High heat, crickets have scorpions sneaking inside Central Texas homes


When it becomes extremely hot during the summer, scorpions look to homes and yards to cool off.

But the news isn’t all bad. Avoiding a scorpion tenant is possible.

With temperatures hovering in the 100-degree range this week, many Central Texans have opted to stay indoors, where the air conditioning is. So are scorpions.

Scorpions are finicky arachnids that don’t enjoy extremely hot or cold temperatures — they need their environment just right.

When the weather becomes too hot and dry for a scorpion, it may try to claw its way into your home, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist Molly Keck said.

J&J Pest Control in Austin has seen an increase in the number of calls regarding scorpions in the past two months or so, general manager Monica Malone said. During winter and fall months, the company may receive five phone calls a day for a scorpion found in a home. But since summer started, the company has received as many as 15 or 20 a day.

The influx of scorpion reports made to the company also can be attributed to a rise in one of scorpion’s favorite foods: crickets, Malone said.

“Part of what draws them to houses is most people will leave a light on outside, and light draws food, like crickets. Crickets are apparently a delicacy for scorpions,” Malone said. “They’re coming to the light for the food, because you’re putting out a smorgasbord of food for them.”

Places full of trees are more likely to have scorpions around, she said, adding that construction zones also remain popular places for scorpions. West Austin, Wimberley, Dripping Springs and Manor have good habitats for scorpions, she said.

Recent rain in Central Texas also has contributed to a rise in scorpion reports. Rain can wash a scorpion out from a rock they’re living under, Malone said.

Scorpions can hide inside the walls of homes, in a pile of wood or debris, under rocks, stones and landscaping materials.

Along with the familiar claws and long tail tipped with a stinger, these nocturnal eight-legged creatures have two eyes on top of their heads, and up to five pairs of eyes along the front corners of its head, said AgriLife entomologist Wizzie Brown, who is based in Travis County.

“They do not see well, however, and must rely on their sense of touch for navigation and detecting prey,” Brown said. “Their bodies are flat, which allows them to hide in small cracks and under stones, bark, wood or other objects as they wait or search for prey.”

If you come across a scorpion near your home in Central Texas, it’s likely a striped bark scorpion, which is one of 18 species of scorpion found in Texas, AgriLife officials said. Striped bark scorpions are a yellow-tan color, and have two dark stripes running along their backs. They can be up to 2.5 inches long and glow in the dark under UV light.

Malone said most calls to her company are for a single scorpion found in a home with another pest. The largest number of scorpions caught by the pest control company was 18 in one house, she said.

If you get stung by a striped bark scorpion, Brown suggests applying ice to the sting and seeking medical attention if you find it hard to breathe or break out in hives.

“A person stung by a scorpion should be watched closely for several hours following the incident to ensure an allergic reaction does not manifest,” she said.

If you find a scorpion near or in your home, don’t pick it up, Malone said.

“I’ve only grabbed one ever by its tail — and that was on a dare,” she said. “I don’t suggest anyone do this with their fingers. You’re going to get stung.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

FORECAST: Overcast, slight chance of rain, high of 86
FORECAST: Overcast, slight chance of rain, high of 86

Monday forecast for Austin: Mostly cloudy skies will greet Central Texas as temperatures are forecast to reach the upper 80s, which is normal for this time of year, the National Weather Service said. Austin temperatures are expected to peak at 86 degrees with a 20 percent chance of rain, forecasters said. Temperatures should drop to a mild 72 degrees...
UPDATE: Parmer Lane in Northeast Austin reopened after crash cleared
UPDATE: Parmer Lane in Northeast Austin reopened after crash cleared

6:50 p.m. update: Parmer Lane has been cleared after rescue crews extricated a person trapped in a two-car collision, medics said. Parmer Lane had been shut down near the Harris Ridge Boulevard intersection for approximately 30 minutes while crews worked to free the crash victim. No one was taken to the hospital. Earlier: One person is entrapped in...
After Saturday’s ‘rain bomb,’ more showers might be in sight this week
After Saturday’s ‘rain bomb,’ more showers might be in sight this week

The rainwater that engorged the San Gabriel River above 24 feet Saturday left as quickly as it came. By the afternoon, the floodwaters that displaced several families from an RV park and trapped dozens of people at a wedding venue near Liberty Hill had receded. “It really and truly is a wave of water that goes through” the river, said Jarred...
LEANDER: Police searching for driver involved in fatal hit-and-run
LEANDER: Police searching for driver involved in fatal hit-and-run

Leander police are looking for the driver of a pickup truck that they say was involved in a fatal hit-and-run late Saturday. Police said they received a call about a crash involving a motorcycle and pickup truck at the intersection of Palmera Ridge Boulevard and Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard in Leander just before midnight Saturday. According to a witness...
3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson back in the U.S. after Taiwan arrest
3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson back in the U.S. after Taiwan arrest

Cody Wilson, the Austin man who created designs for an untraceable 3D-printed gun and has fought the federal government in court for years to publish the instructions online, was brought back to the U.S. and was expected to return to Austin on Sunday evening after being arrested in Taiwan on sexual assault charges. Wilson, 30, was booked into the Harris...
More Stories