Friday, September 3, 2010

Scorpion Hunting

The decision to go over to my friend Remi's new house was sort of last-minute. I was already in the east Valley checking in on my parents house to see if there was any damage after the latest monsoon. The house was fine, but a couple of the patio chairs had been blown around. Maybe you can explain to me how a chair ends up hanging by one of it's arms and isn't touching the ground. I did not place this chair like this. This is legit Monsoon effects. So when Remi texted me to come over, I made my way over to check out her beautiful new place.

The plan: have dinner. Go swimming. Eat dessert.

What happened: had dinner. Changed into bathing suits. Killed 12 scorpions. Ate dessert.

So here's the thing about Arizona desert scorpions. First, they aren't those huge black scorpions a la "The Scorpion King" featuring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Some babies are tiny, and even the largest one I've seen is probably only as long as my index finger. But I've heard that the smaller they are, the more deadly. Getting stung won't kill you unless you have an allergy, but the sting certainly does affect your nervous system. Also, dogs can be killed by a sting, but cats are impervious to their danger.

Here's what your typical AZ scorp looks like:As you can see, they are the perfect shade of brown to blend in with dirt, rocks, pool decks, almost all tile flooring, the favored color of carpeting ... so basically everything you might want to step on.

Now, I understand that we Arizonans like decorating in the naturally occuring colors of the desert, but this doesn't bode well when scorps are lurking out of sight in plain view.

When you live in a section of town that has been established for a long time, like Tempe or Old Town Scottsdale, you're not in much danger of having scorpions because they've been driven out. However, when you're in a newer-developed area or an area that backs up to the wild desert, you're more likely to see a few of these guys.

Well, Remi's new house fits into this "new" category, and as such has a few critters that haven't yet gotten the hint that "THEY'RE NOT WELCOME!!!"

Rem and I changed into our bathing suits and started to make our way out to the pool, but brought her blacklight flashlight and a poker out to protect us in case of scorp attack.

Let me explain another thing about scorpions. They glow in the light of a blacklight. Neon green. It's fascinating, and I have no explanation for you why they do this.

So Rem was the torch-bearer and I was the scorp poker. We started out just making sure there weren't any critters around where we wanted to set down our towels. And then that there weren't any where we were going to be walking barefoot into the pool. Problem was, in those two tasks we had already found and killed 3 scorps. I think I make this sound easy, but it really involved a lot of flashlight waving, shrill screaming, poker whacking (turns out I have awful aim)
and scorpion scampering. Those bugs are fast.

After that, we couldn't just get in the pool since neither of us could remember if scorpions could swim. (Michael later assured me that they can and do, and that they are the only insect that swims recreationally. I believed him for a little too long for my pride to admit to here.) So we walked around the edge of the pool looking for more. We came across what seemed to be a scorpion nest on a rock formation, and once I was poking away when Remi decided to shine the flashlight near out feet. There was another scorp about six inches from my foot.

In the end, we decided that only we would change into bathing suits (as little cover as possible, plus flip flops for me, ballet flats for her), to hunt scorpions and later abandon the idea of swimming anyway.

Then go inside and eat dessert still in our bathing suits.

But only after a Self-Timer Photo Shoot.

I feel I should explain this last one, most specifically that Remi does actually have a torso, she (and I) just get really into recreating our time as Scorpion Huntresses of the Sonoran Desert.

I'd say we killed about 12 or 14 scorpions in all.
Now, I hope you'll be able to see these last two pictures, but I tried to take a picture without flash of the glowing scorps. This one is already dead.

Sweet dreams!


  1. Julie... UGH! LOL... now I have the heebie jeebies again! We have one dead, in the garage. It is stuck to a glue trap. Just the way I like it!

    Do you ladies take on paid jobs? I'd love for you to come hunt around my house just to make sure there arent anymore.. :-)

  2. Oh, memories of Arizona. . . thanks, Julie;-)
    Anyway, your pictures of the Scorpion Hunters are hilarious. Is that the black light that Remi is holding? I thought it looked like a meat tenderizer. Ha ha.
    I think Jessie's idea of hiring yourselves out is good.

  3. Ken just got stung two nights ago! They hurt and it feels like your limb has fallen asleep with the tingly sensation.

  4. Please do not kill them! Trap them and remove them from your property.
    Thank you!

    Ms.James's 5th grade class
    Fowler Elementary School