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Home > General > Are There Scorpions in Florida? What to Watch Out For

Are There Scorpions in Florida? What to Watch Out For

striped bark scorpion

Yes, but they’re not everywhere. The standard type of scorpion found in the bark scorpion is a tiny brown insect that lives primarily under rocks and logs near water sources like rivers or lakes.

One way to tell if you’ve seen a bark scorpion is by looking for its two large pincers at the front of their body with an additional claw at each side. Bark Scorpions aren’t very aggressive and rarely sting people unless threatened or handled carelessly. Their long tail-like appendages can also identify them on their back end.

Since bark scorpions are nocturnal, they may be more active at night or near dusk and dawn when it’s dark out. You can also find them during the day if you have a flashlight to spot them under rocks and logs.

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The 3 Types of Scorpions Found in Florida

Three species of scorpion can be found in Florida: the bark scorpion, Hentz striped scorpion, and Guiana striped scorpion.

1. Bark Scorpion

Florida Bark Scorpion side view_IrinaK_shutterstock
Image By: Irina K, Shutterstock

The bark scorpion is the smallest of all three species. The females are about one inch in length, and males can be up to two inches long. Scorpions are typically tan with black spots on their back.

Bark scorpions prefer to live under logs or other wood piles as well as loose bark from trees like palmettos, pines, and oaks. They will also hide in animal burrows. These scorpions are nocturnal, so they hunt for food at night, consisting of insects, other small invertebrates, and young or injured lizards.

Bark scorpion is not harmful to humans, but it can give you a painful sting if you disturb it. It is found throughout areas with a moist, warm climate, like swamps or lakes.

2. Hentz Striped Scorpion

Hentz Striped Scorpion - Centruroides hentzi, Archbold Biological Station, Venus, Florida
Hentz Striped Scorpion – Centruroides hentzi, Archbold Biological Station, Venus, Florida (Image Credit: Judy Gallagher, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)

The Hentz striped scorpion is the main predator of the bark scorpion. It is brown with brown stripes covering most of its body, including its head, legs, and tail. Females are around three inches long, but males are about two inches long. The females have a small “tail” at the end of their tail, while males do not.

The Hentz Striped Scorpion hunts mainly at night for things like other scorpions and spiders. These scorpions can be found in areas with moist soil such as near ponds or streams, under logs, behind rocks and other objects, and around houses where there may be water leaks or plumbing problems if they escape from a house’s plumbing system.

They are not aggressive and will only sting when threatened, though it can cause illness or death to their prey if they do. Since they are nocturnal animals, these scorpions may be active at night.

3. Guiana Striped Scorpion

The Guiana striped scorpion is the most dangerous of the three scorpion species and can grow up to four inches long. This scorpion is black with purple stripes running from its head down all along its’ body, including its legs and tail.

The Guiana striped scorpion hides in dark places such as under rocks, logs, or other wood piles during the day but comes out at night to hunt. These scorpions live near water and can be found in areas near the border of Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana, where there are many rainforests or swampy areas.

Guiana striped scorpions are more dangerous than other types because they have neurotoxic venom, which affects your central nervous system, paralyzes muscles, and can result in death.

divider-multiprint Are Scorpions in Florida Dangerous?

In short, yes. Bark scorpions are classified as a nuisance species because they can bite or sting people, but their venom is not fatal to humans. Hentz and Guiana striped scorpions have venom that can affect your central nervous system, paralyze your muscles, and cause death to humans.

If bitten by a bark scorpion, you will feel pain. If stung by a Hentz or Guiana striped scorpion, you may start to experience muscle weakness and numbness within 30 minutes, with possible convulsions and respiratory failure within 72 hours as the venom spreads through your body. It is important to remember that most scorpions found in the United States are not dangerous, but you should always carry a flashlight at night and wear closed-toe shoes while outside to avoid stepping on one. If you do find a scorpion near your home or workplace, contact a pest control company right away for removal.

Emperor Scorpion
Image By: 41330, Pixabay

How to Get Rid of Florida Scorpions in the House?

Scorpions are viewed as pest concerns in homes, so pest control professionals use several methods to get rid of scorpions. There are two ways to eliminate Florida scorpions in the house: live removal and chemical control.

  • Live Removal: Live removals are a great way to capture the population of scorpions in your house without using harmful chemicals. Remember that they are tiny and have access to small spaces like under appliances, around pipes, or in cracks and crevices. The best time for live removal is when the sun is shining so that you can see the scorpions more easily. You want to shake any debris off the appliance before crawling underneath it or inspecting it closely. Scorpions also like to hide under boards on your home’s foundation, so you should shake them off before going inside. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt while doing this, as scorpions can bite you if they feel threatened.
  • Chemical Control: If live removals are not an option, chemical control is the next best thing. Chemical control takes time to work and should be applied after dark. The most common chemical for scorpion control is permethrin, which can be sprayed inside and outside your house. When using any insecticide, you must read all instructions carefully before use as they could harm children or pets if not used correctly.

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Florida is home to many types of wildlife, including scorpions. While they may be a nuisance, there is no need to exterminate them unless you have issues with the dangerous species, such as the Guiana striped scorpion. Contact your local pest control company if you see any in your home, and they can be removed safely.

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Featured Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

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