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Everything You Need to Know About Arizona Bark Scorpions

May 10, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Scorpions are common throughout the dry, hot areas of the U.S. Although they appear threatening, most are unlikely to cause serious harm to humans. Arizona bark scorpions are an exception, making it important to know what they are and what to do if you spot them.

Close up of a arizona bark scorpion on a rock

What is an Arizona bark scorpion?

An Arizona bark scorpion is a small predator that is native to the Southwestern U.S. Like other scorpions, they are members of the arachnid family, making them cousins to spiders. They have long, segmented bodies with curled tails. When threatened, Arizona bark scorpions can raise their tails to reveal a stinger. 

In the front, Arizona bark scorpions have two pincer-like appendages called pedipalps. They use them to grasp surfaces when climbing and to hold onto food. Their diet consists of spiders, centipedes, other scorpions, and insects like flies.

Where do Arizona bark scorpions live?

Arizona bark scorpions tend to like dark hidden places. They live under rocks and logs in deserts. Around homes, they may hide beneath wood piles, decorative rocks, decks, and lawn furniture. As skilled climbers, Arizona bark scorpions may scale walls, trees, and bushes looking for prey.

Arizona bark scorpion life cycle

Instead of laying eggs, female Arizona bark scorpions deliver live babies, having up to around 30 offspring at a time. Babies ride on their mothers’ backs for the first three weeks of life. 

Once they shed their exoskeleton for the first time, they leave their mothers. This shedding process is called molting and allows Arizona bark scorpions to grow to their full size of around 2 to 3 inches in length. Normally, this takes a few years.

When winter arrives, Arizona bark scorpions hibernate in groups of around 40. Most live for around 5 to 7 years.

Female arizona bark scorpion carrying babies on her back on a piece of wood

Is it common to find an Arizona bark scorpion in a house?

Although Arizona bark scorpions prefer to be outside, they may come into a house through open windows and doors or cracks and gaps in walls. If they enter your house looking for prey, they may be unable to find their way back out and remain indoors. 

In homes, you’re most likely to find Arizona bark scorpions in dark, secluded spots. Some possible hiding places include:

  • Curtains and draperies
  • Attics
  • Crawlspaces and basements
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Potted plants
  • Behind baseboards
  • Inside of pantries and cabinetry

Can an Arizona bark scorpion kill you? 

Arizona bark scorpions are venomous. Their sting is very painful and can cause health complications like convulsions and breathing problems without treatment. It is possible to die from an Arizona bark scorpion sting. However, healthy adults are unlikely to. Children, seniors, individuals with compromised immune systems, and people who are allergic to scorpion venom are more at risk for fatalities.

How to identify an Arizona bark scorpion

Arizona bark scorpions are pale yellow with darker brown along their backs. Interestingly, if you want to learn how to identify an Arizona bark scorpion easily, blacklights are the answer. The UV from a blacklight causes the pests to glow. Under the lighting, Arizona bark scorpions will appear fluorescent yellow or green.

Arizona bark scorpion vs. striped bark scorpion

Striped bark scorpions are a close relative of Arizona bark scorpions. They, too, will glow under a blacklight, but the markings on their backs can help you tell the two apart. 

Striped bark scorpions tend to be a brighter orange-yellow color, with two well-defined vertical stripes of dark brown or black running down their backs. They are usually smaller than Arizona bark scorpions, about 1 to 1.5 inches long.

The venom of striped bark scorpions is not as deadly as that of Arizona bark scorpions. However, stings can still be very painful and trigger severe allergic reactions in some people, making it best to avoid the pests when possible. If you get stung by a scorpion and don’t know which type it is, it’s usually best to seek medical treatment.

Close up of a striped bark scorpion in sand
Striped Bark Scorpion

Arizona bark scorpion FAQ

Read on for answers to some common questions about Arizona bark scorpions.

Are Arizona bark scorpions endangered?

At the time of writing, Arizona bark scorpions did not appear on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s list of endangered species. This means that the agency hasn’t deemed them as threatened or endangered.

Are there Arizona bark scorpions in Texas?

Arizona bark scorpions are most common in Arizona and the Grand Canyon region. However, there are small populations of them in desert regions of Texas as well as in dry, arid areas of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. 

Can an Arizona bark scorpion kill a dog?

Pets can also be severely injured by Arizona bark scorpions and the venom can be deadly in some cases.

Pest control services 

If you have spotted Arizona bark scorpions on your property or in your home, Hawx Pest Control can help you protect yourself, your family, and your pets. Our licensed pest control technicians have the knowledge and tools to safely address scorpions. They can also share scorpion prevention tips to reduce the risk of the pests returning and recommend a follow-up preventative treatment schedule as needed.

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