As terrifying as they may seem, only one species of lethal scorpion is present in the United States, and antivenin for its sting is both readily available and effective. This means your chance of being seriously harmed by a scorpion is very slim. Running across a scorpion in your home is still creepy, though, and an experience most would rather do without. The good news is that scorpions don't nest or intentionally live in homes, so any that find their way in will ultimately die. If you happen to encounter a scorpion before that happens, you can catch it in a jar and take it back outside. You can then take steps to prevent future scorpion encounters such as sealing your home and removing scorpion hiding places from your yard. There's no way to guarantee you'll never see a scorpion again, but you can greatly reduce the potential of encountering one in your home.
Because scorpions in your yard are one step away from your home, a little spring cleaning in the lawn helps you avoid unwanted scorpion roommates in your house. Scorpions are nocturnal and hide during the day. The more hiding places you provide, the more likely you are to host scorpions. Clear your yard of woodpiles, large rocks, tall grass and mulch. Store outdoor trash cans and firewood piles elevated on skids or metal racks rather than stacking them directly on the ground. Keep your bushes trimmed and avoid planting shrubs or plants right next to your home. If you do have planting beds adjacent to your house, keep the plantings thin and mulch the beds with fine gravel rather than wood mulch. It's also a good idea to cover any areas of sandy soil with small gravel since scorpions frequently rest just under loose sand.
Create a Seal
Scorpions need only 1/8 inch of space to crawl into your home. You'll need to diligently seal your home if you want to keep them outside. To do so, seal any cracks or openings you find in your home's foundation and spray foam insulation up under your roof eaves. Use caulk or foam around the areas where plumbing pipes, electrical wires and dryer vents enter your home. Install wire mesh over dryer and plumbing vents and over weep holes in brick veneers. Install weather stripping under and around doors and windows. Fill any gaps around window and door frames with caulk and keep your window screens in good repair.
Catch and Release?
If you're unsure whether or not you have scorpions, you can always grab a black light and take a look around. Scorpions fluoresce under a black light, making them quite easy to spot in your home and garden. In the event that you do find any or stumble across one, catch it in a jar and move it to a new location. Simply invert the jar over the animal, slide a piece of construction paper or cardboard under it and right the container. You can also safely pick up a scorpion using forceps or tongs that are 10- to 12-inches in length. Once you have caught the animal, you can release it elsewhere or kill it where it is legal to do so. You can kill a scorpion easily by crushing it with a heavy object. If you know you have scorpions you wish to relocate, lay damp burlap bags near the foundation of your home or in another area where there is cover. Scorpions flock to moisture and will congregate on the burlap where you can easily catch several of them at a time.
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Scorpion Management in Residential Homes
- Orkin International: Deadly Scorpions
- University of Missouri Extensnion: Scorpions
- University of Califonria Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Scorpions
- Texas Hill Country: 5 Ways to Outsmart Scorpions in Your Home
- Varsity Termite and Pest Control: Most Common Scorptions
Home is where the heart is, and Michelle frequently pens articles about ways to keep yours looking great and feeling cozy. Whether you want help organizing your closet, picking a paint color or finishing drywall, Michelle has you covered. If she's not puttering in the house, you'll find her in the garden playing in the dirt. Her garden articles provide tips and insight that anyone can use to turn a brown thumb green. You'll find her work on Modern Mom, The Nest and eHow as well as sprinkled throughout your other online home decor and improvement favorites.