The ATX Pest Podcast: Safeguarding Your Home from Scorpions in Austin, TX

Welcome to the ATX Pest Podcast, episode 4, scorpions. Everybody loves scorpions, right? I don’t think so. So today I’m going to talk a little bit about them, some little tidbits on them, and then we’re going to talk about how you can prevent them from being in your home and freaking your family out. So scorpions are pretty cool. Actually I think they’re cool. Looking anyways, I don’t want them inside my house either, but looking anyways, I don’t want inside my house either. But we used to get them pretty regularly, tell. My wife threatened to hit me over the head of the frying pan. She really probably wasn’t serious, but I had to take action and start putting to work all the things I would tell my customers to do at their home. So I take my own advice and, knock on wood, it worked. I have had two scorpions in the house in the last three years. We used to get a couple a month. It’s the nature where we live. We have nothing but rock bed out in the country a little bit around the you know, rock better on the home, which is an ideal habitat for them. I don’t recommend having a landscape of a nothing but rock around your house. We’re, you know since, have started trying to modify it a little bit, working on it a little bit right now, definitely not going to be adding more rock anytime soon. It’s a problem and it’s very clear that it’s one of the main reasons why we get them around. That it’s one of the main reasons why we get them around. Some homes get a lot of activity because my customers that have a lot of that. We’re getting a lot of scorpions. They have a lot of rock beds too, so it’s a major contributor to activity for scorpions. So landscape is important. We’ll talk about that a little bit. But the common striped scorpion, which is the type that we have around the central Texas area here in Austin, I think the most important thing that people want to know know about more than anything with them other than how to get rid of them um, is their sting. You know how harmful is their sting. Okay, so stings by a common stripe scorpion really just cause temporary you know, localized pain, itching, little tingling sensation in that area, as well as the localized, like you know, tenderness or swelling and then, after you know, can have a little black and blue mark and that’s really about the extent of it, okay, unless you have some type of rare allergic reaction, like some people do with fire, ant Fire, ants, okay. Or bee or wasp stings, and that’s what it’s going to feel like.

I’ve purposely allowed a scorpion to sting me just because I wanted to know what it felt like. So I took my shoes and socks off and I purposely stepped on one, because I’ve had customers that have stepped on them before and I guess I wanted to share their pain and be able to better describe and educate myself completely. So I made sure I was a victim as well. It feels like a loss thing. It doesn’t feel good, for sure, but I wasn’t allergic, so that’s a good thing and it’d be really rare to be. So don’t have much fear in that. If you’re having crazy symptoms, then of course, go seek some help. The reality of it is the worst symptom you’re probably going to get is the anxiety on it, over it, knowing that you just got stung by, you know, stung by something. Number one it hurt, but then you look down and you see it was a scorpion. Then the anxiety sets in, which is, you know, mind’s a powerful thing. So breathe, keep yourself calm, you’re not going to die, okay. And if you do feel that you’re having issues that seem extreme. Well then, seek some medical help and you’ll, you’re gonna, you’re gonna be just fine, okay. So don’t live in fear. There’s no reason to with scorpions, but at the same time, you don’t want them in your house, and I get that, and let’s talk about how we can prevent that.

One cool little tidbit though on scorpions I want to mention, and speaking on the biology of them, is that scorpions actually give birth to live, living young, which is really cool from the ventral gentle opening right, and then they go through a series, what we call so when they are birthed right, and they are whitish in color and they’re small, obviously, and that’s what we call their first instar, and they’re nymphs. The nymphal stage they’re nymphs, okay. Stage they’re their nips okay, they’re live nips. And those nips and the first instar will crawl up immediately, crop a leg of onto their mother’s back and they’ll remain there for until their first molt is complete, which is usually, they say, like one, two, three weeks later, and then they’ll descend after they completed that first molt, and molting is shedding of their exoskeleton, their skin, essentially, so they can continue the growth process. They’ll actually descend and then scatter. Have you ever seen that when you’ve seen a spider, and then you kick a spider or you go to touch a spider and all of a sudden you see the baby just scatter everywhere and people about have a heart attack. Well, that’s what they do they scatter about and then they go and start searching for food. Well, they’ll actually do altogether six malts on average, okay, before they reach maturity.

And the interesting thing is they can live and it usually takes several months for them to mature, reached maturity. They say it can actually take a couple years or so or more, but it really I think that has a lot to do with environment, temperature, weather and whatnot. Okay, um, but the interesting thing is too, is that when they get their color, or that creamish looking color that they are, when they’re an adult and they reach adulthood, fully grown like that, they’ll actually can live up to about three to four years. Um, which is quite, quite a bit of time. Um, I think three to four years, they said I was reading, I was doing skimming around, um, looking, you know, I think actually they can live up to six years. I think is what it said. I think on average it was three to four years and they can live up to six years or potentially a little bit longer. That’s what it was, um, which is a long time for scorpions, for any, for any pest, right, in this case it’s not an insect. So, you know, for folks I didn’t know, they’re considered classified as arachnids, like our spot, our friendly spiders that everyone loves. Also, we’ll talk a well, the podcast on certain spiders in the future. Actually, I think I already did one on wolf spiders recently, which was a good topic because there’s a lot of fear in that one too that I debunked, but so that’s a big thing. So, understanding a little bit about their biology, understanding a little bit about, you know, understanding that their stings are not necessarily harmful, not something to get overly excited about their habitats, that’d be the next pretty important thing to understand, to get this whole big picture on this and what we’re going to lead into, how we can control and prevent this. Okay, habitats Scorpions are nocturnal feeders.

Okay, they mostly feed on other insects, like you know earwigs and crickets and you know spiders, things of that nature, um, and they can actually be uhibalistic, eat each other, so that’s a little disturbing, kind of right, anyways. So what do you think you need to do to help control that? Well, probably have a pest service, you know have a regular schedule of maintenance done on your home. I recommend really it depends on two things, and this is a common question that I answer having a pest patrol company of my own with any new customer coming in, or reeducating a customer because they might be seeing a little bit of activity on a certain pest and um, but you know, and I get it, trust me, inflation’s horrible these days and we all want to try to get our best bang from the buck. For sure, quarterly pest control can hit the mark for a lot of people. Um, I find bi-monthly to be the best schedule and primarily because of life cycles of these pests that we’re dealing with, after 90 days of time, that’s a long period of time in between services, activity really builds up. So, with that said, frequency of service, more frequency, better results that your company can get for you kind of common sense, if you think about it, right? So it really depends on two things, though. Okay, three, three things really.

Number one what’s your pest tolerance? Everybody has a different threshold than the next person, okay, or similar, right? If you’re okay with seeing a couple bugs here and there, you know, maybe quarterly is fine for you, you know, if you don’t want to see that much activity, you know, maybe quarterly is fine for you, you know, if you don’t want to see that much activity, you know, I mean bi-monthly is better. If you’re completely freaked out and you don’t want to see anything ever, oh my God, you know, then you might want to do a monthly treatment. Some of our customers do that and a lot of that is also.


Number two is dictated by conducive conditions. You might be in a new sub right now. That building is going on, construction is going on around you, things are going to be stirred up until that construction ends and calms down, right. So your level, your threshold level, is going to be a much higher, um, level of your bug activities can be much higher during that construction period. Um, you know. So that’s something you know that usually find people for sure pick bi-monthly service. Or you have a green belt, or you have, like, a retention pond near you, or you got a creek near you, or you’re in the woods or what you know. There’s all those variables, um, and so that that’s a factor and what. What’s going to be effective.

If you have any of that going on, you need a bi-monthly service, okay, unless you’re not freaked out that much and you just want to get a little bit of relief and, um, you’re okay with seeing a few bugs here and there, then quarterly will probably hit the mark for you. Um, and then price, right, we all have our budgets, um, and that’s the other one to consider too. To consider too Obviously, you pay a little bit more money throughout the course of the year for a bi-monthly service versus a quarterly service. Because a bi-monthly we’re going to come to your house two more times a year, your company is going to come there two more times For a little bit of money, usually for my customers, our difference in pricing, usually most people usually go for a bi-monthly service just because the number one, the effectiveness of it, and then they like the fact that we’re and I like the fact that we’re gonna go out to house two more times a year. You know, six visits a year is a good number to stay on top of things, okay, so pest control is really about getting a good kill at the time of the service and as long as you’re doing that and you’re coming back timely, regularly, you’re going to maintain a certain level of control activity. And so in a bi-monthly, in my opinion, just that sweet spot. So a little bit about that. Enough of that controlling. Well, let me back up a little bit more about their habitats. Okay, so they’re gonna like we talked about rock beds, rock bed areas, mulch.


If you have firewood debris like that on your property, get it the heck off there. At least. If you have firewood, I understand, for your smoker or something like that, try to keep it as far away from the home as possible. They say 50 feet is recommended. I agree with that. But if you can move it further, invest in a wheelbarrow. You can wheel it over to your smoker if you need to, or keep your smoker that far away from the home if you have that ability. Not everybody has an acre property to do that. But try to stack your wood up and don’t stack it right up against the fence, because now you got to worry about termites and moisture and there’s other issues that that can cause. So it creates a lot of moisture underneath that firewood and a lot of harborage for for pests. So that’s something to be aware of. Um, leaf debris leaf debris is another one. You want to keep that squared away. Gutters that can cause other issues like mosquitoes and American cockroaches and acrobat ants and things of that nature. So that’s a big one.

Not necessarily as much for scorpions, but they can inhabit those as well. Be careful of that Water on the property. Make sure you have proper drainage. Moisture is a common reason, and here’s the thing to look at from this point of view is that some of these things that we talk about is, well, that doesn’t really necessarily apply to a scorpion or whatnot. Well, yeah, it does absolutely, because what do you think they’re preying on? They’re out looking for that cricket, that spider, that cockroach to eat, you know. So by preventing, by modifying your landscape and keeping your yard trimmed and clean and keeping the moisture off the property as much as you know physically possible is going to help aid, and all of that having a pest service, that’s all going to aid in that. So that’s pretty much all the tips.


As far as habitat is concerned, other than mulch, I didn’t want to touch on the mulch real quick. If you’re going to get new mulch, like you do, most people, like people do every spring, do it yourself or you hire a company make sure to remove the old mulch. You don’t want to put new mulch on top of old mulch. It’s going to create several layers of an extra harborage but also decay. It’s going to be attracting the bugs. It’s going to bring more scorpions. So you don’t want to have any more than about two inches of mulch. So that’s very important, not just for scorpions but obviously all the other insects that attract but little termites. They like that as well. So control you can do a few things. Okay. One of the most important things we already talked about is having a pest control service right, regularly doing treatments on at least a bimonthly basis, for scorpions, for sure.


But another major thing is to make sure your home is sealed up. It’s called exclusion sealing of the home, doorways especially. Those are the main entry points for pests in general. That’s what solved my issue at my home, more than anything other than me being not being lazy and starting to spray my house more often, because my wife was going to beat me over the head with a frying pan. She didn’t, luckily. I sealed up the doorways, weather stripping thresholds, um, and started doing service every 60 days, every bi-monthly, and haven’t had more than two scorpions in the house in the last three years now, I believe. Knock on wood, right. But we used to get a, a couple, at least a couple a month and that went on forever and tell I did something about it, took my own advice that I give everyone else all the time. Go figure, right. So that’s a major one.


That’s extremely important, and not just your doorways of your home, but the garage door as well is a huge funnel that needs to make sure you have a good seal there. My company we actually just started offering that service on garage doors actually May get into doing door seals. I just don’t know yet. So something that we’re flirting with. But garage doors, we’ve got a really nice rodent-proof seal that we’re installing now and it’s going pretty well. I actually need to do it at my own house because mine’s a little bit older. I’m going to end up replacing mine here very soon. Also, I have a detached garage so it’s not connected to my house. So not that you know I’m not as worried as some folks that have a garage door that obviously enters into their home. So that’s something to keep in mind.


Lighting Having yellow bug lights on the outside of the home, that’s better. It’s going to be less attracting to bugs. It’s going to attract the scorpions to the bugs that are being attracted to it. So, overall, you’re going to be more bug free with having the yellow lighting around the home. That’s a, it’s a help. And look, these are all things that you can do, because there’s just not one thing that you can do. Don’t go hire a pest control company and have a crappy yard or not do any of these things, or seal up your home at all and expect them to keep every bug out of your house. It’s not going to happen. You’re going to waste your time and money in their time. Okay. So if you’re serious about preventing pests from being in and around your home, then get serious with it, and that’s the point for me to do.


This is that I want to educate people, make them aware whether they hire a company and they can hold their company accountable, what the heck they should be doing and understand what it is you’re paying for, because that’s what the most frustrating thing with that I had with you know, a small amount of our customers that we have at times is what it is. People are busy and some people don’t care, and I understand. Sometimes people are like well, we’re just to help, you know, and they don’t like us. They fire us to go hire somebody else. Right, and that’s that’s usually a lot of people’s attitudes and is what it is. I don’t like those people much, but you know it is what it is part of doing business. Um, thank God we have a lot of great customers at our company, so we don’t have to deal with that hardly ever. Um, and we try, we, we try, and I think we put effort in, and that’s what I would say.


If you already have a pest control company or you go hire another company, you know, make sure they’re educating you. Try, you know, try to be involved. At least have a good understanding of what it is that you’re paying for, what you should be getting, what they’re doing on your property, because you’re going to think that they’re not doing a good job but you don’t have all the details, or vice versa. That’s why communication is the most important thing. It’s more important than killing the bugs. You draw a line in the sand, you understand what it is that’s expected, what you could. You know what you expect, what they’re going to do, and and understand about what you’re seeing or what you’re not. It’s just need to get on the same page with your company. Educate yourselves a little bit. Obviously, you’re not trying to educate yourself to go do this for a living or anything like that, but have at least a basic understanding of what it is that you’re supposed to be doing at your home, what you’re paying for. I think it’s vital and you’re gonna be a lot better off and happier if you do take a little bit of time and just make sure that the communication is there. It is what it is right. It’s not you just.


We’re not even talking about pest control anymore, we’re talking about the entire service industry sucks at communication. That’s exactly what the it’s so frustrating, because that’s that’s the business. That that’s the industry that we’re all in. You know, whether you’re a plumber, electrician, garage door person, um, lawn person, pest person, whatever it’s person, a lawn person, a pest person, whatever You’re in the service industry, that’s the communication industry. You’re supposed to be good at communicating and 90% of them are horrible at it. I just had a horrible experience getting my garage door fixed. I don’t even go into it, but they didn’t show up. Blah, blah, blah. Right, no, call, this call. It was ridiculous. So, and then I had a very positive experience recently with the air conditioning company. Unfortunately, I had to get a whole brand new system. That was fun. So there’s good companies out there.


Do your research. Be aware of what services that they’re providing you, what the expectations are. Draw a line in the sand with them. You need to know that. It’s very important. If you do that, you’re going to be happy. If you’re going to try to do it on your own, you know, make sure that you’re doing it safely. If you can’t read a pesticide label, you have no business doing anything on your own. If you just unequivocally don’t understand you have to understand what you’re doing You’re going to end up hurting yourself or hurting the environment or beneficial insects or your pets. Be very careful.

Okay, I’m, as always, here for advice. I don’t mind taking a quick phone call. I do that free of charge. If you want to call my company and talk to me, or if you want a free evaluation on your property, we’ll come out free of charge. We do that for free, okay, now, if you’re just looking for advice because you want to do something on your own, I’m not going to come up to your property on time to do all that, but I will give you two minutes of my time. You can call me here in the office and I’m glad to answer some questions for you. I do it. I do it quite often, so I hope I rambled on a lot, of course, but Just trying to put some good information out there make you, make you aware what what it is you should be doing and and and understand a little bit better what you may not be doing, and so I hope it helps. Give me a call if you need anything 512-588-2998. And I hope that you have a bug-free day Until next time.


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