When you think of scorpions, most of us think of scenes from movies like Indiana Jones or arid desert climates like those in the western part of the country or in deserts like the Sahara. We also associate scorpions with their terrifying looks and the associated pain from a scorpion sting. But, most don’t think about scorpions in Georgia.
While there are more than 2,000 documented scorpion species that exist – most prefer hot, arid weather. Since that’s the case, Georgia’s humid climate isn’t the ideal environment for scorpions. So, while there are few scorpions, they still do exist in our local area – specifically around metro Atlanta. There are still two primary types of scorpions that can be found in Georgia – the Southern Devil Scorpion and the Striped Scorpion.
The Southern Devil Scorpion
The first and most common of these local arachnids is the Southern Devil Scorpion – also known as the Southern Stripeless Scorpion or the Plain Eastern Stripeless Scorpion. This scorpion is one of the few scorpions that are native to the southeastern United States and are not considered lethal. Typically they grow no more than one inch in length and a typical sting is like a bee sting. Some people may find that they are allergic to a scorpion sting, which can be medically dangerous, but for most, the Southern Devil Scorpion simply provides a painful sting that can become red, swollen and painful.
During the day, scorpions tend to rest underground – or can be found in leaf piles, wood stacks or under stones. It’s not unusual to find one of these Southern Devil Scorpions while you’re out camping or it may even be wise to shake out your sleeping bag before sleeping at night on a campground. If not outside, they also can be commonly found in cellars and crawlspaces when found in your home. It’s not unusual to also see this type of scorpion around sinks, bathtubs or other high-moisture areas.
Fortunately, scorpions aren’t looking for humans as prey. They eat spiders and other large insects – injecting them with poison from their tail or pinning the insect down with their tail – and using their pincers to grab and pull the prey apart.
Female Southern Devil Scorpions can give birth to nearly 80 offspring, one at a time, a few months after mating.
The Striped Bark Scorpion
The second, and probably more terrifying, alternative is the Striped Bark Scorpion. This scorpion is a pale-yellow color that can be identified by the two dark stripes on its back and a dark triangle on the top of its head. These scorpions tend to be found more frequently in places like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Northern Mexico. However, they’ve been spotted in Nebraska and have some reach into Georgia, especially in areas where the dirt may be more sandy – like South Georgia but have been actively found in the metro Atlanta area. The Striped Bark Scorpion can also grow up to 2.75 inches but most are 1 to 1.5 inches in length.
Similar to the Southern Devil Scorpion, the Striped Bark Scorpion is not deadly, but can be painful if you are stung, and can be dangerous for those allergic to their sting.
While it’s possible that other scorpions can be found throughout Georgia, those experiences are rare. The only other scorpion that is sometimes found prominently in Georgia – specifically in Southern Georgia counties – is the Florida Bark Scorpion. This scorpion, also known as the slender brown scorpion, can grow up to four inches in length and has a brown body, light colored legs, and yellow dashes on the back. Bark scorpions as a whole are nocturnal and typically found under boards in newly constructed or abandoned homes. Compared to our two other commonly found scorpions in Georgia, the Florida Bark Scorpion has a much more painful sting but not as painful as other bark scorpions.
How do scorpions get into my home?
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Scorpions grow through a type of metamorphosis called “without metamorphosis”, meaning they look the same at birth as the do as an adult. The newly born are the size of a pin head and can be taken indoors as pets return into the house. Structures where scorpions are found usually have two things in common- pine trees and pine straw around them and dogs that frequently travel back and forth from outdoors to indoors.
Also, like other insects, scorpions can get into your home through cracks or other open access points – many times from the basement, cellar or crawlspace of your home. These stealthy pests can enter your home through a crack as small as the width of a credit card.
The good news is that they typically come out at night and their eyesight is so poor, they rely primarily on smell and vibrations for food and shelter. Scorpions can also climb walls and other vertical areas in your home – so finding one on the ceiling is much more frightening than finding a scorpion on the floor.
How do I prevent scorpions?
Just like most insects, there are some simple steps that you can take to prevent your home being a scorpion safe haven.
- Limit unnecessary moisture from around your home that may be from puddles, leaks or otherwise.
- Allow as much sunlight as possible into your home.
- Get rid of food scraps and other insects from around your home.
- Ensure that your yard is clean and removed of debris.
If you do have a scorpion in your home, know that scorpions can be difficult to kill due to their resilient outer skeleton. While it’s not like a fight scene from Mortal Kombat, make sure that you are protected by wearing long sleeves, pants and gloves to prevent its stinger from coming into contact with your kin. Some websites go as far as to recommend using a sharp knife and tweezers / tongs to kill the scorpion.
Instead, we’d recommend that you give our team at Zone Pest Solutions a call. Our team of pest control professionals can take care of all of your insect control needs. We can treat your home for insects and prevent a scorpion infestation before it occurs.