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As the spring season has arrived, so have the creepy crawly insects

Sep 06, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

The hot weather brings significant relief from the cold, but some unwanted friends seem to tag along, and they make their way into our homes.

Flies and mosquitoes can be irritating, but they are not half as terrifying as scorpions.

Radio Islam International speaks to an expert on scorpions, Jonathan Leeming.

Around 150 species of scorpions within South Africa contain some of the world’s least venomous. Jonathan said on the other end of the scale that we have the 12th most venomous scorpion in the world.

According to Jonathan, the scorpion with giant pincers have thin tales that are very weakly venomous. On the other side, we have scorpions with small pincers and very thick tales that are much more venomous.

He said around 28 highly venomous species of scorpions are within our sub-region. Not all that many enter houses. It’s only a few specific species.

“The average scorpion in Gauteng is not of medical importance.”

Jonathan said scorpion stings could be excruciating in determining if a scorpion bite is critical. If the pain is too much to handle, go and seek professional medical help.

According to Jonathan, out of 150 species, we have only got two that have caused deaths. This is around 8 to 12 people annually, an educational thumb suck. Infants under the age of 8 and significantly older people are at risk of scorpion envenomation.

Scorpions are a vital part of our natural world. They provide very valuable ecosystem services which ultimately benefit us.

Jonathan added that there is no reason to fear scorpions in Gauteng and many parts of our country.

According to Jonathan, the meals of scorpions are opportunistic and will eat small insects, while some scorpions only eat other scorpions. A number is a species that will wait at the entrance of its burrow for insects to wander past.

He advises those in doubt to contact the poisonous information helpline on 086 1555 777, free and operated 24/7. He said Stellenbosch University runs it in Cape Town. The helpline consists of medical doctors who specialize in all kinds of envenomation.

Listen to the interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.

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