There are many species of insects and Arachnida (Arachnid) found in the Florida Panhandle. A specific arachnid that often brings fear and dread is the scorpion.  There are 3 species of scorpion found the Panhandle. The Florida Bark Scorpion is commonly found in and around the home. The others, the Hentz Stripped Scorpion and Guiana Striped Scorpion, typically live in the woods.  One point to remember is that all three species prefer to avoid contact with humans and save venom for their preferred dinner meal, which includes many pests like include roaches, millipedes, silver fish, other spiders, and maybe a few termites. 

bark scorpion
Florida bark scorpion. Photo Credit: Stephen Greer, University of Florida/IFAS – Santa Rosa County

Scorpions are most often found outdoors under bark mulch around plants and under logs and other items on the ground.  When moving wood from woodpiles, remember to wear gloves and fully inspect them if pieces of wood are coming indoors for fireplace use.  Be sure to keep outdoor firewood stacked away from the home. 

Are the three Florida Scorpions found in the Panhandle capable of giving a fatal sting?  The quick answer is no, but it is painful – as this author can attest to twice over the last twenty plus year.  The last sting was in my laundry room and occurred about two months ago.  Individuals with elevated allergies that react to other insect stings, such as bee, wasp or yellow jacket stings, should take precautions and seek medical assistance if necessary. 

Keep in mind scorpions are considered beneficial as they hunt and consume many insect pests we commonly have in and around homes.  They are most often found in landscapes under things we may move that have been in contact with the ground.  Scorpions prefer to stay in moist dark areas.  They are nocturnal hunters, so remember to turn on lights when walking around the house at night, especially in kitchen, laundry, or closet areas.  They will quickly hide once the light is on.  If shoes are left outside on porches or other open areas be sure shake them out.     

Control methods involve several options that amount to making the setting less hospitable for scorpions to frequent.  Look for possible hiding areas in and around the home.  Seal around plumbing fixtures under the sinks, around exterior vents, and cracks/spaces around windows and doors.  Do not store wood or other stackable products in attic or basement areas.  It is recommended that if pesticides are used to consult with a commercial licensed pest management company.  Use of pesticides can have mixed results as scorpions can go two plus months without eating after consuming an insect.  Placing a yellow sticky board under sinks or tucked away in laundry areas can help catch a scorpion.  Place these cards out of reach of pets or children as they are very sticky.