The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center used to track the calls received by their operators relative to scorpion stings. A study published in 2002 by Nancy McIntyre, under the auspices of the Central Arizona - Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research in the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University (for brevity, referred to as "CAP LTER"), published the results of her research about where scorpion stings were reported in the Greater Phoenix area.
Why Was The Scorpion Map Created?
The purpose of her study of scorpion stings in Phoenix was to provide data that might be helpful in land development decisions.
The map shown is the result of her research. Keep in mind some very important facts:
- This data is two decades old. The map was created based on reported scorpion stings between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 1997. However, most experts agree that scorpions don't move much or migrate to different locations.
- It is not possible to determine how many scorpion stings went unreported.
- Many new areas of development and growth have occurred in Maricopa County since the study was published. Obviously, those areas were not included.
- As development of the area has changed, so might the scorpion habitats.
- Because an area didn't have scorpions then, doesn't mean it won't have scorpions now.
- The map does not distinguish between stings of the Arizona Bark Scorpion and stings from other types of scorpions in the area.
- As far as I know, no one maintains/publishes current data on reported scorpion stings in the Phoenix area.
It has been noted that there seem to be more scorpion experiences in the City of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, and South Mountain areas of the metro area. Here's what Ms. McIntyre found in her study.
Zip Codes in 1996 and 1997 That Were More Likely To Have Scorpions
Phoenix: 85020, 85023, 85027, 85028, 85040, 85044, 85048
Mesa: 85202, 85213
Paradise Valley: 85253
Scottsdale: 85254, 85255, 85259
Fountain Hills: 85268
Tempe: 85282, 85283, 85284
On the map that accompanied the study results, the redder the area, the more scorpion stings were reported in that zip code during the stated period.
Visiting? Staying at a Phoenix or Scottsdale Hotel?
Hotels and resorts in the area take precautions to ensure that the properties are as scorpion-free as they can be. While it is uncommon to hear of hotel guests being stung by scorpions, it can and does happen. The closer your resort is to open desert or foothills, the more likely there will be critters of various kinds, including snakes and scorpions. Don't walk around the property in your bare feet, and don't reach with your hands or feet behind or into anything outdoors (storage units, bushes) that might be home to something that feels threatened by your actions. Know what to do if you are stung.
Buying a Home in Arizona?
There are certain things that a seller of a home in Arizona must disclose to a potential buyer. A standard disclosure includes knowledge of any pests, including scorpions, that have ever been present on the property.
You probably won't find a home in the desert that doesn't have any! What constitutes a serious infestation? I can't tell you. If you are concerned, you might contact a few pest control companies that serve the specific area of the residence and ask about the degree of scorpion activity. Also, remember that some zip codes cover quite a large area. Because there are reports of significant scorpion activity on one block doesn't mean that it will be the same a mile down the road.
In the nearly 40 years that I have lived in Maricopa County, I have seen one scorpion inside the house. I know there are more outside, and I even have a blacklight in case I want to find them. I don't, but I do wear shoes outside and take preventive measures to minimize the number of scorpions at my house.
No matter what you do, a scorpion sting might still happen, and it is important to know what to do if that occurs.
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To see the image of the map larger, simply temporarily increase the font size on your screen. If you are using a PC, the keystroke to us is the Ctrl + (the Ctrl key and the plus sign). On a MAC, it's Command+.