Have you seen scorpions crawling near your home?

A University of Tennessee student is asking for your help to track scorpions in Knoxville.
A University of Tennessee student is asking for your help to track scorpions migrating into Oak Ridge and Knoxville.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Are there scorpions in your backyard or under your house? If so, a University of Tennessee student wants to hear from you.

Colby Sain, a UT Senior said she’s working with the American Museum of Natural History studying scorpions.

Sain said she found one in Oak Ridge, and wondered if some are in Knoxville.

“What’s weird is the Knoxville area, geologically is what we call the region valley, the scorpions are never there. They are always on the left and the right of Knoxville, but never in Knoxville. And so Oak Ridge belongs to the valley ridge but scorpions are there,” shared Sain.

University of Tennessee entomologist Karen Vail said the Unstriped Scorpion is typically found in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, in plateau areas. They could be lurking outside of your home.

“We find them more closely associated in areas where there’s moisture. So under rocks, maybe in mulch, under bark, maybe in someone’s crawl space. They’re gonna be closely associated with moisture cause that’s where their prey is gonna be found,” explained Vail.

Vail also said the Unstriped Scorpion is tiny, and its’ sting is usually harmless, but some people may have an allergic reaction to the venom if stung.

When it comes to doing pest control around your home for the scorpions, Vail suggested using a UV light to help find them and also using a sticky trap/glue board. She said it’s also good to check around the edges of doors and windows and make sure they’re sealed well.

While trying to narrow down where the scorpions are in the Knoxville area, Sain is asking for you to let her know.

She said using people like you to help collect data is a new approach she’s taking to find out if they’re around.

“So far in Oak Ridge I personally, it takes a while to find them, maybe three or four hours of work, and I’ll find one. So it takes a really long time. But that’s why the post in Oak Ridge is really helpful for me because I can see maybe where there’s areas where it’s easier to find them etc. And I also want to see how close they get to Knoxville,” said Sain.

If you find a scorpion in Knoxville you are asked to email Colby Sain at csain4@vols.utk.edu

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