The Hazards of Vector Control

The entire U.S. Air Force environmental health class was out in the field studying vector control. After a lengthy bus ride, we hiked into the area in which our instructors had pre-selected as our outdoor classroom for the day.

It was an area covered with rocks and small tree-like plants. It was obvious to me that the area was a flood-plain for the nearby river in the winter and during the spring run-off.

One of the warnings we were given was to watch for rattlesnakes, fire-ants, hornets, wasps, bees and scorpions. We were told to watch where we sat, leaned, placed a hand, and stepped.

No one reported seeing any of the things we were warned about. However that all changed when I found a fallen log in the shade to sit down on.

I felt a sharp pain in my right butt cheek and grew immediately ill to my stomach.

The pain was so sharp, that I jumped to my feet and pulled my fatigue pants down. A number of my classmates confirmed I had a large red, swollen welt on my backside.

After an hour or so I finally got over the nausea. It was decided that I had been stung by a Striped Bark Scorpion. Luckily, they aren’t deadly, jus’ painful.

And though I’ve encountered a Striped Bark Scorpion, I’ve never actually seen one.

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