Scorpions are common pests in certain parts of the world, especially in arid and tropical regions. While their stings are painful, they are not usually life-threatening. However, no one wants scorpions invading their home and putting family members at risk. If you live in an area where scorpions are prevalent, it’s important to understand what attracts them so you can take preventative measures. Read on to learn what attracts scorpions into homes and yards, the species you may encounter, and effective ways to deter these uninvited guests.
What Attracts Scorpions Into and Around Your Home
There are a number of factors that can draw scorpions to take up residence in or around your property. Here are some of the main things that attract scorpions to homes:
Scorpions are carnivorous and look for a ready supply of insects and invertebrates to eat. Roaches, crickets, spiders and other bugs that live in vegetation around your home or find their way indoors can lure scorpions. They may enter homes and search rooms at night seeking out prey. Keeping insect populations low and sealing cracks and crevices that allow access helps remove this allure.
Scorpions need moisture to survive and will seek it out. Leaky faucets, standing water and damp conditions attract thirsty scorpions. This makes areas like bathrooms, kitchens, basements and crawlspaces desirable. Fix plumbing leaks, eliminate standing water and use dehumidifiers to keep things dry.
Clutter and Debris
Messy areas filled with debris like stacks of wood, yard waste and excess belongings provide cover and habitat. Scorpions like dark, enclosed spaces to hide and feel protected. Keep yards and storage areas tidy. Clean out clutter inside like boxes under beds that create appealing spots for scorpions to nest.
Cracks and Crevices
Gaps around windows, doors, attic vents, pipe penetrations and more allow easy access into homes. Scorpions can squeeze through incredibly tiny openings. Finding and sealing all cracks shuts off pathways inside. Use caulk, expanding foam or weather stripping to close gaps.
Poorly Sealed Doors and Windows
Ill-fitting doors and windows also pave the way for scorpion entry. Tight seals and weather stripping should be used to close off potential access points. Make sure screens on windows and doors are intact without tears.
Areas Near Exterior Lights
Scorpions hunt at night and are attracted to the insects that gather near exterior lights. Yard lights, flood lights and porch lights that are close to your home can draw scorpions near entry points. Place outdoor lights away from the house or use yellow bug bulbs.
Bark Mulch and Wood Piles
Mulch and wood used for landscaping provide cover and habitat for scorpions. Moving these materials several feet away from foundations limits how close they can get. Also avoid stacking firewood against exterior walls where scorpions can hide.
Scorpions often nest at the tops of palm trees where it is protected. Pruning palms regularly can disrupt this attractive shelter. Avoid planting new palms near your home.
The tunnels and chambers dug by mice, rats and gophers make ideal nesting spots. Scorpions will take up residence in abandoned burrows. Filling in holes and controlling rodent populations removes this draw.
Rock and Debris Landscaping
Landscaping decor like rocks, gravel and concrete blocks seem inviting to scorpions who can hide underneath. Swap these materials for wood chips or vegetation that discourages scorpions. Also keep yard free of debris piles.
Overgrown vegetation, accumulations of discarded items and debris attract pests like scorpions. Neighboring homes and vacant properties that are unkempt can harbor scorpions that may find their way to your well-kept home.
Common Species of Scorpions That Invade Homes
There are hundreds of scorpion species around the world, but some are more likely than others to become unwelcome house guests. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Arizona Bark Scorpion
This scorpion is found in Arizona, New Mexico and parts of southern Utah and California. It is pale yellow with darker markings and 2-3 inches long. Its venom can cause severe pain and neurological symptoms. These scorpions take shelter in trees and landscaping but enter homes through gaps and under doors.
Striped Bark Scorpion
Also called the Centruroides scorpion, this species occurs across the southern U.S. into Mexico. It is identified by its yellowish color with two dark stripes along the top. They hide in tree bark and firewood piles near homes and squeeze through cracks to get indoors.
One of the largest scorpion species, these black scorpions grow over 8 inches long. They are popular pets that may escape or be released. Emperor scorpions are found in tropical regions in Africa but can survive in warm indoor habitats.
Flat Rock Scorpion
This scorpion is common in homes in California and Mexico. It is flat and crab-like in appearance and a reddish-brown color. They hide in rock walls, wood piles, crevices and under debris around properties.
Asian Forest Scorpion
In tropical regions of Asia, these black scorpions grow up to 4 inches long. They live in forests but lumber and debris may transport them into residential areas. They enter homes through gaps and under doors. Their sting can cause anaphylaxis.
How to Keep Scorpions Away from Your Home
Once you understand what types of conditions attract scorpions, you can take proactive steps to deter them from your yard and prevent access into your home. Here are effective tips to help keep scorpions away:
Seal Up Access Points
A thorough inspection inside and out will reveal potential entryways for scorpions. Use caulk and weatherstripping to seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors, pipes, wiring holes, etc. Repair holes in window screens. Install door sweeps and draft blockers under doors.
Install Exterior Lighting Away From Home
To avoid drawing scorpions to areas near doors and windows, place outdoor lighting in trees and posts at least several feet away from the house. Another option is to switch to yellow bug bulbs.
Manage Moisture Sources
Eliminate sources of moisture by fixing dripping faucets and pipes, avoiding standing water, and using dehumidifiers to keep indoor humidity under 50%. Remove decaying leaves, mulch and vegetation that hold moisture against foundations.
Remove Clutter and Debris
Keeping the yard tidy helps eliminate scorpion habitat. Move woodpiles, debris, and excess items away from the home’s perimeter. Clean gutters and trim vegetation back from roof edges and house. Dispose of trash frequently.
Sealing gravel, crushed stone or concrete along the foundation creates a 3-foot dry barrier that deters scorpions. Pest-resistant plants like lavender planted densely as a border also hinders travel near the home.
Trim back plants and bushes from touching exterior walls. Prune palm trees to remove protective habitat. Remove tree stumps. Clean up fallen fruit that attracts insects. Use hardscape for landscaping immediately adjoining home.
Minimize Possible Food Sources
Keep insect and spider populations low by using barrier sprays around base of home. Install door sweeps to prevent entry of crawling bugs. Seal food trash and wipe up spills to avoid attracting prey.
Check Firewood Before Bringing Inside
Inspect firewood carefully for scorpions before carrying indoors. When possible, store firewood elevated off the ground away from your home.
Install Weather Stripping
Install weather stripping beneath exterior doors and seal gaps around windows to block access. Ensure door sweeps create a good seal and repair damaged screens.
Use Pesticides Strategically
Apply diluted pesticide sprays along foundation walls, around entry points, and other areas scorpions frequent. Follow product directions carefully. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled in crawlspaces, attics and other enclosed areas deters travel.
Check Items Before Moving Inside
Scorpions may hide in potted plants, boxes, firewood, and other objects left near the home exterior. Inspect items carefully before taking them indoors. Shake out clothing, towels, and shoes left outside.
Keep Interiors Dry
Moisture attracts scorpions inside your home. Fix any plumbing leaks. Run dehumidifiers to keep humidity under 50%. Avoid excess watering of indoor plants. Quickly wipe up spills and dry wet areas.
Install Light Scorpion Traps
Black light traps lure scorpions at night with UV light. Place them along walls outside where scorpions are frequently seen. The traps capture them so they can be disposed of.
Call a Pest Control Professional
For severe infestations, professional pest control may be needed. Experienced companies are well-equipped to handle native scorpions with treatments, exclusion techniques, and scorpion-proofing to get rid of and prevent future problems.
How to Find and Remove Scorpions Already in the Home
Even with preventative measures, scorpions may still occasionally find their way inside. Here is what to do if these unwelcome pests make it into your house:
- Conduct thorough inspections at night in likely areas like bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, attic, garage and basement using flashlights. Scorpions glow neon green under UV black light flashlights.
- Look in spaces between furniture and appliances where scorpions like to hide. Check cabinets, closets, behind dressers and under beds. Search laundry and shoes left on floors before use.
- Wear thick gloves and carefully lift items like firewood, boxes and debris they could be hiding under.
- If you locate a scorpion, spray it directly with insecticide if possible. You can also kill them by trapping them beneath a transparent container to use as a barrier.
- Never try to kill a scorpion by crushing it with your shoe – their reflex action often causes them to sting as a defense. Use tongs or kitchen utensils to pick up dead ones.
- Safely dispose of the scorpion carcass outdoors in a sealed plastic bag. Thoroughly clean the area with soap and water to remove pheromones.
- Contact a professional exterminator for assistance if you find a significant infestation inside your home that requires extensive pest control. They have the proper tools and methods to eliminate scorpions.
While scorpions are equipped with formidable defenses in the form of venomous stings, they can successfully be kept out of homes with some knowledge and vigilance. Now that you understand what attracts them and their preferred habitats, you can modify your home environment to make it far less inviting. Preparation, prevention and immediate response when scorpions do enter provides protection for your family and peace of mind. With these tips, you can guard your home against unwanted scorpions lurking and take back control of your living spaces.