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News Channel 3 Investigates: Are Arizona Bark Scorpions spreading across the valley?

Scorpions are common in the Coachella Valley, but one Palm Desert woman claims she's come across an invasive, venomous species in her home.

Monday, we investigated the potential spread of the Arizona Bark Scorpion.

According to Dr. Friedman, a toxicologist with Eisenhower Health, Arizona Bark Scorpions are the only venomous scorpion species in North America.

Two weeks after Lindsay Reynolds moved into her Palm Desert home, she came across an unwanted neighbor leading her to contact an exterminator.

"We brought them some samples, they sent them to an entomologist and confirmed that they were actually in fact the Arizona bark scorpion," says Reynolds.

Reynolds has since been on the hunt. She even provided a live species of what she believed to be an Arizona Bark scorpion.

We took it to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District to verify.

"We have found them and we have verified that they're in North Indio at this point," says Tammy Gordon with the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Biologists with the district's lab were unable to confirm the species of the scorpion from Reynolds' home because it did not have a clearly visible small tooth just underneath its stinger. They speculate the one from Reynold's home was a dune devil scorpion.

Reynolds shared her biggest concern of the species spreading throughout the valley.

"In the event of an emergency where should we be going to get the antivenin," says Reynolds.

We asked Dr. Friedman if Eisenhower Health carried the needed antivenin.

"As far as I know, we don't and I don't believe any hospitals in the Coachella Valley do," says Dr. Friedman.

He says in the majority of cases, antivenin is not needed.

"In most cases, some pain medication and sometimes some antispasmodics are enough to control the symptoms of being stung," says Dr. Friedman.

Those most at risk include small children and the elderly.

Dr. Friedman says in the past two years, one person in the high desert area has need Arizona Bark scorpion antivenin, and they were able to fly it in from Arizona.

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Bianca Ventura

Bianca Ventura joined KESQ News Channel 3 as a reporter in February 2022.


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