scorpions may invade structures and crawl under any object that provides protection. Since gaps around doors are a major entryway for these occasional invaders, seal up gaps indoors with weather stripping. Bark Scorpions have been known to climb into the tiniest of cracks. Plug up gaps around wires and pipes. Remove any clutter inside and clean up to eliminate any possible hiding places for scorpions. Since scorpions become active in the early spring, use exclusion methods during the fall and winter months. Scorpions can not climb on clean glass. Place wide- mouth jars under tables and crib legs, if this poses a problem of potential broken glass, apply petroleum jelly on the legs.
Be careful in picking up objects during the summer months. Inspect the underside and scrutinize the object. Shake out shoes and clothing vigorously before wearing them. Do not walk barefooted at night. Use a UV light ( causes them to glow ) when moving about at night in scorpion infested areas. Do not swat at scorpions found on your body; brush them off instead.
During the spring and summer months, use residual insecticides in both a liquid form and dust form. We recommend either an encapsulated insecticide such as Ultracap 9.7 or a wettable powder formulation that mixes with water like Cyper WSP or Demon WP. Dust in void areas with an insecticide dust. We recommend D-Fense Dust. It is also helpful to use insect glue boards inside along the baseboards.
Use a residual insecticide like Lambdastar Ultracap 9.7 or a wettable powder (WP) like Cyper WSP. They should be applied as a 3 to 10-foot band around the perimeter of the structure, into harborage sites, and around potential entry points, such as: around all windows and doors, along baseboards, plumbing, inside closets, and garage and basement areas.
SCORPION FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Scorpions are very distinct creatures belonging to the family of Arachnids. They can be anywhere from 1/2 inch to over 8 inches in length. Generally, scorpions are tan in color but there are some species that are yellow, black or red. While the size and color varies from scorpion to scorpion, the body structure is the pretty much the same for all species. All scorpions have eight legs with two pinchers, or pedipalps, and a segmented body that leads to a tail which curves up over the body. The tail has a stinger on the end which is used to kill or paralyze its prey. The size of the pinchers often tells how poisonous the scorpion is. Large rounded pinchers often indicate a non-poisonous scorpion while small slender pinchers such as those found on the striped bark scorpion indicate a fairly poisonous and possible deadly scorpion.
Scorpions are quite common in much of the southern and southwestern United States. While there are only 13 families of scorpions, there are more than 1,400 species of scorpions worldwide. Out of the 1,400+ species, only 25 have the ability cause death in humans. In America, the Bark Scorpion, also known as the Centruroides gertshi or Centruroides sculpturatus, is the most well-known for causing human fatalities
Another popular scorpion found in the United States is the Centruroides vittatus, or the striped scorpion. This species doesn’t have life threatening venom and is prominent throughout the southern states.Most species which enter houses are not very poisonous, their stings being comparable to those of bees or wasps. However, certain species in the desert Southwest can be dangerous, especially to sensitive or allergic people. Most scorpions are active at night. During the day they hide under bark, boards, rocks, or in rubbish. In houses, they are most often found in undisturbed areas such as closets, seldom-used shoes, or folded clothing.
WHERE TO FIND AND LOCATE SCORPIONS
You may be surprised to learn that scorpions can be found on every continent except Antarctica, but dry climates are their favorite. Due to the fact that scorpions are nocturnal, they hide during the day. Popular indoor hiding places for scorpions include closets, piles of laundry, attics, bathroom or kitchen cabinets and crawl spaces. Scorpions also don’t like temperatures over 100°F, so it’s not uncommon to find them burrowed in the sand, under rocks or in shady spaces when outdoors.
HOW TO GET KILL & GET RID OF SCORPIONS
It can be difficult and time consuming to control scorpions in and around a home, but it can be done. The first thing that should be done is thoroughly cleaning of the inside of the house. Carefully pick up all laundry and debris cluttering the floors. Clean the bathroom and kitchen cabinets out, as well as, the closets and other rarely used spaces. It’s wise to treat these areas while the are empty with residual sprays such as Onslaught Fastcap or Demon WP. Onslaught Fastcap is specially designed for scorpion and spider control. It kills on contact and also leaves behind a residual barrier that continues to kill scorpions for up to 3-4 weeks
How to get rid of scorpions
For many people, there is little more startling than suddenly finding yourself face-to-face with a scorpion. Although a scorpion does not go hunting for people, if they feel threatened they will sting. For some people, such as those in Arizona, this can be a problem since the Arizona bark scorpion can be a potential health risk.
How did the scorpion get inside your house, you may wonder? There are a number of reasons and ways for scorpions to get inside your home. The bigger concern may be, how to get rid of scorpions once they’re there. The last thing you need is a scorpion infestation around your property or inside your home.
How do scorpions get inside your house?
A scorpion is generally not very big. When you look them right in the eye, they may seem huge, but they really aren’t. They are thin and can crawl up walls and ceilings. A window set high off the ground with a broken screen is enough of an opening that a scorpion can reach and get inside.
One of the pest control specialists offer is an inspection of your property. When you call us to tell us that you have been seeing a lot of scorpions in and around your property, we will inspect your home to find out where they are coming from, why they are there, and offer advice on how to keep them out. Our scorpion specialists can also get rid of scorpions already in the house.
What brings a scorpion inside the house?
Scorpions are like any other animal. They want easy access to food. They want shelter from inclement weather and from potential predators. They want to stay warm and hidden, too. Even a scorpion may find cold desert nights too much to bear and will crawl inside a nice warm house to say toasty and safe for the night.