Today’s post is written by my sister, Chicken Farmer, who is a resident of Double S Farms – a place that I have often posted about.  This is her story of an unexpected surprise and not necessarily a welcome one.

I have to start this post by saying that I love Arizona.  Really, I do.  But the first time I saw a scorpion, I was ready to high tail it back to California.  Yes, there are scorpions in California, but I didn’t see one until I moved to Arizona.

Scorpions like to eat insects and you can see the wings of the Lacewing bug that he had just captured.  By the way, Lacewings are the sort of insect you want in your garden.  They eat aphids.
My family and I have lived in Arizona for close to 4 years.  the first 2 1/2 years, we didn’t see a single scorpion around our house.  However, my mother, who lived about 5 miles from us, had a ton of them in her backyard.  And by a ton, I’m talking about 40 – 50 scorpions on her back garden wall in a single night when we first realized she had a problem. 

As soon as she realized that she had scorpions, my brother and husband were on a mission.  They showed up at her house armed with a black light and a torch (which is really my creme brulee torch from Williams Sonoma).  The strange thing about scorpions is that they glow a bright green color under a black light so they’re very easy to spot at night.  Once my brother and husband would spot one, they’d fry them with the torch.  After a few weeks of this, her scorpion problem got a lot better.
 
Fast forward to about a year ago when my husband and I purchased Double S Farms with my mother.  The first day at the house, I saw a scorpion on the drapes.  An hour later, I found one in my bathroom.  An hour after that, one of them crawled out of a box I was unpacking.  I’m not really wimpy about bugs, but I have to admit that I was totally freaked.  We soon came to find out that our house was literally crawling with scorpions.  Within our first year of living at Double S Farms, I’d guess we’ve found at least 75+ of those buggers in our house!
There are 30 – 45 scorpion species here in Arizona.  Of those, only one is considered life threatening – the bark scorpion.  Unfortunately, we have seen those little stinkers in our house.  We have young boys and have found scorpions within inches of their feet on more then one occasion.  Fortunately, their pediatrician has assured me that since my kids are healthy, they would weather a scorpion sting just fine.  In addition, Arizona is home of the only scorpion antivenin program in North America – so an antivenin, if needed, is available at most local hospitals.
We have taken a lot of measures to eliminate our scorpion problem (including having our home sealed and getting chickens).  Although we’ve seen an improvement, we still find them in the house more often than I’d like (3 of them just last week!).
I guess my next step should be to learn to co-exist with them, which really isn’t likely as that is definitely not in my DNA.
For more information on scorpions such as what they eat and how they kill their prey, you can click on this link.

**Noelle here – I must say that I have lived in Arizona for over 23 years in 5 different houses and have only seen one scorpion (it was in the garage).  You can have a scorpion problem in one neighborhood and two blocks away, there are none. 
By the way, my sister has started her own blog about her life in Arizona.  Please visit her at http://finleyandoliver.blogspot.com 
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

28 replies
  1. Darla
    Darla says:

    Thanks Girls for my morning freak out! They have been seen here in North Florida from time to time…I have't had the pleasure myself…checking out your sister's blog now!

  2. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Chicken Farmer, I have to say, I do not think that I could cope. I also have to say, I think that you are coping superbly well. Happily in life I have never encountered a scorpion at first hand, neither do I wish to, and whilst I really prefer to allow Nature to be at peace with herself, in your situation I should hire a flame thrower as opposed to a creme brulee torch.

    What a relief to see a picture of hens which I love.

  3. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    Next to the hate of snakes this critter would be at the top of the list. OMG! I would freak out. If I lived there I would probably get over them but ewww LOL! It is a shame they are stingers if they eat the bugs that are around.

  4. Curbstone Valley Farm
    Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    We do live in California. I've lived in California for more than 25 years, my husband was born here. However, I'd never seen a scorpion in my house until we moved here! I understand the 'freaked' part. Found the first one by the chicken coop in the garden, then there was one in the bedroom, and then one afternoon saw one scurrying down our hallway. I promptly threw a fruit bowl over it, and left it until my husband came home. Not my favorite beastie either! Makes me shudder just thinking about them.

  5. Steve Asbell
    Steve Asbell says:

    Oh I remember those scorpions quite well, but my memories are fond ones since as a kid I really admired their ability to survive and be a predator in a desert. To a 5th grade boy scorpions were the ultimate cool next to horned lizards and whiptails.

  6. Pam/Digging
    Pam/Digging says:

    We see scorpions in Austin from time to time as well. None spotted yet in our new house & garden, but it could happen. One must be careful in moving rocks around outside, right?

  7. Christine B.
    Christine B. says:

    Most things are oversized where I live (bears, veggies, etc.) but I can thankfully say that bugs are an exception. We don't have any big creepy crawlies like scorpions, tarantulas, or even lizards and snakes. Thank goodness! I don't think I could sleep at night if I knew the house was crawling with scorpions.

    You are brave.

    Christine in Alaska

  8. Liz
    Liz says:

    Eww, well i'm glad i'm not alone. We've been finding scorpions in our new house also, though i'm not sure how venemous they are. Chickens eat them?? good luck 🙂

  9. Kiki
    Kiki says:

    HI Noelle..wow..intersting post..never came across a scorpion b4..yikes..I'd be scared!! Lovely chickens ..man they are so cute…! Yay..nice your sis has a blog too yay!
    Kiki~

  10. Finley and Oliver
    Finley and Oliver says:

    I was planning to comment that we haven't seen a scorpion in just about a week which is a good stretch for us. Unfortunately, I spotted one in the garage this afternoon – the good thing is that he wasn't in the house.

    Christine, it is hard to sleep sometimes – I always check the sheets before I climb in and am sure to have my shoes right next to my bed so I don't have to walk around bare foot. Gross little things. Why couldn't they at least be cute?

    Steve, I'm sure my boys will find scorpions to be very cool when they get a little older.

  11. Christine
    Christine says:

    With most bugs I'm live and let live. The exception to this has been and always will be potato bugs. Those giant, blonde and brown striped criket-y looking things with the big heads and mandibles. After reading this though, I'm afraid that scorpions have now been added to my list. Thankfully we don't have any where I live. I don't think …

  12. Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ
    Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ says:

    My previous house in Mesa had scorpions come when they built a house next to us with a basement. After living there 4 years all of a sudden we had scorpions!I found a mother with hundreds of babies on her back in our yard. I'm sorry to say I eliminated them all. I hate to kill insects but a scorpion bite hurts! A lot!
    I've been in my house in Sun Lakes for 2 years and none so far–thank goodness!

  13. Di
    Di says:

    Noelle, we used to have a condo in Southern CA (not far from Carlsbad) where we spent the rainy winter months for a few years, and we had scorpions, and that would pretty well drive me up the wall. I cannot imagine having to contend with them day after day as your sister does.

    I'll be sure to check out her blog.

  14. gardeningAngel
    gardeningAngel says:

    Noelle, I am a bug lover at heart, but I would be totally unnerved by having scorpions in my house. To have 75+ would probably make me do something drastic!

    Kathy

  15. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    Yikes! I don't think I would have been able to get a wink of sleep on discovering those critters in my house! I think we get scorpions around here, but they are far more shy and retiring and I've never seen one. I hope it stays that way!

  16. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    Oh, Lord, you must have developed nerves of steel to deal with three in one week, plus inches from the boys' feet! I'd be screaming like a banshee, no doubt about it. You are brave — and I have found yet another reason to love chickens!

  17. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    Those would certainly freak me out…especially that bark scorpion! I never knew scorpions would glow under a black light. Pretty cool trivia! Scorpions are a rare sight here where I live, though I've seen a few in my time, even in the house. But ours are the sort that only grow to 2 or 3 inches and are not life-threatening.

  18. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    I have come across huge centepedes, lizards and many cockroaches but never a scorpion.
    I wonder how the farm animals are doing co-existing together with them (a snack perhaps)

  19. Ami
    Ami says:

    Wow, good thing is your husband and your brother are real good to capture those scorpions. I can not deal with those… At least now I have not had need yet in my garden.

    You have a very beautiful family!

  20. Rose
    Rose says:

    I am now going to stop complaining about the Asian lady beetles in my house:) You are a brave soul, Chicken Farmer! I think I would have trouble sleeping at night with scorpions around. My daughter lives in Scottsdale and I've never seen a scorpion around her apartment, but I do recall her telling me that they were a problem in certain areas. I hope your chickens have big appetites:)

  21. Finley and Oliver
    Finley and Oliver says:

    Jess, I'm pretty sure my kids wouldn't describe me as zen when I spot one 😉

    We lived in another house in the same town for three years and never spotted one. Scorpions are attracted to water and I think that having a canal right behind our

    yard is part of the draw. My mom lived near a canal in her old house (where she had scorpions).

  22. lostlandscape (James)
    lostlandscape (James) says:

    Well, I suppose if you don't find any scorpions you can always make a terrific creme brulee… BTW, have you tried using your Williams Sonoma scorpion scorcher on sliced bananas drizzled with lime juice and sugar? Delicious.

  23. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I wish I had scorpions living around my garden to eat aphids. Instead I'll have to find another organic solution, such as Safer Brand's Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer. Have you used this yet? It’s safe to use up to the day of harvest.

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