Whether you’ve just moved into your dream house or lived in the same place for years, seeing a scorpion can be a jarring experience – especially if you’re unsure how it got in. Luckily, knowing what’s attracting them can help you take action to defend yourself and your home against a scorpion invasion!
Most commonly, scorpions are attracted the following inside of or near your home:
- Insect activity
- Water and moisture
- Dark places
- Fruit and palm trees
The best way to keep them away is by removing all possible attractants in your home and yard.
Continue reading to learn more about the things that could attract scorpions to your home and what you can do to prevent it!
Scorpions Are Attracted To Insect Activity
Scorpions will often enter homes to find their favorite snacks—but it’s not cookies that bring them in.
They’re nocturnal, which means they’re active at night. Once the sun goes down, these little arachnids come out to find food. Although they prefer to search for meals outside, scorpions will come into your home in search of food, especially if you have an infestation of one of the insects listed below.
Precisely what a scorpion eats will depend on what species it is. However, some of their favorite snacks include:
- Other scorpions
Larger species might even attack and eat lizards, birds, mice, and frogs!
Like other arachnids, scorpions go after and eat insects. Some species will actively track down their prey, while others prefer to sit and wait for their meal to come to them.
If you look closely (which we don’t recommend doing in person), you can see tiny hairs covering the different areas of a scorpion’s body. Scientists believe they use these hairs to detect vibrations as they move along the ground.
Once they locate a meal, the scorpion will catch the insect in its large pincers before injecting it with venom. The venom is a neurotoxin that paralyzes the insect, making it impossible for the bug to escape.
Since venom can take a lot of energy to make, some larger scorpions will choose to save their venom and eliminate the insect with their pincers instead.
As cool as this is, it’s not something you want happening in your home. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent scorpions from entering your house in search of food.
What To Do
The last thing you want to see when heading to your kitchen for a midnight snack is a scorpion enjoying a midnight snack there too. Fortunately, the tips below can help you avoid this scenario.
- Research scorpion species in your area. Your first step should be to research which type of scorpion species you have in your area. The internet can be a great place to explore this, and asking neighbors can also be an excellent way to learn more about the local species.
- Find out what they like to eat. Once you know which type of scorpion you’ll most likely encounter, you can find out what local bugs they enjoy munching on.
- Control the population of popular insects. Once you know what scorpions like to eat, you can focus your efforts on keeping these critters away from your house. For example, if you know that scorpions in your area enjoy eating centipedes, you might look into ways to keep centipedes out of your home.
- Keep your house tidy. Keeping your home clean is the best way to avoid getting infested with bugs (such as cockroaches). You don’t have to be a neat freak—we know life is busy—but keeping floors swept and vacuumed will keep crumbs from attracting bugs. Additionally, be sure to put food away promptly and avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink for extended periods.
- Tidy up your basement and attic occasionally. The basement and attic are two areas of the house that often get ignored on cleaning day. However, sweeping, dusting, and removing built-up cobwebs periodically can help keep insects that scorpions call food out of those places.
- Use low lighting outside and keep light fixtures away from your home. Bright lights running during the evening hours will attract insects, which will attract scorpions. If you do have lights close to your home, these Amber Yellow LED Bug Light Bulbs are still bright enough to provide light but are nearly invisible to bugs and will not draw insects into your home.
- Reduce the moisture in your home. We will touch on this more in a moment, but it should also be briefly mentioned here. Scorpions love termites, and termites love moist wood. Keep moisture levels low by fixing leaks and repairing pipes in your home.
Scorpions Are Attracted To Water
Like most species, scorpions need water more than they need food.
Scorpions need both food and water to survive. However, according to Russell Wright, Professor Emeritus of Entomology at Oklahoma State University, some species of scorpion can live up to two years without food. But they cannot survive without a steady supply of water.
Scorpions can live in various habitats, but they’re most often found in southwestern states such as California, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. These states typically don’t see a lot of rainfall during the year, and natural water can be hard to find.
Because of this, scorpions will frequently wander into homes looking for something to drink.
They usually enter homes through water pipes and drains after crawling into these areas to find a drink. This is one of the reasons why they’re most commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements.
Additionally, these rooms are ordinarily home to a variety of other insects. For example, basements often house spiders, and kitchens are typically home to cockroaches.
Oh, and by the way, scorpions can survive while submerged in water for a couple of days! That means they can climb through your plumbing system even when it’s full of water (although it’s rare). It also means that flushing a live scorpion is not a great idea.
What To Do
The tips below can help you keep thirsty scorpions away from your home and out of the damper rooms of your house.
- Inspect the exterior of your home. Look for areas where pipes enter or exit. Drainage pipes and faucets make great spots for thirsty scorpions to find water (and access to your house). Use covers like this Water Faucet Sock from MOMIKA to cover spigots where hoses are not attached.
- Block entrances into your home. If you believe scorpions are gaining entry through your home’s pipes, cover drains with mesh fittings like this LEKEYE Shower Drain Catcher. Avoid using covers with slits instead of small holes since scorpions can fit through tiny crevices.
- Pour bleach into your drains. Pouring a small amount of bleach into the drains around your home once a week can help keep scorpions from crawling up through the plumbing. Make sure to follow the instructions when handling bleach and don’t mix it with other cleaning supplies.
- Avoid leaving damp laundry or towels around your home. If you have a pool, make sure to hang damp towels and clothing away from your home in a place where the items will dry quickly. Avoid leaving piles of wet towels or clothes in laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
- Handle laundry cautiously. Keeping your clothes in a hamper away from the washing machines can help you avoid being stung by a scorpion who has found refuge near a water source. There might not be scorpions in there, but being cautious could help you avoid getting stung.
- Fix leaks or cracks in pipes. Scorpions are small, and their flat bodies allow them to shimmy into small cracks. Check your plumping periodically, fixing any cracks (that might cause water and moisture to pool) and crevices (into which scorpions might crawl).
- Declutter high-risk areas. Keeping high-risk areas organized will allow you to spot a leak while also eliminating any potential hiding spots. Using plastic tubs and totes is a good idea because scorpions will have a hard time crawling into these tightly sealed containers.
- Eliminate standing water outside. Keeping your lawn and garden free of standing water can also help reduce the number of scorpions who come near your home.
Essentially, keeping your house as dry as possible while creating barriers in places where scorpions will likely come in is the best way to prevent them from sneaking into your home.
Scorpions Like The Dark
Scorpions like the dark. So, it’s no surprise that dark places around your home and yard will attract nearby scorpions.
As nocturnal creatures, scorpions spend their nights slinking around under the cover of darkness and looking for food. Then, when the sun comes up, scorpions away to find a dark place to relax until it goes down again.
Even though they often live in hot climates, scorpions prefer cool, dark places. This is likely due to temperature regulation and moisture retention.
You might already know that scorpions fluoresce when exposed to UVA light (commonly called black light), but did you know that some species also glow in the moonlight?
According to the Journal of Arachnology, some scientists believe this is how scorpions can tell when it’s too bright to come out, and they’ll even avoid coming out in bright moonlight.
You might find scorpions hiding in several areas, but the most common places include:
- Underground burrows
- Between rocks
- Under the bark of trees
- In mulch
- In leaf litter
- In basements
- In and under debris
- Inside electrical boxes
- In piles of wood
- In firewood boxes
- Inside shoes
- In piles of laundry
- In potted plants
- Under cabinets
- Behind curtains
- Between shower curtains
- Any cool, damp place that provides protection
What To Do
Although it may be impossible to remove every dark area, there are ways to prevent scorpions from calling these places home during the day.
- Keep bushes and plants away from the exterior of your home. If you live in an area where scorpions are common, it’s best not to plant anything close to the walls of your home. Not only will the bushes create shady places for the scorpions to live, but they allow the critters shaded access to the walls of your house.
- Pick up lawn clutter. Debris and clutter protect from predators and nice cool places for scorpions to hide during the day. Even organized clutter could play home to several scorpions. For example, a stack of tires will collect rainwater for scorpions to drink and provide them a nice shady spot to sleep.
- Remove rock walls or other crevices from your lawn. Although rock walls can make an excellent addition to a flower garden, they are precisely the type of place a scorpion wants to call home. The best thing to do is to eradicate these areas and find alternative decorations for your garden.
- Protect firewood the best you can. One of the most common ways that scorpions come into the home is with firewood. It can be hard to keep stacks of wood completely protected from the elements, but a covered rack like this Firewood Log Rack can help keep scorpions out of your firewood.
- Keep things in plastic bins. The other common way scorpions find themselves in your home is through storage. People often store stuff in their garage or shed, and scorpions hitch a ride into the house when these storage containers are carried into the home. You can prevent this by keeping your things in airtight bins like this Weather Tight Storage Box from IRIS USA.
- Spray the dark areas of your lawn. Spraying your lawn is a good way to keep scorpions from discovering the dark areas that you cannot control or remove. You can do this yourself, but it’s recommended to contact a professional in your area. Pest companies will know which type of scorpions you’re likely to see and the best way to remove them from your yard.
Scorpions Are Attracted to Trees (Indirectly)
While dealing with scorpion infestations, several people have noticed that citrus and palm trees attract scorpions more than the other trees on their property. But is there any truth to this?
Citrus and other fruit-bearing trees might attract scorpions. However, it’s not the fruit itself that’s attracting them. Despite what some sources suggest, scorpions do not eat fruit.
Instead, scorpions are lured in by the insects that the ripe and rotting fruit attracts. Additionally, fruit trees tend to be watered more regularly than other trees, which can entice a thirsty scorpion.
In addition to providing food and water, both citrus and palm trees provide shade and foliage that make a great place for scorpions to hide during the day. Palm trees also have loose bark, and those little crevices are perfect for a scorpion to shimmy up into to avoid the harsh sun.
What To Do
The below advice can help you reduce the chance of attracting scorpions to your yard if you have fruit and palm trees.
- Harvest fruit as soon as it’s ripe. Damaged and overripe fruit can attract insects that scorpions like to feast on. Removing fruit as soon as it’s ripe will reduce the amount of insect activity around your fruit trees.
- Clean rotting fruit off the ground. Allowing fallen fruit to rot on the ground beneath the tree will call insects and draw in hungry scorpions.
- Rake up fallen foliage. Keep critters from moving in by raking up tree foliage. This is especially true with palm trees because their leaves are so large. Make sure to wear gloves that are sting resistant, such as these Legacy Garden Protective Gloves, and footwear that protects your feet and ankles.
What Are Scorpions and What States Are They Found In?
People often mistake scorpions for insects (understandably), but they’re a type of arachnid.
In fact, according to Science, scorpion fossils are the oldest known arachnid fossils to have been discovered. And, there’s evidence that they lived in the water! Because arachnids weren’t already scary enough, right?
Today, they live on land, and though most scorpions in the United States live in desert climates, they can live in various habitats.
Scorpions live in several areas, but you’ll most likely find them in:
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
How Are Scorpions Getting into My Home?
Anyone whose home has been infested by scorpions knows how frustrating the experience can be. But understanding how the critters are getting in can help you defend yourself against an invasion.
One of the most frustrating things about scorpions is how easily they can fit into even the smallest cracks or crevices.
Because of their slender, flat bodies, scorpions can fit into spaces as wide as a credit card! This makes it incredibly easy for them to find a way into your home. Going around your home and sealing any gaps or crevices can help keep scorpions away.
Pay close attention to areas around pipes and wires, around windows and doors, and along the walls of your home.
Another common way for scorpions to find their way inside your home is by being transported inside. Scorpions will often come in with boxes that were in storage or on firewood.
Make sure to check anything that you bring into your home from the outdoors or outdoor storage areas.
How To Know If You Have Scorpions In Your Home
A scorpion sighting is one of the most common signs that a house has scorpions. But what if you’re looking for a place that you want to buy? How can you tell if a home’s infested with scorpions?
Unfortunately, a scorpion infestation is not as apparent as a rodent infestation. For example, you probably won’t see scorpion poop, and they don’t make nests.
However, there are some signs that you can look for when trying to determine if scorpions are living nearby.
- A poorly maintained yard. A poorly maintained yard will offer several hiding spots for scorpions trying to find shelter from the sun. Once they move in, they are hard to remove, so prevention should always be the number one priority.
- Water near the property. Bodies of water near the property could signify that scorpions may be nearby. Washes, riverbeds, and golf courses on or near the property may signal scorpion activity.
- Desert surrounding the property. If the house or property is backed up to, or surrounded by, any desert landscape, there’s a greater possibility that you’ll have scorpions as neighbors.
- Large populations of insects. Look for signs of other insect infestations, such as cockroaches and spiders. Scorpions eat insects and will come into a home if food is abundant.
- Extreme moisture in the home. Look for signs of moisture in the house. Since scorpions like to find cool, moist places to hide during the day, they could be attracted to these high moisture areas.
- Rock walls or garden fixtures. People take great pride in their lawns, but many lawn features can offer the perfect daytime environment for a scorpion. While this in itself is not a sure sign of scorpion activity, it can give them a place to live once they’re in the area.
- Signs that the previous owner had a problem. Sometimes you can tell if a home has a scorpion problem by looking for signs that the previous owner was trying to exterminate scorpions. For example, are there newly sealed cracks or crevices? Have the pipes recently been repaired? Are there newly installed weep guard?
- Talk to the neighbors. Introduce yourself and ask around the neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a feel for the area before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home there!
If you find any of these signs, I highly encourage you to check out our guide on the 4 things to do if you find a scorpion in your home!
That’s A Wrap!
Scorpions are fascinating creatures that we’ve yet to fully understand. But while they’re interesting, nobody wants to share their home with something that could pose a danger to them or their family.
Luckily, scorpions rarely enter a home on purpose. They’re content to stay as far away from us as possible, and if you’re seeing them in your home, something is drawing them in.
By eliminating insect activity, reducing moisture in your home, checking anything you bring in from outside, and getting rid of any dark hiding spots around your yard, you should be able to keep scorpions out of your house and in their natural habitat!
Happy scorpion repellening!
Christopher Putnam. (2009, September 27). Not So Scary Scorpions . ASU – Ask A Biologist.
Gaffin, D. D., & Barker, T. N. (2014). Comparison of scorpion behavioral responses to UV under sunset and nighttime irradiances. The Journal of Arachnology, 42(1), 111-11
Whitfield, R. P. (1885). An American Silurian scorpion. Science, (130), 87-88.
Wright, R. (2012). Scorpions. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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