Scorpion-Proof Your Home now!

Scorpion-Proof Your Home now, While the Critters are Seeking Places to bed Down for Winter

As Phoenix-area overnight low temperatures start to drop into the 50’s and below, scorpions start to hunker down for the winter.

You’re less likely to encounter the slumbering creatures during the fall and winter months unless you stumble across their hiding places.

“Our only medically significant species (Arizona bark scorpion) overwinter in protected locations in groups,” said Dawn Gouge, entomologist and integrated pest management specialist with the University of Arizona. “Occasionally people renovating homes or dismantling hollow block walls will find overwintering groups.”

That’s right: You’re less likely encounter scorpions during the winter, but if you do, there’s a good chance you’ll find a bunch of them.

The next few months are a good time to consider scorpion-proofing your house to lessen the chance of an encounter when the weather warms up and the scorpions become more active.

“Winter is an ideal time to pest-proof homes,” Gouge said.

These tips from the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension are good year round.

Seal your home

• Eliminate hiding places such as trash, logs, boards, stones and bricks.

• Keep grass closely mowed. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches, which can give scorpions a path to the roof.

• Store garbage containers in a frame that allows them to rest above ground level.

• Never stack firewood inside the home. Place logs directly on the fire.

• Install weather-stripping around loose-fitting doors and windows.

• Plug weep holes in brick veneer with steel wool, pieces of nylon scouring pad or small squares of screen wire.

• Caulk around roof eaves, pipes and any other cracks into the building.

• Keep window screens in good repair. Make sure they fit tightly in the window frame.

• Stucco cinder-block walls.

If you’re stung

If you do have an unfortunate encounter with a scorpion, don’t panic. If you’re an adult and are not allergic to the venom, a sting can be painful but you’re probably not in danger.

“For a healthy adult, they’ll just have an interesting tale to tell,” Gouge said. “If you’re talking about children, anyone under 70 pounds in weight, they could have serious neurological impairment. Kiddos should go straight to the emergency room.”

Very young children might lack the language skills to say they were stung. If your child is crying inconsolably and indicating pain in a specific area, investigate the possibility of a scorpion sting.

If you or someone in your care is stung, call Arizona Poison Control at 800-222-1222 and tell the specialist about your symptoms. Adverse reactions could include difficulty breathing, uncontrolled jerking, drooling and wild eye movements and may require medical care. Get to an emergency room if the person exhibits these symptoms.

Take a look around

ou can check your house and property for scorpions by using an ultraviolet black light once it gets dark. Scorpions glow under that light and are more easily seen. Use kitchen tongs to remove them.

Pesticides aren’t especially effective against scorpions, Gouge said.

“I always say that unless you are out directly spraying them, a lot of the pesticide applications just don’t have very much effect,” Gouge said. “(Scorpions are) really tough and they will avoid chemical barriers by walking around them or tiptoeing over them.”

If you find a scorpion in or near your home, keep an eye out for more. Check shoes before putting them on and shake out clothes, towels and bedding to make sure scorpions aren’t hiding inside.

“Just remain vigilant,” Gouge said. “We tend to decorate the interior of our homes with various shades of bark-scorpion brown, so they’re not always obvious inside. If you’re in an area where they are found regularly and you can’t seal up the home for some reason, then keep slippers on your feet even if you’re just off to the bathroom in the middle of the night.”

Information provided by

Equity Title Agency

Brenda LeCates

brendal@eta-az.com

602-769-1058

www.eta-az.com

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