By Terry Sovil from the February 2010 Edition
I love shipwrecks! And in researching local wrecks I came across an article that specifically mentioned scorpions in connection with the 1959 hurricane that sank several ships including one at LaBoquita. Quote: “Category 5 storms are extremely rare … making the Mexico hurricane one for the record books … 162 mph winds, it took at least 1,500 lives … destroying one-fourth of the homes in Cihuatlan (Jalisco). A massive landslide near Minatitlan (Colima) alone killed 800. Venomous snakes and scorpions uncovered by the slide killed still more in the aftermath. “
There are over 100 species of Mexican scorpions, six are dangerous. One is known as the Colima Scorpion which is highly poisonous. Common sense says the species doesn’t matter, see a Doctor ASAP! Concern is for anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction).
Scorpions only react in self-defense. They are not laying traps for you. Most Manzanillo folks have rarely seen a scorpion not to mention never stung. Keep it in perspective. Most pests around your home aren’t a physical hazard but consider bees, mosquitoes (dengue), wasps, fire ants and termites. The scorpion is just another pest.
Part of the spider family; scorpions are nocturnal (active at night). They have poor eyesight in spite of their 2-12 eyes. Scorpions have a three part body comprised of the head, their main body or trunk which has 7 segments and their tail, which has 6 segments. The last segment of their tail works like a universal joint with a stinger attached. Scorpions can move their tail in any direction and though most think of their classic “C” (stinger over their head) scorpions will sting anyway possible when in danger. Scorpions have 8 legs along with a set of pinchers which are quite strong and agile. They use the pinchers for hunting prey, self defense, grooming and maintaining offspring.
Scorpions bear live young of 25-50 in a litter. These babies climb onto moms back where they feed and grow for 1-3 weeks then move off and into the real world.
The average scorpion will molt several times during the first few years of life and reach maturity after 3-4 years. They will then live another 5-10 years.
Predatory by nature, scorpions feed on insects and are fierce, effective hunters. Active mainly at night, scorpions choose to rest and hide during the day. Prime locations for nesting or hiding: under rocks, mulch, wood chips or compost, logs, flower bed coverings and weed reducing material, railroad ties, patio slabs and just about anything found in and around the landscape. In a garage or storage area they are attracted to boxes stored on the floor. Their prey includes roaches, ants, grasshoppers and other ground dwelling insects. Scorpions tend to be attracted to areas which are moist, shady and full of insects.
If you think you have a problem, get professional help. By maintaining outside populations you reduce the risk of them moving inside. The scorpion’s flat body allows it to crawl under most any object, into small cracks and crevices which makes it a common invader. They are great climbers and will scale brick, wood, stucco and most any siding on a house. If they are active outside some will move inside. They often enter on the second level or attic where they may go unnoticed for a long time. Once inside they bear young which may move into a living area.
If you suspect you have scorpions take precautions to avoid getting stung. Be especially careful at night. Since scorpions are nocturnal you are likely to encounter them at night. Try to wear footwear (shake them first and keep a small flashlight handy) to minimize being stung. Stepping on a scorpion is a common way to get stung. Really concerned? Get a BLACK LIGHT. Scorpions reflect the light making them very visible and easy to see.
If you see one or two scorpions inside over the course of a year, it is probably due to an outside population. However, if you are seeing a lot of small, young scorpions or if you see one or more adults a month, you most likely have an active inside population needing immediate attention.
Terry is a founding partner and scuba instructor for Aquatic Sports and Adventures (Deportes y Aventuras Acuáticas) in Manzanillo. A PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) Master Instructor in his 36th year as a PADI Professional. He also holds 15 Specialty Instructor Course ratings. Terry held a US Coast Guard 50-Ton Masters (Captain's) License. In his past corporate life, he worked in computers from 1973 to 2005 from a computer operator to a project manager for companies including GE Capital Fleet Services and Target. From 2005 to 2008, he developed and oversaw delivery of training to Target's Loss Prevention (Asset Protection) employees on the West Coast, USA. He led a network of 80+ instructors, evaluated training, performed needs assessments and gathered feedback on the delivery of training, conducted training in Crisis Leadership and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention to Target executives. Independently, he has taught hundreds of hours of skills-based training in American Red Cross CPR, First Aid, SCUBA and sailing and managed a staff of Project Managers at LogicBay in the production of multi-media training and web sites in a fast-paced environment of artists, instructional designers, writers and developers, creating a variety of interactive training and support products for Fortune 1000 companies.