centruroides vittatus

I went bounding down our stairs and accosted Phil with a demand, "You have to come upstairs and pick something up for me."  What now? his face said for him.  "Now!" I said pulling him.  It wasn’t something heavy but something that made me wiggle and wince into a little girl.  It was a bug.  Worse, "I think we have a dead frog in my office.  Well, it’s not a frog.  It’s on its way, or was, to becoming a frog, I think.  It’s too far along to be a tadpole, but it’s close." 

Fotoscr1 When we entered my writing room, I stood far away and pointed to the corner.  It had been behind my boxes, where I store camp photographs and letters.  I’d never seen this kind of thing before and was fairly certain it hadn’t come from my box or a lake.  It was kind of clear looking, a see-through kind of gumminess.   It was curled.  "Are you sure it’s dead?" Phil asked upon examination. 
"I don’t know!  Just get it. Now is not the time to play Frogger." 
"It’s a scorpion, Stephanie."  A tad bit off guessing it was a tadpole.  What was I thinking?  A mini-frog?  It’s just that I didn’t look that closely, and it was turned over, and I just saw a long tail, sort of curled, as I imagined a seahorse or tadpole to be.  And the color, kind of clear and brownish red.  Orange really.  How was I to know what the hell a scorpion looked like?  A scorpion!  Can’t you die from a scorpion?!  Aren’t they quite lethal?  He poked it, turning it over.  It was dead.  I ran out of the room making audible "heebie-geebie" sounds and running my hands over my entire body, wiggling.  "Now I’m all itchy!"  And completely freaked out. 

This was weeks ago, now.  I’ve since googled the crap out of scorpions, particularly the Austin kind to learn they’re not actually insects.  What we have are  Tree-hugging scorpions, protesters with peace signs on their VW buggies, friendship bracelets, anklets, tie die and beards.  No, I got that wrong, not tree-hugging.  They’re considered "striped bark scorpions," and while not lethal here in Texas, "Body size of the victim is very important. Children, because of their small size, are at greater risk of severe envenomation than are adults."  Severe envenomation?  Holy fuck.  I don’t know what this means but it can’t be good.  And… "Some people are allergic to scorpion venom in the same way that some are allergic to honey bee venom. In such cases, very severe effects, including death, can occur very rapidly and are not related to the toxicity of the venom."  And all I can think is keep honey away from babies!  Bees are bad.  Scorpions must be worse!   I don’t know what our children are allergic to, but going down because of The Scorpion King ain’t how it’s gonna happen.  Not on my watch!

Several times a day, I am certain one is crawling on me.  Even now as I type this, I look down, startled when I feel something on my leg.  It’s the power cord to my computer, but I was sure it was a bug of some kind.  I feed one of the babies, and their foot wiggles, and I resist the urge to smack it.  Every small sensation, the way my shorts fall on my leg, the lip of my shirt, all of it feels like it might be a bug. Or worse, a non-insect… a scorpion with pinchers.

Each night, before going to sleep, I turn on the lights in the writing room and check along the walls for scorpions.  And there’s never anything there.  I haven’t been remembering to check the ceilings, too.  They’re climbers, they are.  They like to live in attics and warm places.  Then I look beneath the covers.  This causes quite a stir if one of the beans is asleep in our room.  Mostly they sleep in their own room right now, in their own cribs, but occasionally one of them will be asleep in our room, in their pack ‘n’ play (mostly Abigail because of her need to turn onto her stomach and subsequently scream bloody murder until someone repositions her to her back).  And my turning on the lights to check our bed for scorpions causes her to awake and Phil to groan.  "I can’t help it!  I’m totally freaked out!"  We’ve had Terminix come.  They’ve sprayed.  Assured me everything would die.  "We usually charge for this service," the guy said last time of the bomb spray he applied to the exterior of our house. Days later…

I found another scorpion, in the same room, only this time it was alive.  "Kill it, Phil, please!" 
"Well get me something!"
I ran toward our closet.  "Get me a shoe," he yelled.
"But my shoes are too nice!"
"Just get a shoe!!!" 
I returned with some kind of brown hushpuppy.  And we watched as the scorpion began to scuttle away.  "Get it!"
And he did.  I didn’t watch.  But now that I’ve seen two, I’m damn near ready to move.  Every time my hair whispers across my forehead or behind my ear, I get that whole jumpy twitchy reaction.  "What?" Phil asks concerned as he witnesses my fit. 
"Nothing.  It was just my hair."  And I’m scared of nearly every touch and now every creepy crawly bug and non-bug.  And forget it.  Now that I’ve read, "Littersize for this species is reported to be 13-47 (average 31)," I’m just beside myself, imagining a host of babies with their new pinchers crawling over mine.  And worst of it all is scorpions are most active at night!  So much for, "goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!"    



  1. OMG, my cat just rubbed against my leg and I jumped about 40 feet.

    I stayed in Texas for awhile and we had the same problem. Flapping the covers, checking the ceilings, inspecting the toilet seat thoroughly before sitting down at 2 am. Unfortunately, it seems like a fact of life down there.

  2. Not to feed your obsession, but I've heard that scorpions show up under black light. Maybe another way to check?

    FROM STEPHANIE: My sister used to pick her face using a black light, wanted to see the sun damage or something like that. I don't know. I have heard this about scorpions… and I am so totally bothered, I cannot begin to express it. Last night I found another one. It was dead and belly up. All I could think was, "you're only the one I see." Where are the rest hiding? So so bothersome. I am terrified of walking anywhere in the dark now.

  3. Ugh… I stepped on one in West Tx years ago… I couldn't walk for a week. It was the worst sting I (have) ever felt.

  4. We have them in FL too and back when I was a teenager (a zillion years ago) my mom stuck her foot in a shoe and one stung her. I've never gotten over THE FEAR. I've been shaking my shoes before I put them on for over 35 years.

  5. This would be a dealbreaker for me without question. Honestly, I would just move. I completely understand your disgust/anxiety.

  6. you realize you only have one option—you have to move the hell out of texas…of course if they were as common to 'ya'll' as cockroaches are to us in Florida I guess I wouldn't move but someone with a size 2 shoe wouldn't have a problem squishing a roach—that scorpion looks like it would need more of a size 7 or 8 at least…i'm only a 7 1/2 –I wouldn't take any chances.

  7. About 10 years ago, when he was 6, my son went on a scorpion hunting trip. "Great!" I thought – thinking it would be like a dinosaur hunt. Who the hell has scorpions here? But lo – and behold – right out behind our house in the field he found 6!! So, he brought them home, and the ex made us keep them. Putting scorpions in the same room INTENTIONALLY with my sweet baby boy did nothing for my mother of the year feelings – but over time – I got over the freaky creepies and started actually finding them interesting.

    The ones we have here aren't deadly – they're annoying…but YES, I understand the creepy factor. As long as they don't crawl on you (or the babies) – they may grow on you.

    And aren't they better than cockroaches? I've only seen a cockroach once – I about died.

    Love, love, love the video of Lucas – his giggle is simply infectious!

  8. ugh, this is why Minneapolis winters too me are not that bad. I'll take freezing conditions for three months then be invaded by scorpions… eww. Best of luck

  9. Jesus Stephanie! That's too bad. I'd freak out too. (I know, not helping…) I'm upset because squirrels are digging in my flower pots & ants are eating my flowers.

  10. oh lord – i hate crawly bugs! i lived in AZ for a while and i had one in my apartment once and flipped out. good luck!!

  11. Oh yeah, I'll have to second that by saying "welcome to Tejas!" When I bought my first house, I freaked because I thought I had brown recluse spiders… which come to find out, there are over 800 different kinds of brown spinders in Texas, only one being dangerous. UGH.

  12. Got a brown recluse bite on my knee………never saw the spider, but thoroughly considered moving out of my apartment shortly after I started the nuclear reactor level antibiotics to keep my leg from having a chunk of it cut off. I covered all vents and resealed all windows and doors. But I wasn't ever comfortable in my apartment again. I had to move to NY to get over that habit.

  13. And I was freaking out about a freaky little gecko/lizard climbing on my ceiling last night.

    Scorpion wins.

  14. When i was in college in AZ, i lived amongst scorpions. In case you didn't know, cats (felines) are immune to their sting…SO, best thing for you to do is to get a cat or two to keep your scorpions at bay. Plus, who doesn't love cats? I have two, and of the two, one has been with me since my college days. I use to come home from class to find him playing with the scorpions that would crawl up out of the drains in the tub and/or sinks.
    Good luck. -SY

  15. p.s. they hate lavender…so put out fresh lavender where you think they might wander.

  16. When I was in western Texas, standing outside a Starbuck's, I watched a roach the size of my hand meander by the front door. I screeched at the top of my lungs and the native Texan I was with? He said, "For chrissakes they don't bite."

  17. Fucking gross!!!!

    My gf Charlotte told me about those bitches when she used to live out there in Texass. She loved TX except for one thing, the scorpions. She's was absolutely terrified of them stinging her.

    Watch out when you wake up and put your feet on the floor too.
    My buddy was stung by one that way, hardwood floors but still…ugh. I feel like bugs are crawling on me now.

    I can imagine your worry with the babies, I'd be freaking out and probably investing in one of those net things for their cribs, but I tend to overreact.

    And ADORABLE video. He's so sweet, and he looks perfectly fine to me, laughing and happy.

  18. Sorry for the double, but didnt anyone warn you about those things? Phil's sister? Doesnt she live there?

  19. Ah shit. This makes my third, oh well.
    Yaba, i just did a google search about cats and scorps and apparently that's false about cats being immune to their stings. They usually dont get stung b/c of the thick fur, scorps usually scurrying away, etc.
    Sorry Im an animal lover and I'd hate to get attached to an animal (even if it was a cat, heh, I like dogs) and then have him/her get sick.

  20. I'm sure from your extensive research, you've found these things out…but, here's what I know being from Texas (some info has been handed down, so accuracy may be a bit off):
    1) Scorpions breed for life early in life. If you find one, there will be another close.
    2) Make sure the opening around pipes in bathrooms and kitchens are completely sealed as they will come up from these areas. They're just trying to escape all the water that the area has been soaked with lately.
    3) And lastly….supposedly there is a fruit that you can purchase (a name for the fruit would be helpful I realize..but, I don't know what it is) that will keep them away. Suppose to be about the size of a grapefruit. Sounds like an old-wives tale, but there might be some truth to it.

  21. I have been having a spider problem. I feel you 100%. Considering I live by myself I have been having to kill the little shits by way of "death by stiletto". It works nicely…just stab em'. Good luck!

  22. Welcome to Texas! I grew up near Austin…Elgin actually! I lived in town and we didn't have them too terribly bad, but I had friends who lived in the country and they were really bad. They would be crawling on the ceiling at night and fall on top of them while sleeping. They are notorious for being in shoes, so check your shoes before putting them on.

    I didn't know about the lavender…that would be worth trying out.

  23. YUCK!

    In regards to bees, I read somewhere that the scent they are most attracted to is human breath. Isn't it sick when it's something you cannot change or avoid?!

  24. EWWWWW!! That is so gross. I'm squirming in my chair..I'm the same way with spiders, and they're not even that bad.

    Can you get someone to come out and spray your house for something like that?

  25. I feel the SAME way you do about bugs and any kind of creepy crawly insect. I was in the shower the other day and what do I see crawling on the liner? Some disgusting, black, thing with several pairs of legs. I was out of the shower, standing in the hallway completely naked in 2.2 seconds, screaming for my fiance to come and kill it.
    He comes into the bathroom and looks in the tub, shakes out the curtain and what does he find?Nothing.
    I am frantic, wondering if it somehow made its way into my hair before I leapt out of the shower(which at that point was wrapped in a towel on my head). He then asks me, "Are you sure you saw a bug in here?" Just as the words escaped his mouth, there it was crawling under the rug- probably trying to make a permanent home. I screamed and ran out of the bathroom. It was quite a sight.
    Since then, I fully inspect the entire bathroom before I even think about taking a bath…could you imagine the type of injury that could be sustained trying to leap out of a tub from the laying down position? HA!

  26. I am so sorry. If it's any consolation, NYC is absolutely fetid right now–one hundred degrees, humid, and stinking of garbage.

  27. Gosh, I'm so sorry…I don't blame you for being freaked.

    I once found a scorpion in my suitcase after coming home from vacation. The little bugger was dead, but I inspected every last inch of my suitcase for more.

  28. When we moved to the Austin area (Round Rock) we had nests of tarantula's in our back yard. Our cats would bring them inside and play with them. My mom was very freaked out. Just wait until you find a centipede as well….Texas is known for their creepy crawly creatures….Welcome! We're happy to have you here!!!!!

  29. Can you get some sort of protective netting to zip around the kids' cribs? Also, perhaps it's worth the investment to put your shoes (plus Phil's and the kids') in sealed shoe boxes?

    I'm SO heebied out right now!

  30. I agree with the get a cat comment. I live in Austin now but grew up in Nevada where we had tons of scorpions. Our cats always killed them without a problem.

  31. my skin is itching like CRAZY right now! I know exactly how you feel – used to have a cockroach problem when I lived in the southeast, and once you wake up with one on you in bed, life is never the same again. ugh! I so hate that paranoia! :(

  32. I would be terrified!!! I hate bugs….unfortunately I don`t know how to get rid of scorpions. I know mice and rats hate the smell of peppermint. You could try lavender maybe it helps.
    And Anne I hear you about the paranoia. I´m itching too after reading Steph`s post and all the comments

  33. oooooooheeeeeeeyaaaaaaa!!!! i have the heebie jeebies right now!! if an animal has more than four legs i vehemently hate, hate, hate it.

    my old apartment had house centepedes, i don't think they were dangerous but i would turn into a helpless screaming crazy person any time i saw one. you are obviously a much stronger person than i am because i would have the house on the market right now!

  34. You might never want to go to Australia, then. Apparently, something like 9 out of the world's 10 deadliest creatures hang/crawl/swim/slither there. My brother lived there for a while and I was NOT tempted to visit. Spiders, sharks, snakes (seafaring ones and otherwise), poisonous frogs, saltwater crocs, teeny deadly jellyfish…No thanks.


    I had an infestation of black spiders a few weeks ago, which is much more commonplace than scorpions but just as jumpy-twitchy. I'll spare you the details as I'm sure you're jumpy-twitchy enough. Just to let you know – I was desperate enough to shell out ridiculous amounts of money for those bug repellents you plug into outlets which "humanely repel by emitting a high-frequency pest-repellent tone." If you're considering it, don't bother. Total bullshit. At least it hasn't worked for me.

  36. I'd seriously think about the net things, too (fellow overreactor here).

    When I was trying to de-spider my abode, I read that you should pull your bed(s) away from the wall at least two or three inches. I know nothing about scorpions versus spiders, but that might be a good idea for the cribs if scorpions are capable of crawling.

    Someone above mentioned lavendar. In my spider research, I read that they hate citrus. I mixed some lemon oil into water in a spray bottle and sprayed the hell out of my apartment; it's the only thing that's worked fairly well. Maybe lavendar oil and water would work for the scorpions?

    Sorry I'm so comment-y on this subject.. I know how miserable it is. I hope you find something that works.

  37. Suzanne:
    I have lived in Australia all my life (32 years) and aside from the odd spider or two (harmless daddy longlegs)I have never encountered the other animals / species you mentioned. I have been swimming in many beaches in Australia, been diving, been snorkelling, been bush walking, been camping etc.. and never encountered them.
    I don't doubt that we may have 9 out of 10 of the most deadliest creatures in our country but unless you are living out in the desert or on a boat way out in the ocean – chances are you will never see one of these. I've certainly never seen a scorpian that's for sure. Honestly, I have seen maybe 10 spiders in my life and as mentioned above, they have been the harmless type. So Stephanie please don't let Suzanne scare you off visiting Australia; we'd love to see you here doing a talk at a book store or something. My book club who would love to have you along as a special guest if you are ever in the beautiful city of Melbourne.

  38. I live here in Tempe, AZ, and although don't have a problem with scorpions, a lot of my friends do…supposedly another way to tell if you have just a "scorpion" stumbling in from outdoors as opposed to a scorpion problem is whether or not you are finding grasshoppers in your house. Here in AZ grasshoppers are scorpions primary food source, and often where you find grasshoppers indoors you will also find permanent scorpions.

    Shaking shoes, and being careful when you tuck your sheets under the bed when making it are good ideas, I know of someone stung both ways.

    Good luck!

  39. I live in the south and we get to know our 3" long crawling friends by their first names! I've watched them crawl right under the door sill. Here's something you might find helpful:

  40. i also freaked out about the scorpions when my twins (chinchillas) were babies. i had dreams about them landing on them when they were napping and they would be alone and defenseless. nothing bad ever happened and they are now almost 14 and know to respect or step on them. we don't really see them in round rock but we just returned from a camping trip where they were everywhere. try putting out chesse cloth filled with cloves. i did this and i never saw another scorpion inside.

  41. ..i know i shouldnt complain since it is costa rica i am mentioning. However my parents finally set out and bought there dream..a vacation home in beautiful Pura Vida ..too bad they bring home dead land crabs in there suitcases everytime they come home. The more info i found out the more creeped out I am…they have let me know that the crabs are BOLD..they crawl all over..thousands..in your homes, in your pool, and at night…they surround you. Ok maybe they dont but think of the tropical version of a spider at night…all that little clicking from there legs creeps me out too-you can hear it but cant see it..It ruins paradise..

    OK Maybe not completely ruined..good luck with your new found creepy crawly house guests.

  42. OK, that's not funny. I think you need to move back to the tri-state area, where the scorpions are easier to spot, clad in their their Gucci loafers and Armani suits….

  43. Holy Hell, you have got to be kidding me?! If I saw one of those things – let alone three!!! – you would see a 'For Sale' sign infront of my home faster than you can say scorpion. Get the hell out – move back here to the big apple where we are scorpion free!

  44. Welcome to Texas! I grew up near Austin…Elgin actually! I lived in town and we didn’t have them too terribly bad, but I had friends who lived in the country and they were really bad. They would be crawling on the ceiling at night and fall on top of them while sleeping. They are notorious for being in shoes, so check your shoes before putting them on.

    I didn’t know about the lavender…that would be worth trying out.

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