4 Things to Do If You Find a Scorpion in Your House


Yellow scorpion in the desert of Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA

Scorpions are common in dry, desert areas such as Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and parts of California. These eight-legged arthropods are closely related to spiders, ticks, and mites. If you find a scorpion in your house, your initial reaction may be to scream (understandable), run away, hop up on a chair, or throw something at the invader.

If you find a scorpion in your home, you should consult with a local pest control expert to identify the species. The most effective way to combat scorpions in the house is to seal cracks in your home, store your wood properly, and cleaning the yard of any potential hiding places.

When it comes down to it, most scorpions in the United States are on a similar level to if you found a bee or wasp in your house. That being said, bees and wasps aren’t exactly welcome guests either. If you find a scorpion in your house, there are a few steps you can take to expel them from your house and keep them from coming back in.

How Do Scorpions Get Inside?

If it seems like your house is buttoned up tight, and you don’t leave the windows open, it may seem like a mystery when you find a scorpion in your house. How in the world did it get in?

Some scorpions can flatten themselves down to 1/16th of an inch. Therefore, they can fit through small crevices in windows, doors, and siding in your home. For perspective, if you pulled out a ruler and looked at one inch, it’s only two small ticks in length.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that we occasionally find scorpions in our house. They can fit through small cracks, door jams, and between window gaps.

Some species of scorpions are excellent climbers, seeking shelter in tree bark. These scorpions can occasionally find themselves inside the home because they hitched a ride on clothing, shoes, grocery bags, or other materials brought into the house.

Why Do They Go Inside Houses?

Scorpions don’t typically want to stay inside your house. There’s not a good source of food or fresh water. In fact, many scorpions that get stuck inside attics or basements that go unnoticed will eventually perish due to starvation or lack of fresh water.

The most likely culprit to why a scorpion is in your house is cold, rain, drought, or extreme heat. They will seek shelter during these times, and if they can’t find it fast enough in nature, they’ll turn to a manmade structure such as your house.

If there is an extreme drought, scorpions may find their way into your home in search of water in the kitchen, bathrooms, or basements. Since droughts are usually accompanied by heat, they’ll also want somewhere cool to hang out, such as your basement.

So, they’ve either come into your home in search of food, or for shelter. But again, there really isn’t any good food in your home for a scorpion to eat.

Scorpions do not make nests, so you don’t need to worry about an infestation. They typically find rocks, fallen trees, logs, or tree bark to sleep the day away, and become active at night. They do not return to the same sleeping spot each night.

What Kind of Scorpion is Inside?

Most scorpions are easily identified by their characteristic pinchers in the front, and their well-known tail with stinger in the back.

Scorpions are primarily not aggressive toward humans. They are generally quite shy and try to avoid interactions with people.

However, as with any animal or insect, they may become aggressive if they feel threatened or cornered. Most scorpion attacks happen by accident, such as someone working in the yard and unknowingly disturbing a scorpion.

According to Mayo Clinic, there is only one scorpion species in the United States with venom potent enough to cause severe symptoms: The bark scorpion. Bark scorpions are most commonly found in the Southwest and hospitals in this area carry antivenom specifically to treat their venom.

Close up of a Striped Bark Scorpion in Desert
Close Up of a Bark Scorpion

If you’re concerned about a scorpion sting or would like to know more about the symptoms, then you should read this article from Healthline found here.

Lastly, if you aren’t sure about a scorpion in your home or aren’t trained/experienced in handling them, you should ALWAYS contact a pest control professional to come and examine the creature.

4 Things to Do If You Find A Scorpion in Your House

First things first, I really don’t like advising anyone to get even close to a scorpion because I don’t want to you to even sniff at the chance of getting stung.

If you’re finding a scorpion in your home, there is more than likely more than one nearby, since scorpions tend to live in groups.

So, with that being said, I highly, highly reccomend contacting a professional exterminator near you (you can use our exterminator locator found here) as a first and foremost priority.

The next four steps imply that you’re experienced in dealing with these creatures, and you’

  1. Don’t panic. Scorpions generally aren’t going to attack unless provoked. If you end up panicking, yelling, and throwing things, you’re likely to scare the scorpion away, potentially losing sight of it. Knowing a scorpion is in your house and not being able to see it is far worse.
  2. Keep a dustpan and broom within easy reach. This is especially so if you live in an area with frequent scorpion visits. The most common areas to find scorpions are in the attic, kitchen, basement, and in the bedroom. Try to keep the broom close to these areas.
  3. Sweep the scorpion into the dustpan or into some kind of deep container. Alternatively, place a small plastic garbage bin over the scorpion until an exterminator arrives on the scene. Make sure you’re wearing cut-proof to reduce the risk of being stung.

    If the scorpion is crawling up the wall, you can either sweep it into the container from the wall or sweep it onto the floor and then into the container. Scorpions have tough exoskeletons and should be able to survive the fall unless it is from very high up. If you’ve lost track of the scorpion, try using a black light to locate it. Their exoskeletons will glow brightly under UV light.
  4. Empty the dustpan or container outside. It will probably be agitated at this point, and the less you have in contact with the scorpion, the better.

These steps should also be followed for any scorpion you find that appears to be dead. Just because they’re not moving doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a goner.

It’s never a good idea to handle a scorpion, live or dead. Take care to sweep potential perished scorpions into a dustpan and place them outside, not in your trash can. If there is still life left in them, they may crawl out of your trash can and back into your home.

Again, call an exterminator here if you aren’t experienced or have any doubts.

There are some areas of the house that are more likely to have scorpions than others. Here are a few places to check carefully for scorpions:

  • Inside shoes
  • Inside slippers
  • Under damp cloths or towels
  • In bed linens
  • In sleeping bags
  • Damp swimming pool towels

Knowing this, you can do a sweep of your house and make sure you’re checking the critical areas for scorpions first. For instance, check your shoes and clothing before putting them on, keep kitchen towels hanging up to dry, and check your sleeping bag or bed before lying down.

How to Prevent Scorpions from Entering the House?

The best way to avoid scorpions and their notorious stingers are to prevent them from getting in the house in the first place.

Seal All Openings

Your home may seem like it’s sealed to everything from the outdoors, but if you’re finding scorpions, there’s a small crack or opening somewhere.

Remember, scorpions can flatten themselves down to fit into almost any opening. Like the old saying – give a scorpion 1/16th of an inch and they take a mile. Right? Here are a few tips to really seal your home against these eight-legged invaders:

  • Use caulking or mortar to seal any cracks or openings you have in your exterior walls. Scorpions are notorious for fitting in extremely small spaces. Check for cracks in your foundation as well, and seal them.
  • Inspect roof eaves and plumbing fixtures for any openings or spaces. If there are any, seal them properly.
  • Use weather stripping around loose doors to prevent scorpions from squeezing underneath or crawling up the side of doors and sneaking in.
  • Cover weep holes. These weep holes are found on brick homes to prevent moisture damage and mold. While this is great news for your house, it’s not so great for sealing your home against scorpions. Try covering this with a mesh material or wire to prevent scorpion intrusions.
  • Keep your window screens in good shape. Windows are an area of opportunity for scorpions, especially the ones that are able to climb. Make sure to keep your window screens in good shape and mend any holes as soon as you find them.

Yard Management

Scorpions are more likely to enter your home if they have places to live and eat near your house, such as in your yard. You can implement several strategies to keep scorpions away:

  • Don’t leave trash or building materials laying around your yard. This provides a day-time slumber spot for scorpions, keeping them close to your house.
  • Make sure your grass is mowed regularly. Scorpions are able to hide in tall grass, and are less likely to stick around areas where they can’t hide or sneak around.
  • Keep your trees and bushes pruned so that they aren’t touching or nearly touching your house. Climbing scorpions are able to use these plants as a freeway to your roof and subsequently your attic.
  • Store firewood away from the house and keep it off the ground. It’s not a good idea to keep firewood inside the house – it’s the perfect hiding spot for scorpions and mimics an area where they might find food.

General Prevention

In general, scorpions will flock to areas where they think food is, where they think they can hide, and where they think they can find fresh water. With that in mind, here are a few general prevention techniques to minimize your interaction with these mini-monsters:

  • Hang wet towels. Keep any wet towels from the kitchen, bathroom, or pool area hung up so they can dry quickly. Scorpions typically live in desert regions where water is scarce and temperatures are high. A cool, damp cloth will seem like a spa day to a scorpion.
  • Don’t leave boots, shoes, or clothing lying around in the yard. Scorpions may get inside them and be carried indoors by accident.
  • Use gloves while handling firewood. make sure to only bring in the wood you intend to place directly on the fire. Using gloves while working in the yard is a great way to prevent stings from accidentally disturbing a scorpion.
  • Use yellow lights outdoors. Outdoor lights will attract insects that will in turn attract scorpions who feed on them. Try using yellow lights for your outdoor illumination. It’s less attractive to insects, and may prevent scorpions from flocking to your yard.

Pesticides

Pesticides come in two broad categories: synthetic and natural. Synthetic pesticides are the kind you buy in stores, while natural pesticides are usually made at home.

Pesticides should be used as a last resort and only if a scorpion problem persists. Make sure to read the label carefully and follow directions exactly and wear the proper protective equipment as recommended by the product you’re using.

Harris Scorpion Killer, Liquid Spray with Odorless and Non-Staining Formula is a highly regarded, EPA registered formula that may work well for your specific needs. It comes in a gallon amount and has a sprayer attached, making for easy use.

Scorpions and The Environment

So, what exactly are scorpions good for anyways? They look like a spider, have pincers like a crab, and sting like a wasp. It’s a combination of three no-thank-you creatures all piled into one.

Scorpions are predators that prey on almost anything smaller than them, and even other scorpions. The best part is they feed on pest insects, spiders, and centipedes.

They are also thought to be involved in some population control of other scorpions which they will hunt to keep their own food sources available.

Wrapping it Up!

Outside of the Bark Scorpion, most species of scorpions are harmless to people. Regardless, you should always consult with a professional if you can’t identify a scorpion in your home, don’t have experience handeling them, or are just plain ol’ worried about their presence in your home.

If you find a scorpion in your home, the best way to get rid of it is by sweeping it into a container or cup and putting it outside. Consider wearing thick gloves while doing this to avoid accidental stings.

You can avoid scorpions in the house by implementing a few pest-management controls such as sealing any cracks or openings, keeping window screens in good condition, and keeping your lawn clean and orderly.

Avoid accidental interactions with scorpions by checking shoes, boots, and towels before using. Don’t give scorpions a reason to hang around – avoid stacking building materials and fire wood on the ground.

As one last note, it’s never a good idea to handle a scorpion or try to keep it as a pet. If you aren’t able to get a scorpion out of your house on your own, hire a professional.

References

Das, R., Yadav, R. N., Sihota, P., Uniyal, P., Kumar, N., & Bhushan, B. (2018). Biomechanical evaluation of wasp and honeybee stingers. Scientific reports, 8(1), 1-13.

Houseman, R. M. (n.d.). Scorpions. Retrieved from Extension University of Missouri: https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g7364

Hu, X. P. (2018, December 10). Scorpion Management in Residential Homes. Retrieved from Extension Alabama A&M & Auburn Universities: https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/home/scorpion-management-in-residential-homes/?cn-reloaded=1

Miller, D. W., Jones, A. D., Goldston, J. S., Rowe, M. P., & Rowe, A. H. (2016). Sex differences in defensive behavior and venom of the striped bark scorpion Centruroides vittatus (Scorpiones: Buthidae).

Nasti, C. (n.d.). Scorpions are Beneficial, Just not in the House. Texas, United States of America.

Natwick, E. (2011, December). Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets. Retrieved from University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74110.html

Scorpions. (n.d.). Retrieved from San Diego County Environmental Health and Quality: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/deh/pests/scorpions.html

Rowe, A. H., & Rowe, M. P. (2008). Physiological resistance of grasshopper mice (Onychomys spp.) to Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides exilicauda) venom. Toxicon, 52(5), 597-605.

Zhao, Z. L., Shu, T., & Feng, X. Q. (2016). Study of biomechanical, anatomical, and physiological properties of scorpion stingers for developing biomimetic materials. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 58, 1112-1121.

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