Scorpions on the move

It looks like Hurricane Ivan could have another sting in its tail for Cayman residents.

Scorpions are on the move and it seems like they are heading for the Prospect area.

Ron Simpleton who lives in Admiral Landing has noticed the numbers of the pests are up since Ivan and he is wondering if other residents are checking under plant pots on the lookout for the feisty creatures.

Although not official because no data has been collected, it is believed that the large numbers of scorpions turning up in some areas on Grand Cayman were misplaced during Hurricane Ivan.

Left without a home after the hurricane re-arranged the terrain, these invertebrate animals with eight legs that can sometimes give a very nasty pinch were left to find other places of abode.

According to a fact sheet from Cayman Natural History and bio-geography, three species of scorpion have been found on Grand Cayman; heteronebo caymanenis – an endemic species unique to Cayman; the most common, centruroides; and isometrus maculates.

Scorpions are largely nocturnal and can inhabit very dry areas. They are carnivores and use their sting to immobilize their prey as well as for defence.

They will sting humans if they feel threatened, and the stings of some species can prove fatal.

There are no records of deaths from scorpion stings in the Cayman Islands, but scorpions should always be treated with respect, as even a non-fatal sting can be very painful. It is best to avoid these animals.

Most residents in Cayman who have seen or heard about scorpions know they will hide under anything that suits them – folded laundry, towels, pants, shirts, and they love shoes, so make sure and give them a good shake before putting them on.

Outside, scorpions love rock and lumber piles, dead wood stacks, coconut or palm fronds, trash and virtually anything they can crawl into, squeeze into, crawl under.

If you find scorpions in your yard, it is usually directly related to the amount of garbage they can find. Remove all items lying in contact with the soil.

‘Children, the elderly and infirm should be extremely careful,’ said Dr. Mat Cottam from the Department of Environment.

‘Because of their smaller body size they are affected more by the stings.

‘People can reduce the chances of scorpions entering their homes by removing potential habitats from near entrances,’ he said.

A good way to prevent them from entering is to seal any openings in outside walls with mortar or caulking, screen and weather-strip doors, windows and vents and repair or prevent wet areas caused by plumbing leaks, air conditioners, etc.

Tropic Pest Control owner Paul Thompson said he has seen a few more scorpions since Ivan and they are much bigger than the native ones.

His advice is to get rid of things around the yard where they can hide.

If you try to treat the problem yourself there is a wide range of pesticides but they must be applied in the right manner.

In this climate, it is recommended that your property be sprayed every quarter, not only to protect your investment, but to keep down the ever-present fact that pests are a reality in Cayman.