Since my current goal is to avoid the cold as much as possible this winter, The Sweetie and I are heading to Sedona, AZ on 2/14 for 10 days.
Little did I know when arranging a housing swap through homeexchange.com that there would be scorpions to look out for. I’ve been to Sedona several times before, and the subject of scorpions never came up…
The first indication of this unexpected vacation challenge was embedded in the details about the gorgeous house we’ll be staying in. The owner advised:
This is scorpion country. Get in the habit of shaking out shoes before donning, and DO NOT walk around barefoot. The scorpions are hard to find as they are tan/brown, are often 1” long and blend in with the carpet. There is a special UV flashlight (purple) on the kitchen counter (near the colored wire catch-all bowl). This works well at night with house lights low. Scorpions fluoresce brightly and can be readily seen with this light with the lights down. If you wish, use the light outside, in back of the house to find them and see what they look like when fluorescing.
When I expressed some concern about the scorpions, the home owner passed along the following advice, which was not very reassuring even though written all in lower case, perhaps to minimize the issue:
as far as scorpions go…ideally, smash them against a hard surface (preferably outside, slate floor is next best choice…). getting one outside? i use the dustpan, steve often employs the vacumn cleaner. we do a “sweep” our first night in the house & don’t worry about it the rest of our stay. in all likelihood, you will not find or see one unless you make a special effort with the flourescent flashlight outside.
As someone who doesn’t like to kill things (with the possible exception of mosquitos and roaches), this info didn’t make me feel any better. And I gather from googling around that scorpion stings can hurt quite a lot. So I called for advice among my friends on Facebook. There was a generous flurry of replies from various parts of the Southwest and Texas about how to deal with scorpions, or rather how to avoid being taken by surprise upon finding them in shoes, closets, cupboards, between sheets and bed covers, and in other intimate places. I was quite surprised to learn that so many of my friends and colleagues live among scorpions and are on the lookout for them on a daily basis. Who knew?
Well, I am still looking forward to being among the powerful Red Rocks of Sedona, though I’ve been reading about how built up the town has gotten since my last trip about 15 years ago. (During my first trip in the mid-seventies, there was virtually nothing but the incredible red rocks.) And I’ve read that nearby Oak Creek Canyon still makes for a gorgeous ride.
And regarding the scorpions, I console myself with info garnered from medtogo.com, that the odds are in my favor: “Of the more than 1,000 species of scorpions worldwide, only 30 carry a toxin that may be fatal in humans. In the U.S., the rate is very low: one death from a scorpion sting occurs on average every two to three years.”
I’ll keep you posted if we have any encounters with scorpions. We’ve decided to spend out first night near the Phoenix airport so we can make our entry into scorpion country in the daylight…
Maybe after our vacation I’ll look back at this post and think it was much ado about nothing. Hope so.