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Scorpions In Florida: What Homeowners Should Know

scorpions in florida

There are things you worry about when buying your home in Florida. For example, you knew you’d have to protect against hurricane and flood damage. Maybe you had a passing thought about crossing paths with an alligator.

No one told you about the scorpions, though. You also never got the memo about how many of them have venom in their stingers that can be poisonous. Even when there’s no venom, those stings hurt like crazy.

Just looking at a scorpion, you can tell that they’re formidable, at least as far as bugs are concerned. If you’ve heard stories about how painful the stings can be, the encounter will likely scare you, even if the scorpion doesn’t do much of anything.

In this post, we will give you an overview of scorpions in Florida, including how to identify them, which types are most common here, why more people have been seeing them in their homes, and how to keep yourself safe.

Scorpions: The Most Important Things To Know

You could fill a book with all the crazy facts about scorpions. For example, you probably didn’t realize that babies are called couplings and don’t lay eggs like other arachnids. Or that these creatures can live for nearly two days without oxygen. Did you know scorpions can survive up to a year after eating only a single insect? How about that some females don’t even need to mate with a male scorpion to reproduce? 

Unfortunately, none matters if you face-to-stinger with one in your house. What does matter?

They Are Generally Not Aggressive

Thankfully, most scorpion species aren’t aggressive. Like most animals, they will defend themselves if they feel in danger. For example, if you slide a foot into a shoe where a scorpion is hiding, roll on them, touch them, or step on them, you could risk getting stung.

Most Encounters Aren’t Deadly

While there are stories about the potent venom in scorpion stings killing people, the likelihood you will die from a scorpion sting is relatively low. That said, you will probably regret being the victim of a scorpion sting. Why is that?

Stings Can Be Very Painful

“Pain, which can be intense.” That’s what the Mayo Clinic says about how scorpion stings feel, but it doesn’t cover what happens physiologically when a person gets stung.

Researchers have discovered that scorpion venom is designed to not only activate pain signals but essentially unlock your pain gateway, letting more pain signals pass through, and that these signals are magnified due to the venom’s acidic nature.

Essentially, the venom is built to maximize your discomfort.

You Could Be Allergic To Stings

If you are allergic to insect stings, you might experience a wide variety of symptoms, including:

  • An accelerated or irregular heartbeat
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle spasms or twitches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness
  • Seizures
  • Strange movements of the head, neck, and eye
  • Sweating
  • Trouble breathing

Don’t take any chances when it comes to your health. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.

Children And The Elderly Are At A Higher Risk

Children suffer more than healthy adults for a simple reason: they’re smaller. That means the same amount of venom will have more of an impact. Seniors tend to suffer more because their immune system isn’t as strong. With truly severe stings, seniors and children can die without treatment.

Scorpion Reports Are On The Rise

More Florida residents have reported finding scorpions in their homes in recent years. Entomologists also warn that scorpion-human interactions might increase even more in coming years.

Over 1700 scorpion species have been discovered so far. Unless you live in Antarctica (the only continent where scorpions don’t exist), there’s always a chance you might run into a scorpion.

If you get one of these creatures in your Florida home, it will likely be one of these three main types: the Florida Bark Scorpion, the Hentz Striped Scorpion or the Guiana Striped Scorpion.

Florida Bark Scorpion

Florida Bark Scorpion

Want a summary of what you need to know about Florida bark scorpions? Here are some essential facts:

  • This species is found in the more tropical parts of Florida.
  • As the largest of all Florida’s scorpions, the average length is between two and four inches.
  • This scorpion is reddish brown to black. The legs are lighter in color, ranging from yellowish to orange to reddish.
  • Florida bark scorpions are fast and flighty.
  • The sting from this variety of scorpions can be excruciating.

Hentz Striped Scorpion

What are the distinguishing characteristics of the Hentz striped scorpion? Homeowners should know that:

  • This is the most common scorpion in Florida. This type is found almost everywhere in the state.
  • The Hentz striped scorpion’s average length is between two and a half inches.
  • This species is tan to dark brown. The abdomen often has yellowish-green strips across its width. The length of this scorpion’s body may have a pair of dark stripes.
  • There’s a tooth behind this scorpion’s venom bulb.

Guiana Striped Scorpion

Guiana Striped Scorpion

Another common type of scorpion in Florida is the Guiana striped scorpion. Here are a few distinguishing characteristics of this type of scorpion:

  • This variety is commonly found in Monroe, Collier, and Miami-Dade counties.
  • The average length of this scorpion is between one and a half and three inches.
  • Unlike the other species of scorpions, the Guinea-striped scorpion is yellow. That said, there’s a brownish area on the animal’s back and two dark stripes running lengthwise.

Where Scorpions Hide And What They Eat 

Scorpions are nocturnal. During the day, a scorpion might hide under rocks, logs, tree bark, garbage heaps, wood piles, paving stones, and other landscaping materials. At night, scorpions become active and move from hiding to looking for mates and food.

A scorpion’s diet predominantly consists of insects such as roaches and crickets. Nevertheless, a scorpion may also feed on small rodents and reptiles.

Usually, the scorpions don’t chase after their prey. They simply wait for whatever comes along, and when some game draws near, the scorpion pounces and stings the victim with its venom.

The venom may paralyze or kill the prey, in addition to kickstarting digestion for the scorpion to begin feeding. The scorpion then uses its pincers to immobilize, tear apart and bring food into its mouthparts.

Scorpions may also sting predators or perceived threats that get too close for comfort.

scorpion in house

Why Is There A Scorpion In The House?

Entomologists have several theories about why homeowners in Florida are finding more and more scorpions in their homes. 

Habitat Disturbances

Human activities are progressively causing the native habitats of many animals, including scorpions, to shrink. For instance, a scorpion’s natural habit may be cleared away to pave the way for new housing developments. The scorpions then have to find new areas to live in, which can drive them into the nearby properties and structures.

Potential Food Sources

Scorpions eat the insects they find inside and outside your home, so they may move into a home if they detect the presence of insects.

Additionally, it’s been found that scorpions are drawn to homes where the lights are left on overnight. This is because insects are attracted to glow and draw in scorpions to feed on them.

Weather Conditions

As tough as a scorpion’s exoskeleton looks, these arthropods don’t like extreme heat, cold, moisture, or dryness. When the weather outside becomes too severe, such as during intense rainfall or over summer and winter, scorpions may find more hospitable environments in your home.

Once a scorpion crawls into your home, it will unlikely return to its former habitat. A female scorpion that’s had babies in the last three weeks will also most likely carry her couplings when she moves into your home. As such, a house can see a rapid expansion in the scorpion population if proper control measures aren’t executed.

A scorpion’s flat body can fit through narrow spaces—even as little as a credit card. Additionally, scorpions are adept climbers. A scorpion will have no problems scaling a gutter, for instance. Because of this, it’s not difficult for a scorpion to find its way into a home.

Once inside, scorpions look for dark, calm, damp hiding spots. This makes it relatively hard to locate and control scorpions. They can hide almost anywhere in a home—under flower pots, behind photo frames, inside piles of laundry, and even under bed sheets. You’ll want to keep reading if you cringe at that last scenario.

how to prevent scorpions from getting in your bed

How To Prevent Scorpions From Getting In Your Bed

A scorpion may find its way into your bed through an unfortunate series of events. However, unlike a rattlesnake, a scorpion doesn’t have a built-in warning system.

Since it’s also tiny, you may not realize there’s a scorpion under the sheets until it’s too late and you or your loved one stung. So, vigilance is a must if you live in a home where scorpions are common. Not sure how to handle scorpions? Pest control experts recommend that you should do the following to stay protected and prevent scorpion infestations:

  • Check the bedroom (and the entire house) for scorpions. Use a UV blacklight once it’s dark. The scorpions will glow under this light, and it will be easy for you to spot them.
  • Shake your bedding before lying down to ensure no scorpion is hiding inside.
  • If you are very worried about having a close encounter with a scorpion, you might consider installing a mosquito net around your bed.
  • Place an EpiPen by the bedside if you are allergic to insect bites and stings.
  • Ensure that window screens are correctly sized, in place, and in good condition to prevent scorpion entry.
  • Call in a pest control expert to seal off your home and remove any potential scorpion hiding places.
  • If you find one scorpion in your home, watch out for more. Schedule an inspection with a pest control specialist to assess and eliminate the scorpion threat in your home.

ABC Can Protect You From Scorpions

While scorpions are not aggressive, most of us in Florida would prefer that these creatures remain in their natural habitat and far away from our homes. The pest control exterminator pros at ABC Home & Commercial Services can help when that is not the case. We can identify the scorpion species on your property, control an infestation and help install protective measures to keep scorpions from making your home theirs. With ABC’s help, you can rest easy, knowing that you and your loved ones are protected from an unexpected encounter with one of these creatures.

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