How do you keep scorpions away?

| 05/07/2018

UPDATED: Recently I’ve found a couple of scorpions in my house. I was able to deal with them but have a few questions. How do they get into the house and how do you stop them from coming? Also, am I correct that the scorpions found here are not lethal?

Cayman National Bank

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Auntie’s answer: I have just about recovered from last week’s column on rats and now I have to contend with scorpions. But I am determined to soldier on.

I, too, have had my run-ins with scorpions and I am happy to report that the two little beasts I found on my front porch one day did not come out well from our encounter.

Anyway, to your questions. The numbers of scorpions found in Cayman are enough to prompt pest-control companies to offer their services to deal with them. However, and very unfortunately, none of the companies that I contacted for information could even bother to respond.

But, the Department of Environment (DoE) has a very helpful page on its website on all things scorpion (scroll down past all the spider stuff) along with several photos that may not be appropriate for anyone the least bit squeamish about creepy crawlies of all types.

In case you are unwilling to chance a look at the pictures, I will summarise the relevant facts the DoE provides.

Perhaps most importantly, the DoE says there have been no deaths recorded in Cayman from scorpion stings, but they can be very painful. In addition, and not surprising, they pose the greatest danger to the elderly, infirm and very young, with small children and babies the most susceptible to the effects of the scorpion venom. People can also have an adverse reaction to the stings.

The DoE provides a lot more information on the venom of the scorpion, along with the symptoms and treatment of stings, but I will leave readers interested in those specific details to check out the website.

Scorpions are nocturnal and prefer dry places. However, the DoE says, “They will often emerge en-masse in the event of heavy rains and flooding, in search of dry ground.” I, for one, am trying to keep the image of marauding scorpions out of my head.

Moving on, they are attracted to narrow spaces, and the DoE points out they therefore wind up in such things as wood piles, under plant pots, in the undersides of drawers, behind pictures and even inside piles of laundry and under bed sheets.

Not only that, the DoE explains that scorpions are “adept climbers and can easily scale a tin guttering to gain access to a house through a hole in the roof” and that the gaps beneath doors are also a “favoured means of entry into homes”.

If that weren’t bad enough, then comes this warning: “Once scorpions are inside your house, they can be difficult to locate and control, so prevention is better than cure.”

Here are some tips from the DoE to make scorpions feel unwelcome:

  • Ensure your house is in a good state of repair. Replace missing roof tiles and broken soffits, such as the underside of overhanging eaves
  • Ensure doors are well-fitting and use brush guards or rubber guards to plug gaps around the frames
  • Do not leave your doors open unnecessarily, especially during heavy rain

Now, as with my column on rats, I am happy to end my discussion on scorpions. Does anyone have a question on fluffy bunnies or rainbows?

Update: Following the publication of this article, I received this nugget of information from Fred Burton, who heads the DoE’s Terrestrial Unit: “A UV flashlight is a remarkably effective tool for checking for scorpion presence in a house or elsewhere – scorpions glow brightly in ultra-violet light. LED-based UV flashlights are easily available and not particularly expensive.”

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Category: Ask Auntie, Misc Questions

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I found one in a drawer and was told they don’t like the scent of cedar or lavender. I bought the essential oils and mixed it with water and sprayed certain areas. I also bought the lavender air fresheners that come in the plastic containers and put on under my kitchen sink, a/c closet and in that drawer where I found one, locked them up as I have a toddler so I had to go all out! I also put some drops of the essential oils outside.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rock them like a hurricane!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Got stung last week with one that was in my work shoe on my patio, she had thirty seven young ones with her. Killed them all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am in construction, and have been hit twice by local scorpions. As others indicated, it’s in the realm of a bee sting — initially painful with localised swelling, but no other effects.

    Scorpions are live-bearers and don’t lay eggs; they usually bear around six from what I’ve observed. What this means is that if you have one scorpion in your house, it doesn’t mean that you have hundreds.

    I’ve seen a lot of chemicals listed here. My preference is to use Cypermethrin, focusing on cracks and crevices. This will also root out all of your roaches. Cypermethrin is very safe to people and pets if used as described in the accompanying documentation. YMMV.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you!
      Something that worked for us was getting the house sprayed specifically for scorpions, inside and out.
      Additionally, do a walk through and fill in even the tiniest of cracks to the exterior, the attic, gaps under windows or exterior doors etc. This really helps keep both scorpions and their prey out, and starves the ones inside your home.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Treat them like the gold digging expats that they are.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In the scorpion-belt of the Southwest, tapping out your shoes and/or boots before putting them on, is routine operating procedure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Make sure your bed or your child’s bed is not directly under an ac vent – a 5 inch long scorpion dropped out of ours early one morning, I happened to be awake and the subsequent upheaval at the speed of light left us shaken for hours.
      A friend also reported one falling in similar fashion onto her baby’s crib!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    If you have scorpions in your house you will have nothing else! I don’t mind them at all. They only sting you if you step on them or provoke them anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d rather not mess around with the 4-5-6” ones we found in our house! They probably packed a heck of a wallop!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Pee on your foot

  9. Anonymous says:

    The only way to be sure is to douse the house with diesel and set it on fire.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I call my scorpions rude names and they usually leave.

    • Anonymous says:

      My scorpions have mouths like f**ng sailors. I can’t find a name rude enough to bother them.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What would you rather have running around your yard? Scorpions or cockroaches? Similarly, snakes or rats? Sometimes by controlling the predators you end up with a plague of their prey.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Raid does them in if you don’t wish to stamp on them or swat them…very effective. I also spray it outside along the door and window frames as some kind of deterrent.

    • Anonymous says:

      Chemical pesticides containing cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, permethrin and tralomethrin are a few of the commercially available products that can kill scorpions…applying the insecticide around windows, doors and other points of entry is recommended. ALT has a good selection including Equine Barn-grade strength insecticide that may be longer lasting than typical household convenience products.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent! Which Raid .. the red one or the blue? Thanks,

  13. Anonymous says:

    Chickens are tge best cure they eat and eat and eat lots of these scorpions. Can you remember when we were plaque with lots of different insects such as…
    Whoops there it is Best dress chicken running around helping the environment.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I got bitten by a scorpion a few months back. Initial pinch but nothing more serious than that. Still have no idea where they came from, the place is sprayed religiously every three months. Took a while to get rid of them but thankfully not seen one for a while.

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps the sting increases with the size of the scorpion? And it might have more of an effect if you have other allergies to begin with?