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How To Deal With A (Freaking) Scorpion Sting

27 June 2008 19 Comments

Sorry about the title, but this actually happened to me last night. The wife and I are in bed and everything is great. I get up, go to the bathroom (mind you this is at 3:00 AM), come back and lay down (in my own freaking bed) and WHAM! I get stung by a scorpion in my upper back.

At first, it was only a stinging sensation and I really didn’t know what happened. The wife jumps up, turns on the light and says “something just bit me.” I jump up and say, “I just got bit as well.” At this point, a sinking feeling comes over me and I know what it was. We live in Las Vegas and we see scorpions this time of year A LOT. We have killed plenty but never have gotten stung. We had no idea what it meant.

I pull back the covers and there he is. He begins squirming around (they look really weird as they move) and the wife begins screaming bloody murder. She is completely freaking out. I start freaking out. I let out a string of expletives I am VERY ashamed of at the moment. I don’t mind swearing, but only for emphasis and usually never just because. I called this scorpion every name under the sun and was doing it at the top of my lungs. My new baby boy starts screaming, the wife is going crazy, and at this point I am looking to waste somebody or something. Manliness Trait: Protect Your Family At All Costs. Right?

Not at that very moment, but much later, I thought what a great topic for a post. I spent the rest of the day figuring out what this means. Are we now poisoned? Are either one of us allergic? Could we die? All of this was going through my mind the rest of the night and into today. Following is what I discovered:

Different Types of Scorpions

Yup, there are different types – lots of them. We had to see if the one that violated my home and loved ones could kill us or just mame us. Without going into all the different species, here is what we found out about Las Vegas type scorpions:

Scorpions sting; they do not bite, although they can pinch. All scorpions are venomous, but most are harmless to humans. In general, the smaller the species, the more dangerous it is for humans (of course, it is hard to tell juveniles of a large species from adults of a small species). Bark Scorpions are the main problem around Las Vegas because their stings can be deadly. However, the stings of other species are not serious and usually result in localized pain with some swelling and tenderness. Some people are allergic to scorpion venom, and if a sting seems serious, call the National Poison Control Center toll-free at (800) 222-1222.

If you are stung by a scorpion, immediately find out what type of scorpion it is. This will answer many of your questions about what to do next. If you live out here in the Southwest USA, check this site out to find out more.

What To Do After You Are Stung

First of all, the sting of a scorpion is HORRIBLE. The venom paralyzes the scorpions prey (my wife and I). It can cause severe allergic reaction in some and you have to be wary of any neurological damage it could cause.

Bill, our diligent exterminator who we called at 6:00 AM told us to put alcohol on the sting immediately. This helps neutralize any venom around the surface. Also, because the sting can cause swelling around the actual puncture, you ice the area in intervals of 10-15 minutes. The time frame obviously is to ensure you don’t overdue the icing and actually cause more damage through frost bite.

When I spoke with the on-call nurse at the hospital, she told me the symptoms that require more attention by a doctor are dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasms, rash, and other general allergic reaction conditions. If you don’t have these and it is only the pain of the venom that you are experiencing, then the doctors will do nothing for you. They will give you some painkillers and maybe some extra strength Benydrol in case of the allergic reaction might take time to take root.

The wife and I were not experiencing any of the allergic reaction symptoms well into the day, but we both were in plenty of pain. We stayed home from work and tried to deal with the thought of this scorpion in our bed. Not a pleasant thought.

How To Get Rid Of Scorpions

The experts vary on this, but below are some good tips I pulled from another website:

Scorpions are difficult to control with insecticides alone. Therefore, the first control strategy is to modify the area surrounding a house.

  • Remove all trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects from around the home.
  • Keep grass closely mowed near the home. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the house. Tree branches can provide a path to the roof for scorpions.
  • Store garbage containers in a frame that allows them to rest above ground level.
  • Never bring firewood inside the house unless it is placed directly on the fire.
  • Install weather-stripping around loose fitting doors and windows.
  • Plug weep holes in brick veneer homes with steel wool, pieces of nylon scouring pad or small squares of screen wire.
  • Caulk around roof eaves, pipes and any other cracks into the home.
  • Keep window screens in good repair. Make sure they fit tightly in the window frame.

In conclusion, the wife and I are doing just fine, but we experienced a horrible last 24 hours or so. Scorpions are nothing to mess around with. The one that got us was just about 2 inches in size and stung us with venom that literally paralyzed my left arm for the better part of the morning. My wife got it in her kneecap (that’s right, she got knee-capped by a freaking scorpion). She is just fine as well. The scorpion’s fate was a little different though. He was surely going to die, but in the words of Marcellus Wallace of Pulp Fiction fame, I told that scorpion “I ain’t done wit you by a damn site.” The scorpion didn’t make it.


  • Dad of Divas said:

    I tell you.. this makes me happy that I don’t live in Vegas…Glad to hear that you are doing ok. Is there anything you can do to deter these from getting into your home?

  • Kevin said:

    Thanks for the well wishes.
    I hear they don’t like talcum powder. I need to do some more research, but if they don’t, then my bed (and my son’s) is going to be covered in the stuff.

  • Dave said:

    That’s it. You can table any and all invitations – I ain’t coming out there. This has completely freaked me out – from 2000+ miles away.

    Dude. Glad you’re both OK.

  • scottsdale scorpion exterminator said:

    great tips. I enjoyed reading this

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  • How To Survive A Scorpion Bite said:

    […] stung, but each person will most certainly feel the pain that a sting causes. Many disagree on how to deal with a scorpion sting, but the general consensus is to immediately put alcohol on the wound to help alleviate some of the […]

  • Pam & Mike said:

    Thanks for the post. My Husband was just stung. This was helpful!! 🙂 Let’s see… why did I move to Vegas? Oh, yeah, to afford a home. Now would I rather have the earthquakes in the Bay Area? Hmmm.

  • SCook said:

    Thanks for this. We live in Summerlin, and it just happened to me, TWICE. I just rolled over and the little bugger stung twice! It hurts like the dickens!

  • cassie said:

    I hear that if you want to keep them out of your bed that you should put the legs of the bed in glass jars. Supposedly the scorpians can’t get traction trying to climb up the glass. Just be sure that the bedspreads are not touchng the floor.

  • John said:

    thanks for the colorful description of your experience.. I used to live in Texas and of course scorpions were plentiful there as well. I just awoke about 2 hours ago to what I thought was a fire burning my hand. immediately after examining my hand I realized no fire was blazing, next thought “scorpion” quick jump out of bed and the hunt ensues. within a few seconds I see 3 of those suckers right where my arm always hangs off the bed. I see 3 tiny itty bitty little white marks on my pinky, hand and arm! Of course my next thought was revenge the 3 little stinkers didn’t move a muscle, I quickly ran to the other room to grab pliers with machiavellian thoughts of revenge. And to my dismay within 30 seconds of my return there were none of the little guys left. So my quest began: step one cloth myself, I immediately reached for my favorite cargo shorts with a last second moment of precognition, I grasped the shorts with the pliers and Alas there be one of the little guys hiding. (footnote, shorts were on the other side of the room on the floor….) His fate was not kind, after shaking him from my shorts I gently grasped my new friend with the pliers and invoked a burning at the stake! I wish I could come off as kind and say his fate was swift, but I relished the slow torturous interludes with my Bic. It occurred to me that I may need to try and identify this little guy to see just how bad my arm was going to feel, or if I should phone poison control for advise. so I have spent several hours carefully searching my chambre for the duo left to no avail. My time now has been spent washing every loose article of clothing in my room, and of course the washing of my bedding! I would be understating in the extreme to say I am looking forward to making my bed and trying to sleep. Though the benadryl and ibuprofen should help make my inevitable slumber a reality.. While quite small, my one now roasted foe will rest in peace.. As for what is to come I do not know, but no hives, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, just 3 very sensitive burning punctures on my hand and arm with what feels like burning numbness from my hand to my shoulder! no doubt our pest control specialist will be getting a call quite soon!

    As for anyone who else gets tagged by these little guys respond quickly if response is other than pain and burning! Otherwise, seek medical attention quickly!

    The 3 little guys which tagged me were barely over an inch long! David versus G… they won the battle, but I shall overcome and win the war! Feel free to laugh and calm down if reading this it is like an elective medical procedure, the pain will go away!

  • Ivonne said:

    (I had to repost due to my typos…Sorry)
    My son just got stung and took it like a trooper. It is scary when you do not know if it is harmful. I had to gather myself VERY quickly and did what I always do for bites or stings of this kind. If i understand right the venom is a protein. I ran to get some meat tenderizer and mixed it with cold water to make a thick paste and palmed about 4 tablespoons worth and pressed it to the sting. It hurt but he said he then felt like there was a needle going in and out of the stung area about 3 or 4 times then began to taper off. Slowly I took my hand off the homemade paste which was still stuck to his skin. I took some gauze pads and put it on top and taped them in place. He had this on for about 15 to 20 min. Then I slowly removed the gauze and cleaned the area to see the damage. There was no swelling as i saw before. I just saw a very small needle point mark. Then placed an ice pack for about 10 min. because I notice someone recommend that…not that it looked like it really needed it. Once I removed the pack….it was like nothing. He was back to normal in less than 40 min. Like nothing every happen. Some laugh at my Meat Tenderizer Method but when someone is unsure they always call me. Hope this helps someone. Keep in mind this is for a person that has no allergies to stings. If you do have allergies to stinks Seek Emergency Care Immediately!

  • John said:

    Not a bad article. However, your statement that the smaller the scorpion the stronger the venom is not true. But it is a common belief. The truth is, the smaller or weaker the pinchers is what dectates the strength or the neurotoxin. The deathstalker is a fairly large scorpion and is considered to be the mostly deadly of the worlds scorpions. They are not native to the United States and are banned for trade in most countries. Unfortunately, they are not banned for sale in the US.

  • annaes said:

    I am 32 years old born and raised in Vegas. Never seen a scorpion tip my boyfriend and I moved in together. We have lived in our apartment less then 4 month and not only have I seen these nasty creatures but one stung me last night right on the side of my big toe. It was the most horrible pain I have ever felt. (I work with animals and have bit and scratched) I’ve had lower back pain. All this I would take over the sting any day. It is now 14 hours later and my foot is tender and slight shocks of pain come and go. Scorpions surve no purpose and deserve to die. I believe all creature have some right to live…but no sir not these bastards.

  • Lorna said:

    Just got stung by a samller scorpion on my arm felt like a piece of glass pierced my arm went to the bathroom and screamed when I saw the scorpion on my shirt, had tylenol and milk but my arm hurts terribly, will put alcohol on it and a cold patch, do feel a bit dizzy though. Sad to see that man who wrote about burning the creature, that doesn’t go with me, how sad to hear that, they deserve a swift painless death they didn’t ask to come into this world.

  • Lorna said:

    Just got stung by a samller scorpion on my arm felt like a piece of glass pierced my arm went to the bathroom and screamed when I saw the scorpion on my shirt, had tylenol and milk but my arm hurts terribly, will put alcohol on it and a cold patch, do feel a bit dizzy though. Sad to see that man who wrote about burning the creature, that doesn’t go with me, how sad to hear that, they deserve a swift painless death they didn’t ask to come into this world.Here in Las Vegas.

  • Tosha Wright said:

    I just got stung too amd omg the pain is bad. i got stung 2 times. it crawled up my pants leg of my pajamas. i got up to turn on the light and bam got my arm. i got stung 2 times by something and i couldnt find out what it was. i have never felt pain like that before, and that was my first thought as i have seen some in the house. while me still being in shock, my husband moved the sheet, the pillow, the blankets, all of it. still found nothing. i showed him the stings and told him i promise i didnt make it up this is real. look i have marks. all of a sudden, i look over, he is crawling on my shirt. i went nuts and slung him off before he stung me again. i was terrified. glad he got me instead of the kids though. i have searched around and i have no idea what type it is. i live in north east texas, and saw nothing on the link you have on which one it could be.

  • james said:

    Was sleeping at 4:45 AM fell asleep on couch all of asudden my arm was burning did not know what it was I thought it was a Scorpion because i have seen them in my trailer befor.
    Now i have been stung by one and it hurt screamed to the top of my lungs to call my wife who was aslep in our bed she came out asking what had happened I told her that i thought that i had been stung was looking for the Scorpion all over shook my pants low and behold there he was I MUST HAVE HIT HIM AT LEAST 15 TIMES THE WIFE SAY’S I THINK HE IS DEAD HONEY at this point tossed him outside found his stinger later, I guesse when i swated at him i broke off his stinger boy this really pissed me off called the 800 222 1222 number i found on the NET all you can do is mix one teaspoon bleach to nine teaspoons water put a rag on the sting for twenty min’s then wash off take benidril then alive or somthing for pain if it gets worse go to the ER this all happend in Texas Conroe area.
    Hope you don’t get bit like i did and get woke up. have a happy 4th James Todd

  • Marcus said:

    Thanks for the post, been looking around the web for some facts about these bastards. I just took a hit in the foot while walking to the fridge to get a beer. OUCH!!! WTF! “My foot is dead to me” and slowly my left leg is getting numb. In side thigh has a hot feel to it under the skin. My foot itself is itchy and HURTS. Thankfully I kept my composure (other then jumping around like a mad man) First thought was I had stepped on a thumb tact. It wasn’t till I turned on the light and noticed this 3 inch POS casually hanging around. After some research I believe it to be a Bark Scorpion. The symptoms seem to be as you describe, I’m not looking forward to the morning.

  • HJ said:

    We had bunches of them in our Las Vegas Lakes area house about 3 or 4 years ago. They were mostly in the yard but started coming into the house. We saw them more and more often every month. Pest control service really didn’t do anything so I started researching online. The solution was to buy a blacklight type flash light which is relatively inexpensive on Ebay. Go outside at night when they are active. The black light makes them light up like a glow in the dark object. They have a spider and scorpion spray at Lowe’s. When you light one up just spray it and kill it. About 4 years ago I would go out after dark maybe twice a week and I’d find as many as 25 to 30 of the little buggers at a time. Now I go out maybe once a month and I’ll find one or two. It’s helped a lot.

    I’ve also read that they hate cedar bark. It’s a bit expensive and I haven’t done it so far but I understand that if you spread it around your yard in all the nooks and cranny’s they’ll stay away because they hate the stuff.

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