If there’s one thing I’ve learned while living in Arizona: it’s the scorpions’ state and we’re just living in it (I mean…they were here first, so I guess they have the advantage…).
In my eyes, scorpions are at the top of the creepy-crawler pyramid. It wasn’t until I moved away for one year that I realized I have shaped so many of my daily routine habits around expecting to find a scorpion somewhere in my home. I don’t know if this is the usual for every person from Arizona, but in my situation it was the only option.
The first house I lived in as a kid had a minor scorpion problem. My family identified the areas that the scorpions had claimed as their own, so we knew where to take caution when wandering our home. Unfortunately, one of those areas happened to be the closet in my bedroom. Let me tell you, picking up a shirt off the floor and realizing a scorpion is clinging on to the bottom of it is not a pleasant thing to experience while getting ready for school at 7am (or ever). Other than that area of my closet, we occasionally found them in other areas of the house. So, lucky me, I got the worst of it. However, this was nothing compared to what was to come.
In 2010, my family moved into a house that we built in a small town outside of Scottsdale. It was a beautiful house built in a lot surrounded by desert, overlooking the mountains and valley in the distance. This sounds nice, but we must have built this house on sacred scorpion ground. Every scorpion in Arizona was out to get us. I’ve heard that building a new house can stir up the wildlife around it, but this was nothing like what I expected. Without exaggeration, we found at least 10-15 scorpions in our house weekly. This changed up the way my family functioned in everyday life. There are different ways that you can adapt to having scorpions taking over your house, and I think I’ve become accustomed to all of them.
What I’ve Learned
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- Shoes. All of the time. Walking through the house, whether it’s carpet, tile, or wood- shoes. I do not think I’ve walked around a house without shoes on since 2010. Specifically a pair of flip flops that I kept next to my bed so I could immediately slip into them when getting up in the morning (plus, flip flops mean you do not have to check the inside to make sure no scorpions have cozied up waiting for your toes to disturb them). I have become so used to this that it isn’t even an inconvenience anymore. Just a fact of life that you have to wear shoes all of the time, or you might step on a scorpion.
- Another adaptation I’ve made is realizing that any material is fair game for a scorpion to be hiding in. Clothes, towels, sheets, carpet- it’s all up for grabs by scorpions. There are certain habits that have stuck with me that come from the house we lived in (which should be known as The Scorpion Sanctuary). I shake everything. Getting out of the shower, shake the towel out. Picking clothes up off the floor, shake them out. Getting into bed, shake the blankets. The force of shaking everything for 15-20 seconds should be enough to send any stowaway scorpions flying. Shaking everything before getting too close gives some reassurance that there won’t be any stinging incidents.
- A major way that helped my family and I learn to live with scorpions around was carrying around a blacklight flashlight to help spot them. It’s truly a phenomenon how scorpions glow under blacklights, but it’s incredibly convenient if you’re trying to spot them in your home. This was probably the most beneficial way I have learned to live with scorpions. If you want peace of mind that you won’t be getting stung, do a quick scan of the room with a blacklight flashlight. It isn’t totally effective because of places they can hide, but it certainly helps.
These habits, always wearing shoes, shaking everything out and blacklight inspections, might not seem that abnormal to another Arizona native. I learned they were slightly out of the ordinary while living out of state for a year. This is the same time I learned that the threat of getting stung by a scorpion is not even on the radar of people who don’t live in our desert state. When I was asked why I always wore shoes or always shake things out, and I respond that I’m simply making sure there are no scorpions I could disturb and risk getting stung by, I got looked at like a crazy person. “Scorpions???” People would ask with such confused looks. It’s just not something they have to worry about.
By Allison Brown 2018 Responsible Pest Control Scholarship Winner
Delivering EFFECTIVE Pest & Scorpion Control in Greater Phoenix Mesa Gilbert Scottsdale, Glendale, Chandler, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley and surrounding areas!