Hunting Scorpions with a UV light!

Earlier this year, I moved to an area which I discovered is overrun with scorpions. Although not deadly, the scorpions we have in Texas can inflict very painful stings, and are known to come indoors and hide under blankets or in other undesirable locations. ( I had caught 3-4 in traps, but I knew there were more around the yard. I was discussing this with a friend when we recalled that scorpions glow under a blacklight. I checked the selection of UV drop-ins on Manafont and selected this module...

...because it was listed as a 380nm vs. the 395nm of the 'generic' drop-in, and had more reviews that were all positive. (The UV drop-ins on Manafont all have what appears to be the same emitter so they may be all the same except two have OP reflectors and the other two have SMO...)

I installed the drop-in using the Sky-Ray S-R5 (which I just noticed Manafont has removed from their listingsCry). I was shocked at how 'bright' this drop-in was; using 'bright' since I don't know what other word to describe the black-lightyness of this light. A review on MF states that this drop-in only pulls 650mA, but with freshly-charged cells, I'm able to get 800-900mA at the tailcap from mine. Maybe mine is being insanely overdriven? This light shines much further than expected, but my previous UV light was 7 UV LEDs in a 3x AAA body, so no comparison. I don't have any known UV sources to compare against, but this emitter does have more visible light output than a fluorescent blacklight I have, but it makes fluorescent and GITD material shine much more brightly, and at a much larger distance.

Using this light to look for scorpions is incredible! The light illuminates the ground with a faint purple/gray light, and the scorpions fluoresce a vivid, bright, artificial-looking yellow. They are instantly noticible on the ground, where they remain still trying to rely on their natural camoflage which is very effective under normal visible light, but worthless under UV.

When I took the light outside after dark the first time, I was hoping to find a few scorpions, but totally unprepared for what I found. The first night, I caught over 20 scorpions, not counting the baby scorpions on the back of one. Over the past three nights, I have caught over 80 scorpions on my place.

These are a few I caught over the first couple of nights:

This photo was taken using a fluorescent blacklight which was causing my camera's white-balance to go nuts and completely shifting the actual color they are actually fluorescing:

I'll be manually setting the white-balance on my camera and taking it hunting with me tonight to see if I can get a good picture showing how they blend-in with their surroundings while illuminated by UV...

I think I would be spreading poison over my entire yard area if I was you. Incredible pics!

I really don’t want to spread poison all over as I would prefer to keep good insects around. I’ll be spraying Demon around the base of my house to keep bugs outside, but the yard area is too big to treat the entire place.

I’ve been told that you can keep the scorpion population in check by hunting them at night, and I want to try that before doing anything more drastic.

That sounds like a good reason to use your lights too! I think it would be alot of fun to hunt them at night. My parents used to live in LaVernia , TX and those critters were everywhere.

What are you hunting them with, a 12 gauge? lol…I know I would…nasty looking critters!

Just out of curiosity, what do you do with them once caught? How do you kill them?

I have a double-barrel derringer in my pocket with ratshot in case I find an angry Copperhead; we have those too, and they are active at night… :zipper_mouth_face:

Actually, I’m huting them with a glass jar and a pair of heavy leather work gloves. I just pick them up by the tail, and they usually just hang there until I drop them in the jar. I’ve had a few that tried to grab my glove and crawl up it, but as long as I have the stinger-end, there isn’t much they can do…

I haven’t killed them yet; I have them in a big glass bowl, and have been catching crickets to feed them. It’s brutal watching them eat; their pincers are much stronger than they look; they will grab a cricket in both claws, and their stinger will start batting around looking for a soft spot to sting. They start eating it while it is still alive; I can hear their jaws crunching on the cricket’s shell while they are chewing…

Any votes on my skewering and roasting the scorpions to eat them like they do in China? :Sp

That’s an interesting thread. I don’t even think I’ve ever even seen scorpions in the wild. I’m very curious to see the picture with your camera’s wb properly set. If you have the opportunity to shoot a video too, would be interesting :wink:

One of the times I went to Arizona, I had a scorpion sucket, it was a really small scorpion though, so it practically had more shell than meat. But, you have some bigger ones, so why not go for it? It should be better for you than any farmed food.

>>>>>>Actually, I’m huting them with a glass jar and a pair of heavy leather work gloves.

I use BIG hemostats. You need a light touch though or you crush ’em though with hemostats. I pick em up amidships. They go bonkers if I try and lift em em by the tail.

Yours must be pretty docile. Mine whip back and forth with a vengeance when they get picked up by the tail and it’s hard to hold them with gloves without smushing the tail.

But anyway, NICE HAUL!!!

I want one of these lights. Was just looking for about the second week and was about to think about pulling the trigger. Sooooo …. Your host isn’t available any more? What other lights will this drop-in fit? Any ideas please? I’m a newbie to drop ins. Have replaced drivers and emitters and soldered em, but no drop ins yet.

Some long-wave uv small fluorescents do NOT work very well with scorps. Must be a different wavelength. So I am very interested in this drop because you know it works. And it works GREAT!!!

And man out by Death Valley we get BIG scorps. Desert hairies, like yours. Did you get any vinegaroons? Also called whiptail scorps. Nonpoisonous but they get as big as mice! And they’re called wind scorps because they run as fast as the wind.

Do you see the mother in your first picture, lower left, with the little babies all over her back? Those little babies are MURDEROUS. Tiny and they get in your clothing. Look how small they are. Those are the ones to watch for. Hurt like the bejesus and you can’t even find em once they bite you because they’re so effing tiny. So they sting again and again. Just waiting long enough between stings so you think you squished em.

I can feel them crawling on me just looking at your picture. AIEEEE!

I need to know which light so I can also patrol my area!

>>>>>>I’m very curious to see the picture with your camera’s wb properly set.

I’m not sure if you’re asking about seeing them without UV light? They are REALLY hard to see. I mean really hard. They feel your footsteps through the ground and they sit still and they blend in amazingly. You’d have a cow when you turn on the UV light — just like the OP says — because suddenly there are so many of them everywhere. Without the light, you really cannot find them, or at least I can’t find them. I have really tried.

Please enjoy your time here, caml!

The ‘mom’ with the wee ones on her back is especially creepy, for some reason….

If I came back with a jar of those from the yard, my wife would insist on moving.


Awesome pics. I bet some restaurant would pay top-dollar for free-range scorpions.

@ Ubehebe: It's a standard P60 drop-in so it will fit any P60 host you like. You can use it with any of the 501/502/503/504 type hosts. I just really liked the Sky Ray S-R5 host because it has more mass for better heat-sinking, and is extremely rugged. I ran over mine on an asphalt parking lot with my pickup truck and it just warped the bezel ring slighly and scuffed the anodizing. I straightened out the ring and it's still a great host. Since this is a low-power drop-in, you could get away with using your choice of hosts:

The 501b; cheap and lightweight @ $6.19:

The 502b; cheap, and with a pocket-clip @ $6.94:

The 504b; one of my favorites since it is better for heatsinking, has a smooth bezel and an anti-roll feature, and tailstands. Here in black @ $8.12:

...and here in silver:

You could use the half-size 501a, which is the same as the 501b but you would need to purchase a set of 16340/18350 cells to use with this host, and would lose runtime due to the reduced capacity. Here for $5.89:

You just gave me another reason NOT to go in the yard at night. :~ (Mosquitoes being the first one)

Thankfully I haven’t noticed them here in Houston, or I haven’t looked hard enough!

What makes it really creepy; This is the only scorpion I didn’t find on the ground or on a branch or stump on the ground. It was about chest-high on a weed that had grown tall. When I saw it at first, I wasn’t sure it was a scorpion because it looked fuzzy under the UV light. The babies do not glow at all, and had hidden the shape of the scorpion, so I wasn’t able to ID it from a distance. I could have missed it easily as I was focusing on the ground instead of up higher, and I could have walked into it without realizing until too late. Now, I shine the light around to check before looking on the ground whenever there’s tall grass and weeds. I was very careful picking this one up as I didn’t want baby scorpions crawling up and into my glove….

THANK YOU —- THANK YOU for the light list. I am literally shopping while we speak. Thank you!!!

>>>>>>It was about chest-high on a weed that had grown tall.

Yeah, you really gotta watch the bushes and trees. In fact, I really think 99% of scorps inside my house come from walking through brush and then carrying them inside on my clothing.

But here is the scary part: I am told that SIDEWINDERS also climb up in the bushes, so you have to be REALLY careful when digging around in the bushes for scorps. I have not seen this personally but heard it first hand from the biggest EX-scorp hunter in Owens Valley, Calif. I say “ex” because the levitating sidewinders is literally what made him give up the business of collecting scorps. He collected em; killed em with chloroform fumes and them encased them in lucite paperweights for the tourst trade. He made THOUSANDS of them and made a great deal of money off them.

BUT more and more he would find sidewinders in the giant sagebrush or blackbrush OFF THE GROUND, sometimes at face level or chest level. Not a good idea to get bit by a Mojave Green or a sidewinder in the face or in the chest. That would not come out well. The UV light makes the scorps light up like an xmas tree but it makes the rattlers completely disappear. He said it made em invisible.

He almost got bit a couple times by rattlers, and he hung up his UV light. I mean this guy is a man’s man. If it freaked him out, it would freak any tough guy out. So I am a little concerned about the snakes because i am no tough guy. :wink:

I bought many uv tube lights for scorps but they worked awful and the range was like two feet. The big scorp hunter had a HUGE battery pack and a big old five-tube uv head. He showed me the rig. This was like 10 years ago before led lights.

So watch those bushes!

Did you see any vinegaroons? Did they glow also? They should. Similar to scorps.

Just thinking about what you said. Weird that the babies didn’t glow. So much for finding the buggers once they get in my house, what I thought would be another handy use for the uv light.

We don’t have any vinegaroons here. And no rattlesnakes either. There are rattlesnakes further Northwest of where I live, but I’ve never seen any. We have Copperheads and Water Moccasins (wherever there’s water, but we don’t have any of that where I live)…

The Copperheads are my biggest concern…