by: Dr. Mario Villarino
Hopkins County Extension Agent
As our weather gradually changes into winter, fall in east Texas has the tendency to bring hot weather spells followed by colder temperature ones. Flowering trees have the tendency to bring their flower after a period of cold weather and critter respond to the changes also. Scorpions are noticeable more apparent during those temperatures cycles inside the house. According to W. Brown, IPM specialist with Texas A&M Extension, scorpions are arachnids, close relatives of ticks, mites and spiders. They are easily recognized by their characteristic shape. Scorpions prefer dry habitats but occur throughout Texas. They can be a nuisance when they interact with humans because they will sting when disturbed. Scorpions are found in many types of habitats, including desert flats, sand dunes, desert and mesic mountains, grasslands, pine forests, deciduous forests, and chaparral. Species are most diverse in desert areas.
The striped bark scorpion can be found indoors or outdoors in a wide variety of habitats. It is often found under rocks or boards and in debris. Striped bark scorpions are active foragers that do not burrow and are distinctly associated with dead vegetation, fallen logs, and human dwellings. It is common for this scorpion to climb trees and walls, and they often are found in the attics of homes. During periods of hot weather, scorpions may move into living areas to escape the high temperatures in attics. Scorpions are difficult to control with insecticides alone. Therefore, the first control strategy is to modify the area surrounding a structure.
Remove all trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects from around the structure. Keep grass closely mowed near the structure. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the structure. Tree branches can give scorpions a path to the roof. Store garbage containers in a frame that keeps them above ground level. Never bring firewood inside the structure unless it is placed directly on the fire. Install weather-stripping around loose-fitting doors and windows. Plug weep holes in stone or brick veneer structures with steel wool, copper mesh, pieces of nylon scouring pad, or small squares of screen wire. (Steel wool will rust when wet, so it should be used only on dark-colored facades. Use sealant around roof eaves, pipes, and any other cracks into the structure. Keep window screens in good repair. Make sure they fit tightly in the window frame. Naturally derived pesticides for managing scorpions include active ingredients such as rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, thyme oil, peppermint oil, and pyrethrum. Naturally derived products generally degrade more quickly than synthetic pesticides so they may not provide a long residual control. Synthetic pesticides for scorpion control may contain active ingredients such as permethrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, deltamethrin, propoxur, carbaryl or bifenthrin.
Look for products containing these active ingredients or consult a pest control operator. Apply pesticides around the foundation of the house and up to 1 foot above ground level on the exterior walls. Also apply pesticides around doors, window eaves, and other potential points of entry. Indoor treatments should be directed at potential points of entry, corners, cracks, and crevices where scorpions hide. Follow directions on the package for dosage, mixing, and application methods.
Program update: Our multi-county pesticide applicator training is scheduled for November 7 starting at 9:00 am at the regional civic center in Sulphur Springs. The cost of the training is $25 with lunch included. Please call the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 to reserve a space.