How To Identify A Bark Scorpion

If you live in areas like Nevada or Phoenix, chances are you might encounter a bark scorpion. And you need to know how to identify a bark scorpion to ensure your safety.

These dangerous creatures are well-known for their painful stings and can be dangerous to people. Let’s look at the physical traits, behavior, and homes of bark scorpions, so you can learn to recognize them better.


How To Identify a Bark Scorpion

How To Identify A Bark Scorpion
Arizona Bark Scorpion

Bark scorpions are the most poisonous scorpions in the United States and belong to the Centruroides genus. They are common in warm areas like southern Nevada and the Phoenix AZ Valley.

These scorpions are nocturnal meaning that they are active at night and hide during the day. They can climb walls and move on the ground, so it’s important to be able to recognize them both indoors and outdoors.


Physical Identification

The first thing you need to know to be able to identify a bark scorpion is its physical characteristics. Here are the key physical features to look for:

  • Subaculear Tooth

One unique physical feature of a bark scorpion is a small bump or “subaculear tooth” on its tail, just below the stinger.

This trait is a key characteristic of bark scorpions that distinguishes them from other scorpions, although it may be hard to see without a close look.

  • Body Shape and Size

Bark scorpions have slim bodies with shorter tails and claws compared to other scorpions. They can reach a length of 2.7 to 3.1 inches from head to stinger, which makes them relatively small compared to some other scorpion species.

  • Eye Configuration and Color

A bark scorpion has two dark eyes on top of its head and three sets of side eyes.

This their special eye configuration helps them hunt at night.

Their body color is usually brown but it can be yellowish-brown, entirely yellow, with or without lines from head to tail.

  • Color Variation

A bark scorpion’s color can change depending on its stage of development.

If you see a bark scorpion after it has molted, its color might appear darker yellow or almost brown.

So, it’s important to keep color changes in mind when identifying a bark scorpion.


Read also: How To Get Rid Wind Scorpion?


Identifying their Behavior

Knowing how bark scorpions behave is important for identifying them correctly. Here are some important behaviors to help you recognize them:

  • Year-round Activity

Bark scorpions stay active all year, even in the coldest desert temperatures, unlike some other scorpions. They have adapted to survive in tough conditions, which makes them always around.

  • Nesting Habits

In winter, bark scorpions often come together in big groups to make nests.

They look for places with shelter and moisture, like under rocks, in rock cracks, trees, or rock walls.

In homes, they’re usually found in dark closets, cool damp spots, or sometimes stuck in sinks or bathtubs.

  • Nocturnal Predators

Bark scorpions are mainly active at night, hunting and eating during that time. They eat various insects, spiders, centipedes, and sometimes other scorpions.

When hunting, they lay their tail parallel to the ground and wait for their prey to come close. Once the prey is still, the bark scorpion uses its claws to tear it apart.

  • Climbing Abilities

Bark scorpions can climb walls and even hang upside down, this behavior is unique to them.

They can climb trees, stucco walls, block walls, and indoor walls.

This climbing skill lets them reach different places, making it more likely to find them in various spots.


Where can I find bark scorpions?

Here are the common places you might find bark scorpions indoors and outdoors:

Indoor Hideouts

Inside your house, bark scorpions look for dark, cool spots to hide. In the mornings, you might find them stuck in sinks and bathtubs where they fall in while hunting and cannot get out.

They also hide in storage areas and closets and can climb or hang from walls or ceilings. You have to be careful when putting on clothes or shoes because scorpions might be hiding in them.


Outdoor Dwellings

Outdoors, bark scorpions like places with shelter and moisture. You will often find them in rock piles, under big rocks, stacks of wood or tree bark, and in cracks in concrete walls.

They also live in holes or cracks in concrete, concrete beams, and sprinkler boxes. If your property has these kinds of spots, you might have a lot of bark scorpions around.


Read also: Scorpions In Georgia: Facts About These Amazing Species


Are bark scorpions poisonous?

Now that you know how to identify bark scorpions, let’s look at the possible dangers they pose:

Venomous Stings

Bark scorpions have stings with venom that can cause strong pain and discomfort. When they sting, they inject venom into their prey or something they see as a danger.

While most people feel a lot of pain and swelling in the area where they were stung, some might have even worse symptoms.


Potential Medical Complications

Although deaths from bark scorpion stings are uncommon, bark scorpion stings can cause serious health issues, especially in vulnerable people like young kids, the elderly, or those with allergies or weak immune systems.

It’s very important to get medical help if you or someone else is stung by a bark scorpion and has serious symptoms like numbness, frothing at the mouth, or trouble breathing.


Prevention and Control

To reduce the chance of coming across bark scorpions and stop infestations, here are some steps you can take for prevention and control:

  • Remove Moisture and Water Sources

Bark scorpions need moisture to live. You can make your home less inviting to them by fixing leaks, repairing plumbing problems, and reducing extra moisture inside and outside your house.

  • Sealing Entry Points

Check your home for any gaps or cracks that bark scorpions could use to get in. Seal these openings with caulk or other suitable materials to keep them out.

  • Maintain a Tidy Environment

Keeping your home clean and free of clutter can stop bark scorpions from finding places to hide.

Vacuuming, sweeping, and clearing debris from your home and yard often will reduce how the number of bark scorpions in your home.

  • Professional Pest Control

While doing things to stop them can work, the best way to get rid of bark scorpions and stop them from coming back is to get help from professionals.

Pest control experts know how to deal with bark scorpions and have special treatments for them.


Read also: How To Keep Scorpions Away [The 8 Steps You Must Know]


What smell keeps scorpions away?

In addition to professional pest control, you can also use natural repellents to keep bark scorpions away from your home. Here are some natural repellents for you to consider:

1. Essential Oils

Essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and cedarwood can keep scorpions away. You can make a spray by mixing these oils with water and using it around where scorpions might get in or hide.

2. Cedarwood

Scorpions don’t like cedarwood. Put cedar blocks or shavings in closets, storage areas, and other spots to help keep them away.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring powder produced from the fossilized remains of diatoms.

You can sprinkle it around your home’s perimeter, near where scorpions might get in, and in places where they’re likely to be to make it hard for them to move around.



It’s important to know how to recognize a bark scorpion for your safety, especially if you live in areas where they’re common.

If you see a bark scorpion or think you might have a lot of them, it’s best to ask a pest control expert for help, you can also do things like spraying essential oil mix, and cedarwood shaving to stop them.

Stay watchful and do what you can to keep yourself and your home safe from these venomous creatures.

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