Nature

Scorpions Choose Cooler Temperatures to Move Indoors

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Earlier this week, we reported on the rise of snake sightings in the Texas Hill Country. However, not only are the snakes on the move but other creepy crawlies are looking for a place to stay over winter, too. As the temperatures dip, scorpions look to a warm, safe place to live for the winter and the inside of your home may prove to be an attractive spot.

scorpioncloseup Photo: Flickr/Terry Presley

Scorpions have been skittering around the planet for about 400 million years. That means they’re of pretty hardy stock. As long as temperatures remain above 76 degrees at night, the scorpion will be active and out on the hunt. Heavy or prolonged rains will often wash them from outdoor hiding spaces driving them to seek drier shelter, like the inside of your house.

They also don’t care for extreme heat or cold. In the summertime, scorpions are hunkered down in dark damp places, napping during the hottest part of the day and coming out to hunt at night. In the fall, as temperatures begin to decrease, scorpions look for a warm, dry place to hang their hats for the winter. Oftentimes, they decide your home is the perfect vacation spot and many homeowners report an influx of scorpions during this time.

A Striped Bark Scorpion (Centruoides vittatus) feeds on a cricket.

A Striped Bark Scorpion (Centruoides vittatus) feeds on a cricket. Photo: Flickr/Dave Wilson

And it’s not just the hunt for a cozy spot to hunker down for the winter that draws scorpions out this time of year. They’re also busy stuffing themselves for the duration of their long winter’s nap. And guess what their favorite all time food is? Crickets. And what cheery, chirping insect is currently in the midst of cranking out romantic ballads at full volume in an effort to make the ladies swoon? Yep, crickets. It’s a hungry scorpion’s dream.

So what to do if scorpions decide to take up residence in your abode? Of course, you can always dial up your favorite exterminator. In fact, that’s one suggestion that the folks at WikiHow recommend. Not only will you get rid of the scorpions, you’ll likely get rid of any food sources, too.

19182585583_d0f4b3c8c3_k Photo: Flickr/Holly Occhipinti

If you are looking for more environmentally friendly ideas, WikiHow also recommends the following:

  • Get a chicken or a cat. Both will find scorpions tasty treats.
  • Seal any holes or spaces around your home where scorpions could slip in.
  • Fix leaky faucets and areas where moisture collects.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon around areas where scorpions may try to enter. It’s a natural repellant.

And here’s one WikiHow missed. Plant lavender around the perimeter of your home or dab cotton balls with lavender essential oil and place in windowsills and other areas scorpions may likely visit.

stinger Photo: Flickr/TùngBéo

Finally, what happens if you’re stung? Well, for most folks, it’s much like a wasp sting. The area may turn red and well, hurt. There could also be some bruising. The first 20 minutes of the sting will be the most painful and the pain and swelling should lessen over the next few days. Placing an ice pack on the site of the sting will help with swelling and may numb the pain. Taking Benadryl and an over the counter painkiller as directed may also reduce the pain and inflammation. Some people may experience a more severe allergic reaction in which case professional medical attention may be necessary. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.

It’s true that living with scorpions can be a pain, but following the simple tips above will reduce your risk of a run-in. And, really, they are a small price to pay for the rolling hills, rambling ranchland, spectacular sunsets, and mild weather that make living in the Texas Hill Country such a joy.