Imagine you’ve just moved into a brand new home. You’ve unpacked the last box, there’s a cute family portrait next to the television, and the kitchen is filled with aromas of a new candle and a casserole baking in the oven. You’ve invited your family, and a few friends over for a house-warming party.
Towards the end of the night, your husband politely offers to help take out the trash, he steps out into the garage, and all of a sudden, from inside the house, you hear a rambunctious noise coming from the garage. Everyone rushes over to the garage, only to find your husband panting, staring at an array of guts alongside of the wall, of what used to be a scorpion.
Your guests give a sigh of relief to know that he is okay, and thankful it wasn’t something worse. But in your mind, although grateful your husband is okay, you are not grateful it was only a scorpion. Because, upon finding him to be unharmed, you realize this is now the worst case scenario. A SCORPION IN YOUR HOUSE? Cue the panic attack…
As a young, new mother who suffers from a severe case of arachnophobia, upon seeing the smashed remains, I had become fanatical. I was up all night researching legal ways to get out of a rental contract in the state of Nevada. Once I came to the sad realization that moving out (or burning the house down) wasn’t a realistic option, I decided to take matters into my own hands and eradicate these nasty creatures myself.
I began my search for the best way to get rid of scorpions, and through trial and error, I have created the ultimate guide to help you kill and prevent these stubborn pests.
Getting to Know Your Uninvited Guests
First things first, know your enemy. Much like war, knowing your opponent’s strategy creates a huge advantage. Therefore, the more you know about scorpions, the better defense you have against them entering your home. So to save you time, I have done my research and comprised a list of the most important things there are to know about them:
- Types of Scorpions – There are thought to be 2,000 species of scorpions throughout the world and most of them reside in the desert. So for those of us living in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas we have the pleasure of dealing with these invasive nuisances. The four most common types of scorpions found in the Southwest, United States are, the Arizona Bark Scorpion, the Striped Bark Scorpion, the Arizona Hairy Scorpion, and the Stripe Tailed Scorpion.
- The Dangers of a Scorpion Sting- Though rarely fatal, if stung by a scorpion, it is best to clean the wound and call a doctor immediately, especially if the victim is a baby or young child, elderly, or ill. It is important to seek medical attention for anyone who falls under any of these categories regardless of observable symptoms; if left untreated, serious complications can occur, in rare cases, even death. A healthy adult is not likely to experience any life threatening complications, mostly just pain, irritation, and numbness around the wound.
- When They Are Most Active – Scorpions are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active at night. During the day they hide in cool, dark places, (most of them even burrow into the ground) until the sun goes down and it’s time to emerge and hunt. As a whole, the activity of scorpion populations typically fluctuates throughout the year. The peak of their activity is May-June as temperatures rise, whereas activity is less likely to occur January-March.
- What Attracts Them – Scorpions enter homes and structures seeking two things: shelter and water. In their search, these determined intruders can contort their bodies to fit through spaces as small at 1/16 of an inch. They are drawn to things such as cardboard boxes, damp towels, leaky pipes/appliances, pools, and attics.
- What They Eat – A scorpion’s diet consists mainly of smaller insects and arachnids such as cockroaches and spiders, but they are also known to prey on other scorpions and small lizards, sometimes even small rodents, like mice.
Don’t Be So Accommodating
Now that we’ve become more acquainted with our eight-legged foes, we can begin the process of elimination. To start, If you have scorpions in your house or in your yard, the truth is, it’s because they like it there. So the answer is simple, don’t be so accommodating.
Knowing that scorpions enter structures seeking shelter and water, we can now take precautionary measures to ensure they will not find what they are looking for inside our homes. Effective ways to eliminate any sources of water would be
- Avoid leaving damp towels or laundry on the floor
- Fixing leaky pipes
- Running faucets frequently
We have a bathroom in our house that doesn’t get used very often and that happens to be a place where we’ve had the most scorpion sightings. We found that they were entering through the drains because there was water sitting at the bottom, from lack of use. By running the faucets, it eliminates sitting water, and flushes down any potential scorpions.
Another important thing to know is that scorpions love cardboard boxes and clutter-remember anything that provides them shelter. Removing any cardboard boxes from your garage and home and replacing them with plastic bins will reduce activity as well as removing clutter. This includes
- Piles of wood, rock, tree trimmings
- Trash or debris
- Piles of clothes or laundry on the floor
Hunt Them Down
Scorpions are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. So, the best time to find them is, you guessed it, at night! I’m sure you’re wondering how that’s even possible, seeing as they are already hard to find in broad daylight. Well, that is where knowing your enemy comes into play.
Scorpions have a type of “Achilles Heel” when it comes to camouflage. Underneath their exoskeleton, they are made up of a jelly-like enzyme which is actually fluorescent, therefore when held under a black light, scorpions glow a bright white, revealing them in the darkest of places. They literally cannot hide from a black light, which creates a huge advantage for you as their opponent.
With the help of a black light, it is beneficial, in terms of reducing activity, to go out and “hunt” them each night. In the beginning of our eradication journey, so to speak, we would hunt them every night for a few weeks, until we started seeing significantly less activity. This is because the best way to get rid of scorpions is simply to kill them off and prevent them from breeding.
Now, let’s be honest, if you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t touch these creepy crawlers with a ten-foot pole. That is why I always carry a Spider & Scorpion spray with me as I go hunting. It kills on contact within a safe distance and it doesn’t require any physical contact from me.
Shut the Front Door!
Scorpions can shrink themselves to fit into a space as small as 1/16 of an inch. That being said, if there are any cracks, leaks, or holes leading into your house, you can bet they will squeeze their way in. This means cracks or holes in foundations, baseboards, ceilings, light switches, doorways, and floors.
In order to prevent this from happening, make sure to caulk all cracks, seal all holes, and weather strip any doors leading into the house. Pay special attention to basements and attics during this process, because that is their preferred method of entry.
We also use glue traps near every point of entry and throughout the house.
Eliminate Their Food Source- The #1 Way to Get Rid of Scorpions
Find a spray to kill their prey. It’s simple, no food, no interest. If a scorpion can’t find food within your home, they will be onto the next. Using an insecticide is a win-win, because by exterminating a scorpions prey, you are ultimately exterminating other potential pests that you do not want in your home.
Most insecticides have caution labels on them for use around pets and children. Although they claim to be safe once dry, we do not use insecticides inside our house. Instead, we spray along the outside perimeter and along the outer part of doorways leading into the house. This method, for us, has proven to be just as successful as spraying inside.
Smell You Later! – An Eco Friendly Option
Essential oils can be used as an alternative, or paired with an insecticide to create an invisible barrier around your home. Turns out scorpions find potent smells repulsive, and some aromas in particular are an extreme deterrent. Cedarwood Oil is said to be a scorpion’s worst nightmare when it comes to scents.
This is great news for anyone who lives a “green” lifestyle or anyone who has pets or small children. This Eco friendly option, comes in pre-made, spray bottles or you can make your own by combining the following essential oils with 2 cups of water.
- Cedarwood Oil (20 drops)
- Lavender Oil (10 drops)
- Peppermint Oil (10 drops)
- Cinnamon Oil (5 drops)
This is safe to spray inside, and is safe for pets and children. Spray around doorways, windowsills, and baseboards every few weeks, to deter scorpions from entering your home. Use essential oil mixture inside paired with an insecticide outside, for even more protection against these pests.
Consistency is Key
It’s your home, you hold the key, so lock out those pests! Scorpions must be maintained; do not become complacent. Follow through with every day habits that will keep your home free of clutter, and therefore free of scorpions. Routinely spray insecticide and essential oils every few weeks, and make sure your home is caulked and sealed.
Be consistent in your efforts and those pests won’t bother you anymore.