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Pest Information

Florida bark scorpion

  • Latin Name: Centruroides gracilis
  • Common Name: Florida bark scorpion
  • Other Names: Slender brown scorpion, Brown bark scorpion

Pest Details

Origin:

This species is introduced from tropical areas of South America and now occurs widely throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and even into Africa. It is often kept as a “pet”, and this likely accounts for its spread throughout the world.

Biology:

While closely related to the very dangerous Arizona bark scorpion, the venom of this species is not considered to be nearly as potent. It is capable of inflicting a very painful sting, however. As with other scorpions it is nocturnal and predatory, feeding primarily on crickets and roaches and other small insects. It is flattened and capable of squeezing through a gap of only 1/16 inch, allowing it to enter homes easily. It also is adept at climbing trees and may access entry points in this manner. Females retain their eggs with the young born within them, and as the first instar nymphs emerge they are guided up onto the back of their mother, where they remain for the first 3 weeks. From 25-35 young may be normal and the adult scorpions may live up to 6 years. While most scorpions are highly solitary animals the bark scorpions may occasionally gather in large numbers during the winter months, hiding together in groups of several dozen.

Identification:

The mature scorpions are very large, up to 4 inches long from the tip of the “tail” to the front of the head, and another 1 inch or more if the claws are extended. The overall color varies from an overall black color with reddish claws to an overall reddish color. The legs are yellowish to red in color. The claws are very narrow, considered an indication that the venom is more potent.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

An unusual feature of scorpions is that they will glow a light blue color when exposed to ultraviolet light at night, helpful when inspecting for them. Removal of harborage on a property is extremely important in their management, as these scorpions tend to prefer to hide under objects on the ground rather than burrow into the soil. Exclusion to prevent their entry into structures also is extremely important and should be a part of the overall management program. Residual contact insecticides applied to their likely hiding places will kill the scorpions, and treatments around the perimeter of a structure, focusing on likely entry areas, can be helpful. Trimming branches and foliage several feet away from the structure can prevent them from accessing areas such as the roof.

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