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We're exploring Boquete as a retirement spot, and have heard mention of scorpions getting cozy with folks, especially during the dry season. We'd appreciate your feedback on these little critters---avoidance, elimination, discovery and what to do should we be bitten etc. We've been here three days and have seen three scorpions in our casa already. Is this routine? Any advice? Thanks.  BE

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From what I have heard, some areas have a bigger problem with scorpions than others.  They are pretty much a constant part of daily life where we are -- dry season and wet season.  We use a pest control service and it has greatly reduced the number we see, but has not eliminated them completely.  Check your exterior door thresholds also.  Scorpions don't need much of a crack to get under a typical Panamanian door -- many of which don't even have thresholds.

I've been stung twice and it is painful.  Side effects for me were numbness in lips and tongue -- very similar to what you experience with dental work.  Some people have severe allergic reactions to scorpion venom.  If you get stung, it is probably a good idea to take an antihistamine such as Benadryl.  (Qualifier:  I am not a medical professional.)

You kinda get used to them after a while -- kinda kinda.

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Scorpions are a part of life here.  Parts of Volcancito have many.  You just need to be aware of them.  

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24 minutes ago, Woody said:

From what I have heard, some areas have a bigger problem with scorpions than others.  They are pretty much a constant part of daily life where we are -- dry season and wet season.  We use a pest control service and it has greatly reduced the number we see, but has not eliminated them completely.  Check your exterior door thresholds also.  Scorpions don't need much of a crack to get under a typical Panamanian door -- many of which don't even have thresholds.

I've been stung twice and it is painful.  Side effects for me were numbness in lips and tongue -- very similar to what you experience with dental work.  Some people have severe allergic reactions to scorpion venom.  If you get stung, it is probably a good idea to take an antihistamine such as Benadryl.  (Qualifier:  I am not a medical professional.)

You kinda get used to them after a while -- kinda kinda.

Typical scorpion stings cause pain at the site of the sting, like a bee sting.  If you are having numbness in lips and tongue, those could be much more serious reactions.  You might discuss those with a doctor and see if you should be carrying an epi-pen.  Those symptoms sound alarming.

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3 hours ago, JudyS said:

Typical scorpion stings cause pain at the site of the sting, like a bee sting.  If you are having numbness in lips and tongue, those could be much more serious reactions.  You might discuss those with a doctor and see if you should be carrying an epi-pen.  Those symptoms sound alarming.

I never heard of an epi-pen until I read your message.  Sounds like something that belongs in our emergency medical kit.  Can they be bought at the local pharmacies?

Copious amounts of red wine dulls the pain of the sting.  I know where to get that.

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3 hours ago, JudyS said:

Typical scorpion stings cause pain at the site of the sting, like a bee sting.  If you are having numbness in lips and tongue, those could be much more serious reactions.  You might discuss those with a doctor and see if you should be carrying an epi-pen.  Those symptoms sound alarming.

Woody

 

Judy is right.  It is probable, according to your symptoms, that the scorpion sting you have had produces an allergic reaction that you should be considering discussing with your head doctor.  

 

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2 hours ago, Woody said:

I never heard of an epi-pen until I read your message.  Sounds like something that belongs in our emergency medical kit.  Can they be bought at the local pharmacies?

Copious amounts of red wine dulls the pain of the sting.  I know where to get that.

I have yet to see a scorpion (disclosure: I've only been living here fulltime for the past 5 months), but I seem to be getting increasingly allergic to insect stings.  A wasp popped me on the back of the neck a couple of weeks ago, and I started itching everywhere and developed some hives.  The symptoms passed within a couple of hours, but I think I'd better get an epi-pen in case I do run into scorpions eventually.  If they aren't available here, then it might make sense to get one on a trip up north.

I've actually been amazed at how few bugs I see around the house, even outdoors.

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Having moved into a vacant house, near Boquete, a scorpion was one of my first house guests.  I quickly sprayed him (It was a big one, therefore, male, I am just sure), with something I had under the sink.  This turned his dark body into a snowy white energized crab, twice the original size.  My friend Joe, had lived there for many years.  He suggested something I found at several stores in Boquete.  It was yellow and black and had a tiger on the label.  This stuff stopped them in their tracks.

I once picked one up, thinking it was a piece of lint on the tile floor.  After dropping it in the toilet nearby, it began to squirm.  I was so amazed to not have been stung.  Here in the Ga. mountains, I was stung by one putting my hand under my pillow.  One never knows.  There are different types and some are worse than others.  I usually didn't Google them, just grabbed a shoe with a hard sole.  There are worse critters in Panama, all part of life.

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http://www.ask.com/pets-animals/lavender-repel-scorpions-28979960ad9c2b94

I love the smell of lavender and it really works for me. I buy the lavender essential oils that you can get at the BCP market and I think HArmony shop., and probably Arrocha and Conway in David. I dilute it with water and spray dark places, my clothes, drains and anyplace else scorpions can lurk. Do on a regular basis.

You can also call pest control company, but in between times, , I advise filling the sweet smell of lavender in your home .  If you can find real lavender plants, let me know. Then you can plant them around the home to keep those nasty critters out.

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On 3/8/2016 at 5:48 PM, Uncle Doug said:

I have yet to see a scorpion (disclosure: I've only been living here fulltime for the past 5 months),

Doug, as you know, I live just below you. We've never seen a scorpion in the eight years we've been in our house (in Palo Alto). Friends who live down the hill just past George's Fireside Grill often have them, however. Maybe you and I are just high enough that they're not comfortable here? I would be interested in knowing if those who live high up in Jaramillo, Volcancito, Alto Quiel, etc. have problem with scorpions. If it's not the altitude, I do not know what to contribute it to. When we rented in Santa Lucia while building, we were plagued with scorpions.

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I live just above Santa Lucia down the school road in Volcancito.  I have a few scorpions.  They aren't aggressive creatures.  They come out mainly looking for food and water.  I can't stomp on something that is just trying to live, especially the tiny ones, so I get them in a cup and put them outside.

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I have lived here 13 years and have seen only 3 scorpions and have been bitten only once. I had a bottle of ultra-concentrated Grubers Jungle Oil nearby and I doused the spot with that and within seconds the swelling and pain were gone. So, I can attest that the super concentrated stuff is good for scorpion bites. I'm quite sure it doesn't cure cancer as claimed.

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On 3/7/2016 at 10:05 AM, ByWriter said:

We're exploring Boquete as a retirement spot, and have heard mention of scorpions getting cozy with folks, especially during the dry season. We'd appreciate your feedback on these little critters---avoidance, elimination, discovery and what to do should we be bitten etc. We've been here three days and have seen three scorpions in our casa already. Is this routine? Any advice? Thanks.  BE

Thanks, Penny, good to know

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I've lived here 13 years, have seen 8 scorpions in the past month, am phobic of them and kill them every chance I get. It depends a lot on where you live, I guess. I freely admit that JudyS is a better person than I am.  It is not that they are aggressive, but they get in your bed, bathroom, in dark places, and they are stupid and will crawl on you and when you see them and try to get rid of them they will sting. And it hurts. The more you let them breed, the more you will have them.

Grubers is great if you are stung. The Panamanians have a white powder (some sort of culandero) that they ingest as opposed to putting it on the sting that you can get from Any's (sorry, don't remember the name) that really helps also.

Most people just feel like they've been burned with a match stick when stung, it lasts an hour or more. Not pleasant, but not terrible either. Baby scorpions are worse than older ones in terms of their venom. If you have a lot of swelling, you have an allergic reaction and need to have some sort of medicine on hand in case you get stung again. If your throat swells, or you have numbness in the lips or tongue like JudyS said, go the the doctor right away.

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Professional fumigation inside and outside once a month has served us well.   It does not however prevent you from a snake bite if you stick your hands in a flower bed weeding.  A good Panamanian neighbor who is a long time resident of our little community and an avid gardener got a Fer de Lance bite on the hand just this week.   We toss moths balls is all our thick beds and don't stick our hands in them if we can help it.  It's an ongoing problem.  Since the first of the year we've had three Fer de lance ...garage, back porch and road in front of the house.  Much worse than a scorpion !

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What happened to your neighbor who was bit on the hand by the fer de lance? Did he go to the hospital? If it was a true fer de lance, he would be hospitalized now and lucky to be alive. Are you sure it isn't a false fer de lance, which is non-toxic?

From Wikipedia: Bite symptoms include pain, oozing from the puncture wounds, local swelling that may increase for up to 36 hours, bruising that spreads from the bite site, blisters, numbness, mild fever, headache, bleeding from the nose and gums, hemoptysis, gastrointestinal bleeding, hematuria, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, impaired consciousness and tenderness of the spleen. In untreated cases, local necrosis frequently occurs and may require amputation. In 12 fatal cases, the cause of death was sepsis (5), intracranial hemorrhage (3), acute renal failure with hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis (2) and hemorrhagic shock (1).[16]

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Another group of beasties to be very careful of are the caterpillars.  They can really give you severe sting as well as allergic reactions that include difficulty breathing, closing of the throat (my experience). 

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It's a good idea to keep some benedryl capsules on hand.  They work to surpress some allergic reactions, like insect stings.

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Where do you find Benadryl here? Admittedly, I haven't searched far and wide, but I just ordered Benadryl tablets from the States when I couldn't find them at the pharmacies I checked here.

I agree that it's almost essential to keep Benadryl on hand for emergencies. Benadryl probably saved my son's life when he was on an island off the coast of Florida, suffered some kind of sting to which he proved severely allergic, and was beyond immediate medical care. I also had a dog (back in the States) whose head and throat swelled from a sting by a bumblebee. Benadryl significantly reduced the swelling, allowing me time to get her to the vet. It's always in my medical chest.

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The generic name for Benadryl is diphenhydromine.  Ask for "Diphenhydromina".  It is available.  Or has been.

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34 minutes ago, Bonnie said:

Where do you find Benadryl here? Admittedly, I haven't searched far and wide, but I just ordered Benadryl tablets from the States when I couldn't find them at the pharmacies I checked here.

I agree that it's almost essential to keep Benadryl on hand for emergencies. Benadryl probably saved my son's life when he was on an island off the coast of Florida, suffered some kind of sting to which he proved severely allergic, and was beyond immediate medical care. I also had a dog (back in the States) whose head and throat swelled from a sting by a bumblebee. Benadryl significantly reduced the swelling, allowing me time to get her to the vet. It's always in my medical chest.

Diphenhydramine .  Comes in 25 and 50 mg.  Write it down on a paper and go to Any.   They should sell it there.

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15 hours ago, Phyllis Mc said:

What happened to your neighbor who was bit on the hand by the fer de lance? Did he go to the hospital? If it was a true fer de lance, he would be hospitalized now and lucky to be alive. Are you sure it isn't a false fer de lance, which is non-toxic?

From Wikipedia: Bite symptoms include pain, oozing from the puncture wounds, local swelling that may increase for up to 36 hours, bruising that spreads from the bite site, blisters, numbness, mild fever, headache, bleeding from the nose and gums, hemoptysis, gastrointestinal bleeding, hematuria, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, impaired consciousness and tenderness of the spleen. In untreated cases, local necrosis frequently occurs and may require amputation. In 12 fatal cases, the cause of death was sepsis (5), intracranial hemorrhage (3), acute renal failure with hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis (2) and hemorrhagic shock (1).[16]

He's up and about.  Yes it was a Fer de Lance.  He got to a regional hospital quickly thanks to a neighbor who drove him.  The man said " It happened very quickly".

OK...so you can have a bite happen before you even spot the snake.  Be very careful.

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44 minutes ago, Brundageba said:

Diphenhydramine .  Comes in 25 and 50 mg.  Write it down on a paper and go to Any.   They should sell it there.

As I recall, I asked for diphenhydramine. That's what I order from the States: the generic. Maybe the pharmacies were just out at the time I inquired which, as you know, is not unusual.

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Wow, regarding all those fer de lances. YIkes. They are so lethal and aggressive. Never have seen one-- thank god. Be careful.

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