Scorpions found near Roxie area

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

ROXIE &8212; Vanessa Bolin of Roxie was fast asleep at 3 a.m. when someone shoved a hot, sharp object just above her kidneys.

That&8217;s what it felt like when a scorpion stung her in May, she said.

&8220;I got real hot, and my heart started racing,&8221; Bolin said. &8220;After a while, I got real, real cold. I thought I should go to the emergency room, but I&8217;m a single mother, so I don&8217;t need that. If it had been one of my sons, I would have been there fast.&8221;

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The species that stung Bolin was a striped bark scorpion, said Darryl Grennell, a microbiology professor who teaches a course in entomology at Alcorn State University.

The scorpions, mostly found in Arkansas, Texas and New Mexico, are not native to the area, he said, but somehow they made it to the Adams &8212; Franklin County line. None have been spotted in Adams County yet, Grennell said.

Someone brought him one from the Roxie area, and he sent it to the state entomologist, who identified it as a striped bark scorpion.

&8220;This species, when it stings, gives a pretty strong punch &8212; it hurts,&8221; Grennell said.

Fortunately, the scorpions&8217; stings rarely kill.

&8220;The only cases where it&8217;s fatal are in little kids, older people, and those who are immuno-suppressed.&8221;

Bolin survived the intense pain, and she is watching out for more. She said she started seeing the arachnids when she first moved into her house in the mid 1990s. Some of her neighbors have sighted some in their houses, too.

The scorpions are not easy to catch and kill, she said.

&8220;They&8217;re so fast, you see them and they&8217;re gone,&8221; she said.

She doesn&8217;t hesitate to kill them when she can, she said.

&8220;You can smack them or step on them, but the whole time, they&8217;re stinging,&8221; she said.

She has found them on her carpet, on her ceiling, in her garden and even one in a gift bag.

Recently, she found a batch of them living in her woodpile, but the sightings, usually starting in May, tend to taper off as summer ends, she said.

One of her neighbors caught a scorpion in a jar and showed it to Clinton Hunt, a professor in the chemistry department at Alcorn.

&8220;When I walked over there, I couldn&8217;t believe it when I saw it,&8221; Hunt said. &8220;It was just like the ones you see out in the desert.&8221;

Hunt showed the specimen to Grennell, who passed it on to the state entomologist.

Grennell said he did not know how the arachnids got to the area, but he had a few guesses.

&8220;I don&8217;t know if Hurricane Katrina blew them in or if it came through freight,&8221; Grennell said. &8220;Somebody could have had the specimen as a pet and could have released it. If it was pregnant, the population could have been introduced.&8221;

However they were introduced, Bolin said she thought people should be aware of them.

&8220;My youngest son is 12,&8221; Bolin said. &8220;If he had been bitten, I don&8217;t know what would have happened.&8221;

As for her own experience, Bolin said she is being very watchful these days.

&8220;After my bout with this one, I don&8217;t want to see one right now. I&8217;m afraid if I get stung again, maybe it would be a negative for me.&8221;