Scorpions – What YOU can do to keep your family safe


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It’s summer and They. Are. Back.

Scorpions. Just the word sends shivers down my spine.  A prehistoric monster is coming for my family.

Having lived here for 9 years with kids I have learned how to defend our family from this household pest– or as I see it — the monster invasion.

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1. Invest in a Flashlight-type Blacklight. I suggest you purchase 2 or 3 at your corner Walgreens or CVS. Scorpions glow green at night under a blacklight. This is their Achilles heel and your best defense. As soon as temps warm, my husband and I go on attack. About once every other week, on a dark, no moon night, we strap on tennis shoes and long pants and head out in the yard around the house with our blacklights and hammer. We patrol the vicinity and kill all the glowing green scorpions we find. I shine the light and he is in charge of the hammer (needle nose pliers work well too). Scorpions are habitual and they hang around a similar area. So, the ones you kill around the house are the ones who likely will end up in your home.  This is by far the best defense we have found. (Additional note — you may want to carry a flashlight too, as rattlesnakes unfortunately, Do Not glow!)

2) Blacklight the inside. Keep one of the mentioned backlights near the door you enter when you come inside (for example, near the garage entry door). When you return from a night out (if it’s dark out and your house has been dark for a bit) leave the kids in the car with your spouse and go in alone. Grab the backlight on entry and check your house out first while it is still dark and undisturbed. That’s when those sneaky little scorpions are usually scuttling about. After you have done a check, then let the rest of the family come in and turn on the lights.

3) Blacklight in the middle of night. Do you still have kids waking and calling for you in the middle of the night? I know it’s hard to remember, but keep another backlight next to your bed. When you are heading over to your kid’s room (remember to wear house flip-flops walking at night) use a backlight along the way. In our prior home in Fountain Hills, I once found THREE scorpions outside my baby’s door when she cried out at in the middle of the night. Without that light I could have been stung, or they would have entered my baby’s nursery!! I shudder at the possibilities.

4) Diatomaceous Earth. Scorpions have been around since before the dinosaurs. They adapt and, as a result, are sturdy little suckers. Almost no household chemical solution out there kills them — Raid, Formula 409, Nothing. BUT … We finally found something that does – Diatomeceous Earth. Not right away mind you, but eventually. Apparently, after exposure to the powder, it seeps into the exoskeleton and then dies. I never knew what this stuff was, but now it’s my new friend. If you don’t have pets that go outside, sprinkle the Diatomaceous Earth (make sure you use gloves and maybe a mask) along the entry ways of your house in the summer. If a scorpion crosses the path, it will be killed. Not recommended for homes with dogs, as it is not good for accidental animal consumption.

5) Seal your entry ways. This is something you can do while you are home with the kids. During the day, lay flat on the floor and look at the bottom of your entry doorways. If you see sunlight, then that’s an entry point for scorpions. If so, you need to raise the door jam on the bottom to make the seal tight. Sunlight around the sides of the doors can also be entry points. You may need to call a handyman to have those fixed. We also use sticky barrier tape along doorways to “stick” any bugs or scorpions that might enter.

7) Check the beds. I know it sounds like a horror movie, but I have found a scorpion under my child’s pillow. It Happens. So every night in summer I roll down the bed sheets and check the bottom of the bed and under the pillows. It’s an easy habit now, and makes me feel at ease.

8) Glass – ahh the wonder. Here’s some trivia for you. Scorpions can’t climb glass. So, if you can find wide-mouthed clear jars, place one under each leg of your baby’s crib or toddler bed, and you can sleep at peace. Also, keep the crib away from overhead vents and lights as scorpions have been known to drop down. (Awful? Right!)

9) No shoes left outside overnight. Shoes or wet towels are a very tempting home for a scorpion. Slam shoes facing down against a wall a few times before you put your foot into them (so a scorpion will fall out). This goes for shoes left outside, or closed toe shoes that haven’t been used for a while in the closet. We also never leave shoes on the ground at night – they are always put up on our mud room table, or up in the closet.

10) Invest in glue traps (only if you have no pets). Place glue traps where kids don’t walk around – under dressers, under cabinets, any hidden untraveled on area. Not a good idea for pets, as unfortunately, the pet toys eventually end up on the glue trap, or an unfortunate paw 🙂  When you go out of town, lay a bunch of glue traps down before you leave. Just remember to be the first and only one to enter to pick them all up when you arrive back home – otherwise it’s quite a mess to rid a toddler of a glue trap on their foot! (I have experienced that first hand!)

11) Get an exterminator. This is number 11 on my list, because quite frankly the exterminator has not been as effective as points 1 – 10 above. But it’s an added layer of support and defense against these pests. So if you can afford to call them out, have them seal and spray your home. Remember if you rid your house of bugs in general, you also rid your home of scorpions’ main food source.

12) Be informed. Learn what to do in case of a sting. Here are some guidelines to follow if it happens to your family: (I hope you never need this info!)
(sourced from the Banner Poison Control Website)

  • Call the Banner Poison Control Hotline: 1-800-222-1222. The representative will evaluate your symptoms immediately and direct you to the next steps. There are other poison control centers around town, but this is the one I keep handy.
  • Typical symptoms are pain and numbness, and these symptoms usually begin to occur within the first 2 to 3 hours.
    • In children severe symptoms include: (if any of the below occur call Poison Control Immediately!)
      • Uncontrollable crying
      • Rapid, jittery eye movements
      • Increased salivation (excessive drooling)
    • In Adults symptoms include:
      • Immediate local pain/burning sensation. No swelling or redness
      • Touching the site of the sting causes great pain
      • Numbness and tingling moving to parts of the body distant from the sting (infants and children may constantly rub their nose and face, indicating facial numbness and tingling)
      • Visual disturbances and/or uncoordinated eye movements
      • Difficulty swallowing and “swollen tongue” sensation with excessive drooling
      • Slurred speech.
      • Muscle twitching
      • Restlessness and irritability
      • Respiratory problems with possible respiratory arrest

foot imageHere’s a pic of a friend who was recently stung – her foot is all swollen in the picture. I am happy to report she is all better. I hope this article helps others out there to keep their families safe from scorpions.

We would love to hear if you have any other great tips on how to keep your kids safe!