Scorpion Home Defense
Perhaps no insect in Arizona causes as much fear and panic as the scorpion. It crawls. It climbs. It squeezes its way into your home. And that’s just the beginning of the nightmare. It also packs a powerful sting that’s painful and potentially dangerous for some adults, and possibly pets, kids, and seniors. And it likes to come out at night.
Scorpions are least active during the colder months, as they spend their winters nesting together and breeding. A single nest may contain up to 30 scorpions, and each scorpion might have up to 100 babies. You may not see them when it’s cold outside, but they are simply preparing for Springtime. As soon as evening temperatures rise above 70°, scorpions leave their nests and hunt for food and water. That’s when they represent the biggest threat to your household.
To protect your home and family from scorpions, it’s important to maintain a three-tiered strategy:
- Property Defense
- Home Exterior Defense
- Home Interior Defense
Much like any desert-dwelling creatures, scorpions look for areas that provide shelter from the elements and protection from predators. This could include small spaces between rocks, in the gaps of cinder block walls, behind piles of firewood or yard debris, and in the shaded spaces provided by a bucket of toys or a built-in barbeque.
Having regular pest control service is essential for keeping scorpions and other insects at bay. Good property defense requires application of effective pest control products around the perimeter of the property, as well as in specific trouble spots where pests can hide. Any products used on your property should be safe for people and pets, yet strong enough to keep scorpions away.
Make sure your pest control company uses EPA-approved pesticides, applied by experienced and certified technicians. Any scorpions that manage to make it into your home will usually be on their “last legs,” as the effects of the pest control products eventually catch up with these home invaders. Maintaining a consistent property defense strategy for pest control drastically reduces the number of scorpions that can attempt to breach the walls of your home.
Home Exterior Defense
Scorpions have the ability to flatten themselves to the thickness of a credit card, giving them access even the smallest of openings into your house. A professional scorpion seal is the number-one way to keep scorpions outside where they belong.. The goal of scorpion sealing is to block access points to your home’s interior. And make no mistake – there are many! It’s common for scorpions to enter a house through air vents, torn window screens, in the space surrounding unsealed pipes and plumbing, and in the gaps under doors. Scorpion sealing creates a multi-point pest barrier.
It begins with a silicone sealant (similar to caulking) near the foundation to fill cracks and gaps on the exterior walls of your home. Next, the weather stripping of all doors is inspected and reinforced to ensure a tight seal exists when doors are shut. This includes the garage door, which is one of the most common entry points for scorpions. Vents present a unique problem they because they’re necessary for moving heat and air between the inside and outside of your home. Unfortunately, they also provide a direct path for scorpions to enter.
Since the vents cannot be closed completely, installing a fine mesh screen allows air flow while still blocking scorpions. If the frames of your window screens are bent, warped, or don’t fit perfectly, they will create a gap that’s more than big enough for scorpions to crawl through. Remember, a scorpion can flatten itself, and only needs 1/16th of an inch of space to squeeze through. If a credit card can slide through a crack, so can a scorpion. Older or damaged window screens, or screens with tears in the mesh should be repaired or replaced as a necessary aspect of scorpion sealing.
Home Interior Defense
For the scorpions that manage to get past your property and exterior defenses, you still have several options that serve as your “last line of defense.” You can start by reducing moisture and water sources inside you home. Whether it’s wet laundry, dropped ice cubes, or a plumbing leak, scorpions are attracted to it. They’re hunting for water, and the last thing you want to do is maintain their supply. Remove the water and you remove an incentive for scorpions to be there.
More than a few homeowners have been caught off guard by the sudden emergence of scorpions in the bathroom, and the critters often get there through the drains of a bathtub, shower, or sink. It’s a good idea to run the water for 30 seconds before showering or washing brushing your teeth, so as to minimize the chances of any surprise guests showing up. Closing drain covers between uses provides an extra barrier of home protection.
Piles of clothes on the floor provide quick shelter for a scurrying scorpion. Remove the pile of clothes and scorpions will be left out in the open – where you can see them and deal with them. Shoes also offer dark, safe shelter for things that crawl. It’s a good general rule to give your shoes and boots a shake and a firm tap on the floor before putting your foot inside.
A few strategically placed glue traps will capture scorpions and other pests at the floor level inside your home. These disposable cardboard boxes are roughly the size of a TV remote and are lined with a super-sticky adhesive that literally stops bugs in their tracks. Every month you simply toss the trap in the garbage and replace it with a new one. They’re inexpensive, and can fit underneath couches, beds, and inside of cabinets.
Because scorpions are nocturnal creatures that prefer warm weather, the likeliest time to encounter one is on a summer night. Unfortunately, this is also the time when people are most likely to walk through their homes barefoot. Stepping barefoot on a scorpion can feel like stepping on a piece of broken glass. The initial sting is a sharp pain, followed by a lingering, throbbing pain that lasts for several hours. Suffice it to say that it’s a pain worth avoiding, it at all possible. Slippers, slides, or flip-flops are a great way to protect your feet in the house. Just be sure to check your footwear for – you guessed it – scorpions.
Getting Started w/ Scorpion Defense
While scorpions will always be a challenge in Arizona, you can still maintain a household that’s nearly free of pests. It starts by contacting a professional pest control service to develop a custom scorpion strategy for your home. With a little help from the pros, you and your family can sleep soundly, knowing your home is virtually pest-free.