"Hordes of Scorpions" Flushed Out by Rain in Utah. "The Biggest I've Seen."
One teenager found a baby scorpion in his bed as he pulled back the covers.
Residents of Utah haven't had an easy time of it, weather-wise, this summer. Heavy rains have led to flash flooding in the southern part of the state, accompanied an unexpected side effect: A deluge of scorpions. Apparently, the humidity and cooler temperatures at night produced by the rain have encouraged more of the stinging insects to venture out of their hiding places to hunt prey. Does that include humans? Read on to find out, and see what to do if you get stung.
The St. George News reported on several Utah residents' recent encounters with scorpions (or vice versa). One local man saw two large scorpions, "the biggest I've seen," after a storm. A woman's teenage son found a baby scorpion in his bed as he pulled back the covers. Another woman reported seeing a scorpion while she was stargazing. "It was about 4 inches long and I heard its scattered footsteps on the rocks as I sat in the dark," she said. "If it had been windy that evening, I'm not sure I would have heard it."
Scorpions in the area are fairly benign, says the Utah Poison Control Center. But some varieties of scorpions are venomous and can be dangerous. Scorpion stings usually occur on the feet. Experts advise washing the area to prevent infection and calling your doctor or local poison control center for guidance.
Generally, though, experts say scorpions aren't aggressive—they generally want to be left alone and sting when feeling threatened or provoked; the animal's stinger is its only defense mechanism. The Deseret News reports that common scorpion species in Utah include the desert hairy scorpion (which may be dangerous to those with bee-sting allergies) and the Arizona bark scorpion, whose venom is potentially dangerous to young people, the elderly, or people with compromised immune systems.
Experts say scorpions can find their way into your home in a hole as small as a nickel; they're most often discovered in sinks, tubs, shoes, drawers, or cabinets. The best way to get rid of these unwanted visitors is to sweep them into a dustpan and deposit them outside. Spraying a mixture of cedarwood oil and water around your home is an effective scorpion repellant that won't harm other animals.
Utah isn't the only place where rain has produced a horde of scorpions. During heavy rainstorms in Egypt last year, more than 500 people were hospitalized because of scorpion stings after the rain washed mass numbers of scorpions out of their underground lairs. All were discharged after receiving anti-venom doses.