Monday, August 27, 2012

Sometimes I hate Arizona

The kids were out in the front yard this morning, riding bikes and playing. Stephen was kicking back in the bouncy chair on the front porch next to me, while I was sitting next to him with my laptop, putting the finishing touches on this year's lesson plans.

All was well, until Miriam screamed "There's a scorpion!!

Now, she has thought before that specks of dust were scorpions. In almost seven years of living here, we never saw a single scorpion anywhere on our property for the first six years. In the last year, we have found at least a half dozen, if not more. I HATE IT!!

I love walking barefoot. I don't want to have to make sure that all kids have socks and shoes on, all day. I hate walking to the bathroom at night, in too much of a brainfog to slip on shoes, but keenly aware of the possible presence of these horrible creatures. I hate checking the house with a black light at night before going to bed, and knowing that even if I don't see anything, they might be lurking somewhere. 

So when a barefoot Miriam ran towards me screaming, I knew not to wait. Anna was standing right where Miriam had been,  but she was wearing shoes, as were all the other kids. 

Sure enough, right under the little rocking chair where Miriam had sat rocking her doll, was the scorpion. It was impossible to miss, because it was huge.

My metal water bottle was the best weapon within reach. I used it to first nip the scorpion's tail off. Then, I squished the back of its body - enough to kill it, but not enough to completely dismember it and ruin the photos for the blog. I want you all to see and know what I am dealing with here!!!

How would you like to get stung by this?

Wearing shoes is only part of the problem. The kids LOVE to sit on the floor playing. The older boys would rather play even a board game on the floor than at the table. Not to mention Legos, Playmobil, and the like. I have babies, sometimes crawlers. Solomon has sat on the floor assembling a huge K'nex kit, only to find a scorpion running across the floor right in front of him. I don't have a way to keep all of us suspended in mid-air!!!

Like most people in Arizona, we get regular, monthly pest control treatment. But get this: it doesn't do anything for scorpions or spiders. Those are killed only on direct contact, not by spraying poison around the property. Well, I can kill on direct contact, too, thanks to my handy water bottle - the problem is that these critters hide and don't just wait around in plain sight until I come get them!!!

And yes, we have spiders, too. Last month, Solomon discovered a couple of HUGE black widows. Yesterday, a brown recluse spider came down the wall at church next to where I was sitting. It was only inches from my face when I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and then swiftly killed it without waking (or dropping) a sleeping Stephen in my arms. 

Gah! Sometimes I really hate living here!!!


  1. Ooh, brown recluses are awful. My mom got bitten by one once and had to go to the doctor every day for a week to make sure it didn't basically destroy her leg - and now a big patch of skin there has permanently turned grey. I've also had to pull my dog away from a rattler, who fortunately did not strike. I occasionally attend an outdoor church where rattlers sneak in and have to be killed on a regular basis. Maybe we should become snake handlers?

    Hope your kids are safe from the nasty creepy crawly things, and that you don't go crazy trying to stamp them out (critters, not kids).

    On another note, baby Stephen is very cute - I think he looks a lot like your husband.

  2. ..."I used it to first nip the scorpion's tail off. Then, I squished the back of its body - enough to kill it, but not enough to completely dismember it and ruin the photos for the blog. I want you all to see and know what I am dealing with here!!!"...

    I just nearly died laughing reading this part. You surely deserve a "dedicated blogger" award! ;)

  3. Usually I like reading your blog, but this post gave me the creepy-crawlies! Yuck! Lately I've been finding way too many cockroaches and centipedes in my apartment. I try to keep the place as clean as possible so they won't come in here, but sadly, the neighbors don't, so their bugs migrate over here occasionally. Not cool!

  4. Are scorpions aggressive? Here in Australia we have plenty of horrible poisonous stuff, but when it comes to the spiders, they generally keep to themselves. Oh we still kill the big/bad ones when we see them, but so long as toddlers are taught never to chase crawly bugs, they usually retreat to a wall rather than coming for us. I couldn't imagine wearing shoes in the house.

    Now snakes, they're a whole other matter! I've seen snakes that, if they bite you, you don't even have time to call an ambulance. We learnt how to handle snakes very young but I still get nervous with youngsters in bushy areas.

  5. After reading this, I looked up scorpions and found out that "fried scorpion" is a traditional dish in China. What's on the menu tonight? Just joking...

  6. You have a nest somewhere-especially if you have not seen them before. Living in the desert of NM I so understand. Have your husband or you search the crooks and crannies for the is fairly easy to find.

    Oh I remember when my oldest came in and told us he had been stung by one while in his bed. Creepy for sure- he was fine though, but it worried me a good deal.

  7. Oh mu goodness...I would family lived in Texas before I was born and my brother was 4 and got bit on his thigh by a scorpion. My brother in law got bit by a brown recluse and basically got chunks taken out of his arm cause it destroyed his tissue!!! Hope they stay away from you!!!

  8. Yikes!!! The great thing about AZ is we have them all over the place. lol

  9. I once took a sock out of the dryer, and put my hand inside to pull the sock right-side-out. When I took my hand back out again, I was holding a scorpion about the size of the one in your picture.
    Yours looks like a Wood Bark scorpion, which, unfortunately, are the most fatal variety in North America. There are insecticides that kill scorpions, though, (I know because we get scorpions every few years at our house, too) and if your pest control doesn't offer them then you need to call around ASAP and find someone who does.

  10. Also, you can buy a black light and send your husband on a scorpion hunt at night. (Scorpions glow under a strong black light.)

  11. I know how you feel. Not only do we have spiders and scorpions in Oklahoma, but we also have bees and wasps. It's even worse for me since I have a wasp phobia. Every time they get into my house it freaks me out.

    Scorpion fact: If you surround one with a ring of fire it will sting itself and then die.

  12. I am so sorry about those scorpions. We lived in Arizona for 8 years and we never saw 1. I am so thankful.

  13. We've had terrible spiders in Tulsa this year too, and my oldest daughter is terrified of them. I found one in her wastebasket last week that I swore was a tarantula; it was ENORMOUS. She was not at home when I found it, thank God, and I did not tell her about it until the next day because she'd have slept on the sofa for a week if she'd known. I grew up in the Mojave Desert and you never, ever get used to those nasty things, especially when you have wee ones in the house. UGH.

  14. Thanks goodness your kiddos were all safe.

    I think I shall stay in the Pacific Northwest and deal with the rain. We have brown recluse spiders here, but they are rare. We have wood spiders which are harmless, but huge and creepy. All the bad snakes live on the other side of the mountain. Yep, I'll keep the rain.

  15. Now I have shivers on my neck and shoulders thinking of scorpions, lol. Stephen is adorable. Do I detect some red in his hair? I remember Anna having some reddish hair when she was a baby.

  16. I can't imagine the fear ! Here in Belgium we only have tiny spiders, absolutely no scorpions (of course, with the climate), and no snakes. Probably the same as when you lived in Germany.

    By the way, this is a beautiful picture of Stephen ! He is such a cutie. I was wondering, when do you plan to change the pictures on your sidebar ? The pictures with descriptions of the children. They don't seem to be recent, but I assume you can't have too much time to spend on that.

  17. No way Jose could I deal with scorpions. I'm not fond of spiders either. I had a brown recluse spider bite once, it causes a good deal of tissue necrosis. The only thing I've had to deal with recently is waking up to a bat in my bedroom. I'd never kill a bat because they do so much good but I wouldn't think a nanosecond about killing a scorpion or spider.

  18. We lived in Tempe for 12 years. Go to Bug and Weed mart on Baseline and McClintock. Get a product called "suspend". It's about $70 but it lasts for years. Best of all it will not harm children or pets because it's plant based. After you spray your house, the only scorpions you'll find will be dead. Suspend works great for roaches, too.

  19. My husband goes shining them at night. Did you know they glow in the dark? They live in the block walls, Get a fluorescent light and go out at night. We have them as big as rats! The kids get a kick out of smashing them with a board. You normally don't have to worry about them during the day. They are nocturnal.

  20. I heard from FJ your church is moving to a smaller location.

  21. Indeed, we are moving... to a building three times the size of our current one. Leave it to FJ to get the facts straight - not.

  22. Congratulations on the new church! Your family is growing in every way these days.

    And the black light sounds like an excellent purchase with 12 (and in the flash of an eye 14!) little feet running around!

    My official remark to the scorpion post: Gaaaah! Gaaaaah! (My husband, having grown up there, said "aww, it's just a little thing!" You ought to see him see a millipede, though ;))

    May God bless you, Dad, and the seven,


  23. We live in the West Valley of Phoenix and recently had a scorpion in our house. We have lived here 8 years and have only seen 2. I saw on the news this year was an exceptionally bad year for them. If you go to a pest and lawn care store you can buy plant based pest killer that should take care of them. We bought some and a sprayer for around $70.00 total a few years ago. It is stronger strength and we still haven't ran out! We were paying the pest control company that much every other month. Good luck to you. I'm not really an Arizona fan either!

  24. Ok, I have seen you talk about FJ and other bloggers too. I have no clue who FJ is. Who is FJ?

  25. Update on the scorpions and spiders: we have had the entire house fumigated with a product called Cedarcide. It is 100% natural and safe, yet very effective. Scorpions and spiders hate the smell, and leave. The smell is definitely very strong, and still noticeable a week later, but pleasant to us. Have to repeat every two weeks for the next two months, then monthly (or bimonthly when it's really cold - haha, that would be never).

    I have yet to hook the stuff up to the hose and spray the entire yard with it, too, but hope to do so tomorrow.

    Last winter was a mild one, so these things did not get killed off with a frost.

    The Cedarcide works very well. My husband took the boys wilderness camping last month. When they got to where they were going to sleep for the night, the entire place was covered in ants, spiders, and mosquitos, and there was nowhere else to go. They sprayed themselves from head to toe with the Cedarcide, and were untouched all night, in spite of sleeping right in the middle of it all.

    FJ stands for a website called "Free Jinger". I am not a reader (ignorance is bliss), but others tell me I am frequently a subject of their ridicule.


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