Scorpions can sting, but few are dangerous

We have seen several scorpions in our house recently. Are they common around here, and are they dangerous? How do we keep them out of our house? – Augusta


A: There are about 1,500 species of scorpions in the world and several of them are dangerous. In the United States, though, only one species is dangerous, the bark scorpion. It is found in Arizona and part of New Mexico.

The species found in Georgia is not dangerous but can sting, and the sting can be painful. If a child is stung, I would consider it a major medical emergency.

Scorpions feed on small insects, spiders and other invertebrates and even on small lizards. They love termites, and if they get under a board that is being eaten by termites, they are in heaven. They can go six months without feeding, so you can’t starve them out.

They hide under boards, rocks, rubbish and litter during the day. It is best to make sure you don’t have anything like this near your home.

In the house, they will hide in dark, secluded areas such as closets, crawl spaces and attics if they don’t get too hot. They also like hollow block walls. They need water, so they will go into laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchen areas.

To keep them out of your house, make sure your doors close tightly and all of your screens work properly. If you want to catch them, put a damp piece of heavy, coarse cloth in the yard in the evening. Scorpions will crawl under it at night and can easily be collected the next morning. If they get in the house, put some food-grade diatomaceous earth under appliances and in cabinets near water pipes. You can also use talcum powder, baking soda or Comet Cleanser.

The scorpion on my nose in the photo was found under a rock near our house. It never tried to sting me but it probably knew I had no plans to hurt it. It sat on my nose for 15 minutes after the picture was taken. I finally had to go in the house so I put the scorpion back under it’s rock.

Scorpions can sting in self-defense or to obtain a meal, but they won’t sting just for the heck of it. If they are squeezed or roughly handled they will sting. If they get into clothes laying on the floor, they will sting when you put the clothes on because of the pressure.