SAN TAN VALLEY - There is no safe spot in the Valley when it comes to scorpions. You can find them just about everywhere; even at the ABC15 Studios. Most hire professionals or use some kind of pest control to get rid of them but one San Tan Valley mother of four actually goes out looking for them! And you’ll never guess why.
According to the FDA, people report 11,000 scorpion stings to poison centers each year and that’s just in Arizona alone! That makes us the scorpion capitol. In a capitol you might expect to find a king but tonight, we’re introducing you to the “Scorpion Queen”.
Misty Godfrey spends most nights like most moms, tucking the kids into bed.
“Good night. I love you,” she tells the children one by one.
But once the kids are down it’s lights out for Misty, too. We tagged along to see what she does in those late evening hours and it’s something so addicting that she goes out time and time again.
“Oh ... and there we go! There’s our first one!" she said.
I didn’t expect to find any scorpions so quickly but within 30 seconds of leaving Misty’s doorway we were already in business. Armed with nothing more than a mason jar, kitchen tongs, a black light and some bravery, this so-called “Scorpion Queen” is on the hunt.
“There we go. What’d ya got?”
The eight-legged arachnids don’t try to hide their location at first as they lay sprawled out on decorative rocks in front yards.
“I normally find them on the bottom, towards the bottom of the wall and in the cracks,” Misty said.
So what do people in the neighborhood think of Misty creeping around at night, sometimes going right through their front yards?
“All my neighbors know me as ‘Scorpion Lady’”.
Misty was stung once inside her home and it hurt. But out here? “No. If I can see them, I'm not going to get stung,” Misty said.
On average she captures 40 a week and we kept pace with that potential weekly tally. We searched yards and along block walls and under bushes. First a few and then a few more added up to 11 total scorpion snags for the night. So why does she do this?
“I get a bit of an adrenaline rush from it ... this is awesome.”
I asked Misty if this was a typical night; one that could be seen as a scorpion success. Our excursion into the dark, San Tan Valley night was a pretty strong one as far as scorpion hunts go. But this night was not over. Phase was just beginning. A while back, a friend’s son was stung by a scorpion. She knew that Misty loved making jewelry and collectibles so ...
“She said ‘Is there any chance I can get you to turn it into a keychain for payback?’ ... I was like, ‘Sure! Why not’!”
Turns out, scorpion keepsakes are hot commodities. Everyone from snowbirds to school kids can’t get enough.
“They think about it. I’m in the desert. Let’s get a scorpion!”
Venomous creature creativity keeps Misty going back out to hunt scorpions over and over again. The business isn’t a huge money maker but she loves what she does and has no plans of slowing down. And then, of course, there’s the cool nickname her friends have given her, too.
“They’ll be like, man, you’re so lucky. You got a cool nickname! You’re like hard core! You’re the ‘Scorpion Lady’!”
Scorpions stings are almost never fatal but you’ve got to be careful with kids and those allergic to the sting. The antivenin is very pricey so the bottom line is this; be cautious and be careful. Especially if you have a hobby like Misty’s.
Misty's tips on where to find scorpions around your home:
- Search under and around the river rocks in the front yard and around a garden bed. The scorpions like to hide under larger rocks to stay warm after the sun goes down.
- Locate any cracks in walls or near the foundation of the home. Scorpions like to hide in there for protection.
- One spot Misty says most people miss is inside the utility covers.
- Misty also recommends using a black light.
How to keep scorpions out and away from your home?
- Hire an exterminator.
- Use caulk to fill any holes, cracks or spaces along walls, windows and doors.
- Try to eliminate the scorpion's food sources to deter them to other areas.
- Remove wood piles and rocks out of the yard or away from the house.
- Don't leave shoes, clothing or towels outside. If you do, shake them out before bringing them inside.
- For homes with little ones, place the crib legs inside mason jars to prevent scorpions from crawling up the wood.
- Retailers sell stick traps that can lure scorpions. You can request a FREE one here .
- Misty noticed that cats and chickens may also deter scorpions either by eating them or scaring them away.
- Newer homes or homes near wooded areas or riverbeds should expect to see scorpions.