How To Go Scorpion Hunting

Southwestern desert cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas are home to the infamous Bark Scorpion. For the more adventurous types, now is the perfect time to scrounge up the trusty black light and go scorpion hunting. Even though bark scorpions are some of the most poisonous scorpions in the country, it’s a great opportunity to see them up close and expose others to they way they behave. We’ve obviously seen our fair share of scorpions, so here is everything you need to know about how to go scorpion hunting.

(Obligatory disclaimer: We do not condone handling scorpions, as they can cause serious harm or even worse. If you should be stung by a scorpion at any time, we suggest seeking professional medical attention.)

Optimal Conditions.

There are two things you need to know about scorpion hunting season. One, they hibernate during the winter and will not be active until the nighttime low temps stay above about 70 degrees. Once we start hitting that mark on a nightly basis, they begin to wake up and start to look for something to eat. If it’s still a bit chilly at night, don’t bother gearing up for any hunts. Wait until its nice and warm.

Scorpions are also nocturnal and are most active after the sun sets. If you see a scorpion out and about during the day, its usually because they got caught out that morning as the sun was rising and found a place to hunker down in the meantime.

Scorpions glow fluorescent under UV black light.
Scorpions glow fluorescent under UV black light.

Gear.

The most important piece of gear you need is a black light. It wouldn’t be scorpion hunting without it. You don’t necessarily need something big and fancy. Your local sporting good store will sell simple black light flashlights in the $10-12 range. Those models will come with 9 or 10 LED light bulbs, which is more than sufficient to spot scorpions. A flashlight with about 30 LED bulbs will run you about $20-25 and the mega lights with 100 LED bulbs will be a solid $50. If you really want to go pro, with a quick Google search

The florescent  glow of the scorpions is believed to be caused by the reflective reaction to protein found beneath their exoskeletons. They glow rather brightly with only a little light, so don’t feel the need to drop $50 on a new black light. I’ve even seen nearby pharmacy stores like CVS and Walgreens sell them near the checkout counter.

The next most important piece, or pieces, of you gear you need are closed toe/heel shoes. We wouldn’t recommend hunting in a pair of flip flops, so be sure to wear your sneakers. The last thing you want is to be stung yourself. Remember, it’s called “scorpion hunting”, not “scorpion hunted”.

If you intend to catch a scorpion or two there are a few methods you can try. First, the way I’ve always personally done it is with a glass mason jar and a 4″x6″ card of some sort – a note card, recipe card, old photo, etc. You use the card to help you corral the little critter into the mason jar. Another known method is to wrap the end of a stick with masking tape, sticky side out. You can use the stick end to actually capture the scorpions on to the stick. If you intend on transferring it to a jar then just be care in the process so you don’t mangle it as you try to detach it from the tape.

Where To Look.

In metro areas like Phoenix, many of the homes are separated on the property by cinder-block walls. In the office we lovingly refer to those as “scorpion hotels”. After sundown, you are certain to find a few wanderers out for a late night stroll. If they are on the ground, it is most likely they will be in close proximity to the wall. They don’t tend to stray too far from home. Likewise, the same can be said for the exterior walls of the house. It’s common to find them on the lower areas of the house walls, or nearby on the ground. You never really know where they could all be, which is why we would suggest wearing sneakers, but don’t waste too much time looking in the lawn or patio area.

…Now What?

So, you caught some scorpions. Good on you! But now what do you do? They’re not exactly the pet you grew up hoping you could have someday. To be vaguely honest, I may or may not have disposed of the critters at the end of a hunt. But I also work for a pest control company, so I’ve also saved a fair share of them as well. In fact, for as long as I’ve worked here we’ve always kept an aquarium of scorpions in the office. At one point we had 27 scorpions in one container. They don’t need much to survive, a little bit of water and a few crickets every now and then and they’ll be fine. However, we certainly understand if you go with the aforementioned method. Either one, it’s up to you.

Happy Hunting!

Scorpions-Black Light Hunting-Pest Control by Bulwark Exterminating

Transcript from Scorpions-Black Light Hunting-Pest Control by Bulwark Exterminating

Scorpion Control Professionals:

Speaker 1: “So, we’re entering the gate right now of the home that sees, oh, I don’t know, maybe 30 scorpions a week, and has contracted with us to first, ascertain the source of the problem, and prescribe a treatment.”

Speaker 2: “We’ve got some over here, too.”

Speaker 1: “Another adult. The last 3 scorpions that are looking at and this one in particular, looks like it should be about three to five years old by the size. Do you want to hold that for a second? See, they’re very fast. If we were to turn some of this over, you’re going to see, from the looks of it, you’re going to see a lot of them. So, let’s keep moving. The more vibrations we make, the less likely that we’re going to see them.”

“So, crickets like to breed and live in between this expansion joint. You see here? There’s a paper joint in there that goes between the sidewalk and the foundation, and it’s there when the concrete expands and contracts due to the change in the temperature, that absorbs that pressure. Well, crickets and other insects eat that, and scorpions and come and eat the crickets and insects.”

“So, right here as you can see in there in you pan in there, um, you can see that guy, and he’s kind of moving away, but he’s deep down in there. That’s where we find a lot of the scorpions.”

“This here is a plastic container that he used to keep pool equipment in. You’re generally not going to find scorpions on or inside the plastic because they have a really hard time climbing the surface. But, you may find something underneath, which I may try to be able to move.”

Speaker 2: “There’s one.”

Speaker 1: “You don’t want to have one of these guys get you. They have a neurotoxin that debilitates your nervous system. Now some people react differently. I have a friend who weighs about two hundred and fifty pounds and he’s allergic. The entire half of his body went numb when one of these stung him after putting his shoe on.”

“As you can see right here, the stinger rolls up. They don’t actually bite you, they sting you. They can bite, but their bite isn’t going to hurt. It’s this…let’s get some light on there. It’s this stinger right here, that you see right there, that really is the problem.”

“He’s coming for you, he likes you. Let me see if I can stop him. Hold down there, boy. As you can see, he’s starting to get real active. He’s trying to get away.”

“I’m not going to hurt him, but see how he holds now? This is striking position. Scorpions are actually almost completely blind. They do almost all their hunting using vibrations on the ground. So, when a cricket comes along, they’ve got little cilia on the underside of the belly, and um, they can tell which direction the vibrations are coming from. They use that to determine which direction they’re going to run and also which direction they’re going to strike.”

“He’s just scared right now; he’s not going to even strike me. I can flick his tail like that, and he’s not, he’s not being aggressive just yet. He’s kind of scared.”

“So, the problem is they live up so close to the house, this guy being an adult, there’s all kinds of weed pulls and gaps, I should have brought my mirror, but they can just go right up underneath the stucco of the home and cause serious problems inside the home once they lay down their babies. So, this is a good example because he’s such a full-grown, good-looking stripe scorpion.”

Speaker 2: “Very healthy.”

Speaker 1: “Yeah. He’s been eating, notice the center there. And so, he’s now going home.”

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