Steve Tvedten's "The Bug Stops Here"
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Although many people who live outside the arid southwest United States may never see a live scorpion, its shape is well known, and they can be found as far north as British Columbia. The scorpion's body form is characteristic, cephalothorax (fused head and thorax) elongate and dorsally shield-like, with an abdomen distinctly segmented with the last 5 segments tail-like ending in a stinger usually curved upward. The most common scorpion is the small, striped scorpion, Centruroides vittatus (Say) family Buthidae.

This small arachnid is only about 1½ inch long, tan, with two broad dark stripes running lengthwise down the body. It is distributed across the southern states and can be commonly found under rocks on south hill slopes in Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri. Non-fatal, poisonous species occur in Florida and in the semi-arid Southwest.

Two species are known to cause fatalities when they sting: Centruroides gertschi (Stahnke) and C. sculpturatus (Ewing) commonly called the Deadly Sculptured Scorpion or Bark Scorpion. These scorpions are from the family Buthidae are found in southern Arizona and neighboring states of California, New Mexico, and Texas. Actually C. gertschi is only a color variation of C. sculpturatus. There are about 40 species of scorpions in the U. S. - all of which can sting! Scorpions are most common in rural areas and new subdivisions.

Scorpions are nocturnal. They hide under boards, rocks, rubbish and litter during the day. Scorpions are nocturnal feeders, so they forage at night, detecting slight air movements and/or minute vibrations, seeking insects, and sometimes, small mice. They can normally withstand starvation for 4 - 5 months. Scorpions blindly grab their prey with front, crab-like claws and quickly and repeatedly sting, whipping the stinger over their back. Scorpions can not see ultraviolet light, but ultraviolet light makes scorpions fluoresce - so, go out at night with a black light and carefully hunt this pest.

Despite the scorpion's usual occurrence in dry climates, scorpions need access to water, or some moisture. Because they do need to drink water, their nocturnal feeding habits and tendencies to inhabit shady crevices and areas reduce the evaporation or loss of their body fluids. The crevices they hide in may be extended down to the moist areas of the soil.

Scorpions also find daytime hiding places in crawl spaces, attics and closets. They enter occupied rooms, especially kitchens looking for water. Scorpions avoid temperatures over 100o F. and when the attic gets too hot they move downward into the laundry, bathrooms and/or kitchen where water is available. So, make some water traps.

Inspection - Thoroughly soak an area near the foundation with water and diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint (1 - 2 oz. per gallon of water). Then cover with a piece of OSB board, plywood, paneling or heavy cardboard with a rock on top - check this "shelter" for several days for scorpions hiding under there and remove them or make a trap of diluted enzyme cleaner or soapy water in a shallow tray under the cover. Conduct a nighttime flashlight (or better still a black light they glow a fluorescent green color) inspection. Place hands carefully when searching in scorpion habitats. Wear high boots, heavy gloves and long sleeved shirts and then:

Habitat Alteration

Exclusion and Controls

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPORTANCE - Caution: Every scorpion sting should be considered dangerous. Always consult a medical professional. Children, chemically-sensitive people, people with heart problems and/or elderly people are especially susceptible to the scorpion's poison. Call a doctor or emergency room immediately and cover with ice or immerse the bitten area in ice cold water. Scorpions sting when touched, rolled over on when sleeping, stepped on, or otherwise provoked.

Remember that your initial inspection must be done very thoroughly. Some scorpions can live for 6 months without food or water and can hide for months after eating their fill. Carefully look all over - very thoroughly. Scorpions usually breed outside or under the building, possibly in the attic, but in most cases will be found in the crawl space, under logs, timbers, rocks, debris, or similar material. Thoroughly clean and caulk the entire building area so there will be no hiding places left for the scorpions. Thoroughly inspect at least an area for ten feet around the outside of the building and remove all debris, boards, rocks, firewood, etc. If you prepare boric acid or sodium borate water baits and they evaporate - simply add more water to the container - the boron products will still be there waiting to go back into the solution. Do not add any more boron to the bait container unless you first wash it. If you use Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint as a spray, use it at a rate of 1 - 2 oz. per quart. Note: Chickens love to search out and destroy scorpions.

Inside the building, remember scorpions can and do hide anywhere, so carefully look everywhere in bathtub traps, in seldom worn shoes and boots, in areas under appliances, under sinks, in closets, and in similar dark or damp hiding places. All of these areas can be vacuumed and/or spot treated with lime, talcum powder or medicated body powder or Comet®, boric acid, silica gels and/or diatomaceous earth for effective control. Routinely clean with (1 - 2 oz. per gallon of water) Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint and/or borax.

Be sure to correct all leaks, routinely and thoroughly vacuum and clean the premises, use dehumidifiers apply silica gels, boric acid, Comet®, lime, talcum powder or medicated body powder lightly in all cracks and crevices, then caulk with silicone all openings. If you must use poison, follow the labeled product directions exactly and vacate the building for at least several days and thoroughly air out before re-entry.

About 300 B.C., Theophrastus, in book 9 of his Enquiry to Plants, noted that wolfsbane, or scorpion plant (Aconitum anthora) kills scorpions if it is shredded over them. Pliny in book 20 of his Natural History, written in the first century A.D. advised that a mallow leaf (Malva) "placed on a scorpion paralyzes it."

Final Note: Use a black light inside and out. Chickens love to eat them let - let 3 to 4 chickens clean the exterior area for you for real innard-grated pest management. Diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint and/or borax or, as a last resort, food-grade DE will kill scorpions when directly contacted. Remember, if you live in an infested area, put bed legs in wide mouth jars as scorpions can not climb on clean glass. Beds should not touch walls. Wrap bed legs with duct tape (sticky-side up) and place duct tape (sticky-side up) around walls and where you see scorpions. Do not walk without shoes or at least sandals. Look underneath all objects you pick up and take out: clothes, bedding, footwear before getting into them. Turn on lights when getting out of bed and watch where you step and touch. Routinely clean, mop, and/or spray with diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint and/or borax.

If you still are having problems with scorpions, &read The Best Control or the Best Control II on CD-ROM.


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