It’s so hot in Texas, the scorpions are going inside. No, it’s not the punchline of a joke. It’s really happening.
As temperatures soar this summer, entomologists in Texas are receiving reports that scorpions are retreating indoors. It seems that scorpions don’t like extreme temperatures in either direction, according to Molly Keck, an entomologist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County, Texas.
Scorpions are most often found under rocks and logs. To escape the oppressive heat of summer, they might seek refuge under landscaping materials or paving stones near a home or — if they find access — inside our homes. So it’s not exactly surprising that, as a result of the hotter temperatures, entomologists in Texas are receiving reports of scorpions indoors.
“We’ve had two or three wetter, more moderate summers in a row, but this year we’re getting more of the weather people tend to expect when they think of summer in southern and central parts of Texas,” says Keck.
Scorpions usually hide during the day and get active at night, explains Wizzie Brown, an AgriLife Extension Service entomologist in Travis County, Texas.
“This behavior helps them manage temperature and water balance, which are important functions for survival in dry habitats,” she says.
How To Keep Scorpions Away From Your Home
If you live in a area inhabited by scorpions, the entomologists at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recommend several ways to minimize the chance of the insects getting in your home:
First of all, keeping debris away from the house, including firewood. Do not bring firewood into the house until you’re ready to use it in a fire.
Prune any trees or shrubs that touch your house or hang over it, and be sure to keep the grass that’s closest to the house mowed.
Store garbage cans in a frame that keeps them off the ground.
Install weather-stripping around your doors and windows as necessary, and make sure your window screens fit tightly into the window frames.
Finally, fill weep holes (a small opening that allows water to drain from a structure) in stone, brick or stucco homes with steel wool, copper mesh or screen wire. Likewise, caulk any cracks or crevices in the exterior walls.
Should You Use Pesticides?
When it comes to keeping scorpions out of your house, the use of pesticides — either natural or synthetic — can give you added peace of mind.
Naturally derived pesticides for scorpion management include active ingredients such as rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, thyme oil, peppermint oil and pyrethrum. Just know that naturally derived products break down quicker than synthetic pesticides, so they may need to be reapplied more often. Planting lavender near your home may serve to repel scorpions, as well.
When choosing a synthetic pesticide for scorpion control, consult a pest control expert or look for products that contain active ingredients such as permethrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, deltamethrin, propoxur, carbaryl or bifenthrin, common chemicals used in anti-parasite compounds.
If scorpions are found near or in your home, entomologists recommend applying pesticides around the foundation of the house and up to one foot above ground level on the exterior walls. Pesticide should also be applied around doors, windows, eaves and any other possible entry points.
Indoors, treat any potential points of entry with your pesticide, including all cracks and crevices where scorpions can hide. Always be sure to follow the application directions on pesticide labels carefully.
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How To Treat A Scorpion Sting
According to the Mayo Clinic, a sting for a scorpion usually causes symptoms restricted to the area of the sting itself. While the pain of a scorpion sting may be intense, most adults do not need to be seen by a doctor. Children and the elderly, however, are more likely to feel the negative effects of a sting, and children should be seen by a doctor immediately.
Like bee or wasp stings, anyone stung by a scorpion should be watched carefully for signs of an allergic reaction, which can include hives and difficulty breathing.