In a country with strong antigens, even just a single scorpion can cause health problems. In one Egyptian village, residents say, whole swarms of them have crept into homes, creating one last gasp of wild life before ancient migration patterns shift.
The plague of scorpions was first reported late last month in the village of Wadi Khaled, about 80 miles southwest of Cairo.
The Associated Press reported that for the past two months, residents say, dozens of scorpions have crawled into almost every flat surface in the house and laid eggs around the bed and in the closet. The report said the descendants might pass on their genes if they survive.
Local residents and anti-scorpion groups have banded together to try to rid the homes of the purple-scaly arachnids. They are using shovels, rakes and fire to break up the trees where the insects are hiding, and collecting twigs, leaves and the seed pods that hover near the land that hosts them.
The scorpions are expected to leave once warm winter weather returns. “They’re not able to do this any more,” resident Emad Shahin said, according to the AP. “They’re getting tired of living in these homes and falling sick.”
The swarms of scorpions are not new to the Nile Valley, where African and Asian vultures also inhabit the area.
“Such overwinter dispersal, similar to vultures and is dubbed ‘thawly’ migration, has been seen before in the wild. Scientists are calling it a last gasp for these invertebrates, meaning it is their last chance to survive unless cool weather brings an influx of insects,” the report said.