SAN ANTONIO – Humans aren’t the only life form looking for cooler places during the summer.
Scorpions in particular have become a concern as it heats up because the venomous arachnids do not appear to like very cold or hot temperatures.
Entomologist Molly Keck, with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, said the Bexar County office has received several calls recently about scorpions.
“We’ve had two or three wetter, more moderate summers in a row, but this year we’re getting more of the weather people tend to expect when they think of summer in southern and central parts of Texas,” Keck said.
Scorpions are nocturnal and can typically by found under rocks, stones, logs or landscaping materials.
During hot, dry weather, they may seek out water and a more hospitable environment, Keck said.
Texas has 18 species of scorpions with the most common species in the Central and South Texas area being the striped bark scorpion, according to Paul Shattenberg, with AgrifLife Today.
The scorpion has yellowish-tan with two dark stripes that run along the back and can grow up to 2½ inches long, said Wizzie Brown, with the AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County.
Striped bark scorpions can sting, but for most people, the sting usually only causes moderate reactions and the poison has little effect on a person’s nervous system, Brown said.
An ice pack is usually sufficient enough to reduce pain and swelling, but Brown cautions to keep an eye out after a person is stung.
“The severity of the sting is dependent upon the individual scorpion and the person’s reaction to the venom,” Brown said. “A person stung by a scorpion should be watched closely for several hours following the incident to ensure an allergic reaction does not manifest. If breathing becomes difficult or hives occur, seek immediate medical attention.”
Here are tips to keep safe from scorpion stings courtesy of AgriLife Today:
- When working outside, wear leather gloves to avoid being stung.
- Keep debris and firewood away from the house.
- Prune any trees or shrubs touching or hanging over the house.
- Keep grass near or touching the house closely mowed.
- Replace weather-stripping around doors and windows as necessary.
- Fill weep holes in stone, brick or stucco homes with steel wool, copper mesh or screen wire.
- Seal cracks, crevices and areas of pipe penetration in exterior walls with sealant.
- Keep window screens in good repair and make sure they fit tightly into the window frame.
- Treat the foundation of the home with a pesticide with ingredients such as permethrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, carbaryl or propoxur.
- If scorpions are found, the entomologists suggest applying pesticides around the foundation of the house and up to 1 foot above ground level on the exterior walls. They also suggest applying pesticides around doors, windows, eaves and other potential points of entry.
- Indoor treatments should be directed at potential points of entry as well as corners, cracks and crevices where scorpions can hide. Follow label directions for dosage, mixing and application methods.