This is what we call the dry season in Ajijic, Lake Chapala. It is also the season of the alacranes (scorpions) as they come out of their hiding places under rocks and other dark places as they look for water and food.
A scorpion sting can be painful but rarely is fatal if a few vital steps are followed if stung. The severity of the recation is usually determined by the scorpion species, the body mass of the victim, the amount of venom injected and the person stung.
Here at lakesaide there are two families of scorpions – Buthdae and Vaejovindae. In Mexico, the benus Buthidae is called Centruroides and norhtern Mexico has some within this genus that are very dangerous. Here at Lake Chapala the centruroides infamatus or centruroides elegans are much less dangerous. The other local family of scorpions here is Vaejovindae and it many species of the genus vaejovis.
The good news is that if you are stung here, statistics show it most likely will be by a species of Vaejovis.
Scorpions inject different amounts of venom depending on the situation. If you just bump it it will likely not sting with all of its venom but if it feels like it is in a life threatening situation like being caught in your pants or your shoe it may deliver all of its venom in an effort to safe its life.
One person described the sting as the feeling of bacon fat splattering out of the pan but the sting does not go away as quickly. There are many things that people try to do when stung like take an antihistamine or other local remedies but I suggest you go directly to a clinic such as Maskaras Open 24/7 Tel. (376( 765-4805) to be assessed if you feel any discomfort other than pain. Sometimes the throat can swell or the venom can go to the heart so it is better to be properly assessed to see if any treatment is necessary.
The popular choice of taking an antihistamine only masks the onset of possible symtoms and will not do you any good before going to the clinic. Don’t rush you have time before any symptoms could become dangerous and it is important to keep calm. In most cases no treatment is necessary and the pain will subside in due course but if any symptoms persist go to the clinic.
For us the rule of thumb is the smaller the alacran the more dangerous they are. Also the smaller ones are almost tranparent. The larger darker ones are not as dangerous but every person and their reaction will be different.
Alacranes usually travel in pairs so if you kill one keep an eye out for its mate who may come looking for him or her.
We fumigate our house with Cynoff, a product which is available at Jara Ferreteria (Hardware Store) beside Telmex in Ajijic, every 6 weeks. We like this product, which you dilute with water and spray inside and outside of your house, because it is effective and also is not toxic to pets.
By keeping your home free of other insects this will cut down on the food source alacranes are looking for and having screen doors will also help. There is a product you can buy at Jara or the Wednesday market in Ajijic which is a chalk that you run across your doorways and for some reason the alcranes will not cross these chalked thresholds
One of my daughters has been bitten several times and my husband once and they both survived. Another thing you can do is shake out your clothing and shoes before putting them on.
If you live near an empty field this also will increase your risk of alacranes being about.
Another tip is that alacranes have the ability of changing their shape. So if you see something that you are not quite sure what it is kill it first and ask questions later.
The rains are coming soon as heraled by the croaking rain birds and alacranes will retreat to their hiding places and order will be restored to the universe.