Scorching weather sends scorpions scurrying inside homes

From Staff Reports

You turn on a light and you see something crawling across the floor or climbing up a wall. You lift a toilet lid and there’s one clinging to the bowl or floating in the water. You pull back the bed covers and there’s one on the pillow.

Scorpions. This time of year, when it’s scorching outside and cool inside, they’re on the move. Apparently, scorpions like air conditioning, too.

Striped bark scorpion, the most common species in Texas. Photo courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Striped bark scorpion, the most common species in Texas. Photo courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Many Somervell County residents report seeing an outbreak of scorpions lately, as a discussion on the glenrosecurrent.com Facebook page this week indicated.

One resident said she had found two in her bedroom, one in her child’s bedroom and one on her porch.

Another woman found one in wet clothes she had removed from the washing machine. Another said one was in her bed and she got stung.

Many residents reported seeing scorpions on bathtubs and sinks.

Comments such as “yikes,” “ick” and “eek, hate those things!” represented the general feeling about scorpions.

Texas A&M University’s AgriLife Extension Service says the most common species in Texas, the striped bark scorpion (Centruoides vittatus), can grow up to 2-and-a-half inches long. It’s often found under rocks or boards and debris and in the attics of homes.

“During periods of hot weather, scorpions may move into living areas the escape the high temperatures in attics,” according to the extensive service.

Experts say that when it’s hot and dry outside, scorpions seek cool moisture and use the hairs on the bottom of their bodies to sense where to go. When they encounter seeps and cracks around houses and feel the air conditioning, they will come inside.

Scorpions can fit through tiny spaces no thicker than a credit card.

While they may look fierce and give some people the heebie-jeebies, most Texas scorpion stings produce “moderate reactions” in people who are stung by them — unless they have an allergic reaction, the extension service added.

Controlling scorpions can be difficult with insecticides alone, so the extension service offers these tips for managing them:

  • Remove all trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects from around the structure.
  • Keep grass closely mowed near the structure. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the structure. Tree branches can give scorpions a path to the roof.
  • Store garbage containers in a frame that keeps them above ground level.
  • Never bring firewood inside the structure unless it is placed directly on the fire.
  • Install weather-stripping around loose-fitting doors and windows.
  • Plug weep holes in stone or brick veneer structures with steel wool, copper mesh, pieces of nylon scouring pad, or small squares of screen wire. (Steel wool will rust when wet, so it should be used only on dark-colored facades.)
  • Use sealant around roof eaves, pipes, and any other cracks into the structure.
  • Keep window screens in good repair. Make sure they fit tightly in the window frame.

“Naturally derived pesticides for managing scorpions include active ingredients such as rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, thyme oil, peppermint oil and pyrethrum,” the extension service noted.

Just keep in mind that natural treatments can degrade more quickly than synthetic pesticides.

Synthetic pesticides for scorpion control may contain active ingredients such as permethrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, deltamethrin, propoxur, carbaryl or bifenthrin, the extension service said.

Or, if you don’t want to manage scorpions yourself, consult a pest control operator.

 

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