Male: Its Monday, that means it’s time for the Alan Nursall experience. This week, Alan is in Arizona hunting for scorpions.
Female: That is right. If you thought finding a couple mice in your home was bad, imagine a dozen scorpions crawling by your feet. Today, Alan signs up for a crash course in clearing a property of these venomous creatures.
Alan: In the darkest hours of the night, dangerous creatures stir. One of the most feared Arizona Bark Scorpion, a venomous, ambushing scorpion with a dangerous sting. Tiny little piece of him glowing in there. I’m in Paradise Valley, Arizona to help scorpion sweeper, Ben Holland, clean them out of someone’s yard. It’s no walk in the park.
Ben: You take this gear; you have some glasses, gloves, forceps, and a UV flashlight. We’re going to head through these gates and get started.
Alan: Why do I have glasses?
Ben: These take out the purple in the UV so it doesn’t strain your eyes, and it blocks the UVA and UVB rays so it protects them.
Alan: Why do I have gloves?
Ben: Just in case. You don’t want to get pricked by any thorns, or get bit by any scorpions, spiders, or anything that’s out there.
Alan: Scorpions and spiders.
Ben: Yeah, we run into everything.
Alan: Great. Where do we find these scorpions?
Ben: They’re pretty much everywhere, so you always got to be careful where you’re stepping.
Alan: Against my better judgment, I’m going to let you take me back there.
Ben: Let’s go.
Alan: When you scorpion sweep, you start on one side of the yard and work your way around, shining a light on everything to find a lurking predator. Ben, why do we have these special flashlights?
Ben: These are ultraviolet lights. They have a beta-carotene in their exoskeleton that reflects the UV light.
Alan When we shine this light on a scorpion, what are we going to see?
Ben: It’s going to glow bright green. They reflect it.
Alan: They’re already creepy enough, we don’t need them glowing bright green.
Ben: I know. What goes bump in the night glows in the night.
Alan: Oh, no.
Ben: This one’s clean. Let’s move on.
Alan: Halfway through the lawn and no scorpions yet.
Ben: I was able to grab his tail, but unfortunately, I pulled it off instead of getting the whole scorpion.
Alan: These guys are fast, even for professionals.
Ben: There’s one. Got him.
Alan: Got him. Look at that. How are you holding it?
Ben: I’m holding him by the tail. If you get them just right, they won’t try to sting or really move at all.
Alan: He’s harmless in that position, so to speak?
Ben: Yep. We have him in our forceps that are . . . it’s about a foot away from my hand, so there’s no likelihood that we’ll be stung.
Alan: What do we do now?
Ben: We put him in our box and take him away.
Alan: Here, I’ll open up the box here.
Ben: You have to open it up for me. There’s usually some around here.
Alan On some sweeps, Ben has collected hundreds of scorpions. So far, we have one. Oh, my goodness, look at this.
Ben: Here’s one. You want to grab this one?
Ben: Come on now.
Alan: I got my forceps. Where am I . . .
Ben: You want to aim for the tail, the middle of the tail.
Alan: Look at this guy.
Ben: He’s fast.
Alan: He is. He’s angry, too.
Ben: You got him.
Alan: I got him.
Ben: Let’s put him in the box.
Alan: If you got stung by an adult Arizona Bark Scorpion, not only will it hurt like heck, but it causes swelling and numbness that could extend all the way to your fingertips and toes. Not one to mess with.
Ben: That looks like a Dessert Hairy Scorpion. You can tell because its pincers are a little bit rounder and the tail is a lot fatter. They’re a lot harder to catch as well.
Alan: [beep] I keep grabbing rock. It’s not exactly . . .
Ben: There you go.
Alan: Look at him.
Ben: They’re a lot more aggressive than the Bark Scorpion.
Alan: Yeah, he is trying . . . he’s not happy.
Ben: That’s a little one. That one’s only about a year old. They get up to 6 inches.
Alan: I’m going to put him in the box. Scorpions can literally walk over top of pesticides, making the pesticides ineffective, so catching them is the best way to get rid of them. They like to hide in cracks, so filling the cracks is one of the best prevention methods.
Ben: This is a crack that’s sealed properly. We’ve seen throughout this property that the scorpions are living in these cracks. What they’ve done is they’ve taken a silicone caulking and they have filled up this crack entirely down from the top to the bottom, preventing scorpions or any other pests from entering and living there.
Ben: Yep, that’s great. That’s what we like to see.
Alan: I feel safe right here.
Ben: Yeah, it’s probably the best spot to stand at.
Alan: Couple more sweeps and this yard is clean. That was an interesting way to spend an evening. How many scorpions did we get?
Ben: We got about 15.
Alan: Is that a lot for this property?
Ben: Usually we catch about 30 here, but we’ve been treating it for a few months now and it’s cooling off, so this is a really good number.
Alan: Where do these scorpions go now?
Ben: We work with a lot of Universities and research labs throughout the US, so if anybody’s doing a study on a species that we have, we send it off to them.
Alan: And you’re making the world safer now.
Ben: Absolutely, one scorpion at a time.
Alan: Thanks a lot, Ben.
In late November 2013, our Founder Ben Holland appeared on the show Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada.
During a Control Sweep in Paradise Valley, AZ a team from the Discovery Channel Canada followed Scorpion Sweepers documenting the sweep. Alan Nursall and his crew interviewed our founder Ben Holland and joined him to see what Scorpion Sweeping was all about. 13 scorpions from two different species were found throughout the sweep. This piece originally aired in early December 2013 to Discovery Channel viewers in Canada.
The shoot took about 5 hours, shooting at two separate locations. The first location was a residential alley in Tempe, Arizona, the second location was a client home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The team from the Daily Planet flew into Arizona to shoot three segments for their show.
The footage was taken in late November in the final week of the season. Due to the recent cooler temperatures, scorpion activity was very low, the most ever caught at this property was 59. After 11 sweeps over 8 months, 3 scorpions were caught on the final sweep of the season. In the footage, you will see two different species of scorpions the Arizona Bark Scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus) and the Desert Hairy Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis).