ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Reddit users have been posting online about an influx of scorpions in the metro area. How is this happening? How long will we be seeing them? What should you do when you see a scorpion?
According to Jason Schaller, curator of Entomology with the ABQ BioPark, the scorpions found in Albuquerque will most likely be either the lesser stripetail scorpion or the striped bark scorpion, and neither poses a serious threat to people or pets.
“The stings are mild, some hurt a little more than others, but the lesser stripetail scorpion is completely non-hazardous,” said Schaller. “The sting, I would say, is less than a bee or a wasp.”
Also, they’ll most likely be more afraid of you than you are of them. “They’re very non-aggressive. They tend to not get into shoes or gloves very often, and they run when they’re scared,” said Schaller. “So, getting stung by these is almost unheard of.”
Even though Schaller says the striped bark scorpion has a more potent venom than the lesser stripetail scorpion, its sting won’t constitute any medical intervention but might hurt more than a bee. You’re most likely to find the striped bark scorpion on the east side of town as it’s hypothesized the Rio Grande is a natural barrier.
Schaller explained there are a lot of factors that go into the 2023 scorpion boom.
“There’s prey availability. There’s climate. There’s weather. There’s changing population of their prey items,” said Schaller. “It’s very hard to pinpoint and say, ‘Oh, there’s more because of this.’ So, to really simplify things – it’s their time right now.”
One thing to note is that scorpions are slow-growing and take several years to reach maturity. “With scorpions, boom and busts are going to be kind of slow,” said Schaller. “So, it may be every 10, 20 years, maybe, you see a big wave of scorpions. But then again, it depends on the species too.”
If somebody sees a scorpion in their home, Schaller advises to just scoop it up in a cup and take it outside. Or, he does offer up that scorpions are good to have around the house and are fascinating.
“They eat a lot of pests, and just like spiders you find in the house, they’re not hazardous,” said Schaller. “[Scorpions] were amongst the first animals to come out of the ocean and live on land, almost half a billion years ago. Scorpions were on land before plants were on land, and they have not changed much since that time.”