How do scorpions get in the house? That’s the kind of question that will keep you up at night. It’s also the kind of question that invites some pretty uncomfortable answers. Yet, we’re going to answer them.
Starting with one rough truth: If you live in a hot, dry climate, you’re living in scorpion country, my friend.
And the trouble with scorpions – apart from the fact that they look like something from a horror movie and can cause painful stings – is that they have no respect for your personal boundaries.
So how do you keep these stinging, invasive critters away? The first step is to understand what attracts them in the first place.
What Attracts Scorpions?
The key to figuring out how to keep scorpions away lies in knowing what attracts scorpions in the first place. As a wise man once said, knowing is half the battle.
Once you know, you can do your part to remove these enticing elements. So if you share a neighborhood with some stinging arachnid locals, here is a list of what is attracting scorpions to your home.
Do you live in a part of the world that has scorpions? It might sound obvious, but not everywhere has to worry about these nasty arachnids. Scorpion preferences vary from species to species, but as a general rule, they like hot and dry climates.
So if you live in Alaska or Iceland, you probably don’t need to worry – there’s very little chance you’ll ever have a scorpion infestation. But if you live in Arizona or Australia – well, that’s prime scorpion real estate right there.
Let’s just say you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm and dry, and unlucky enough to have a thriving population of scorpions. Pros and cons to everything, right?
There isn’t much you can do about this, apart from moving. But you can certainly do a lot about the other scorpion attractions below…
Where there are crickets and other insects, scorpions may not be far behind. As predatory carnivores, scorpions will follow their food source. If your home to also home to a scorpion’s favorite snacks, it will be an appealing place for a scorpion to live. So what do scorpions love to eat? Here’s a quick look:
- Small rodents
- Other scorpions
As you can see, scorpions aren’t picky eaters. But they do have a strictly carnivorous diet. The more you can do to reduce the insect population around your home, the less appealing it will be for a hungry scorpion.
One of the top reasons a scorpion will enter a home is in search of water. This is particularly true in times of drought. Water is crucial to a scorpion’s survival, even more so than food. As long as they have water, they can slow their metabolism during a food shortage and live off one insect a year. But they must have water.
Does the outdoor area outside your house make a prime living environment for scorpions? Check for things like decaying leaves, piles of damp foliage, unkempt straw, log piles, and rotting wood. Those are all places scorpions would love to spend some time.
Wood, debris, and trash piles are also prime hiding place for scorpions. Over-watered and under-pruned vegetation is too.
Scorpions are nocturnal and prefer to spend their days hiding in the dark. The darkness allows them to better preserve water and regulate their body temperature. This is why scorpions like to hide in basements, isolated closets, dark corners, and even inside shoes.
Unfortunately, there isn’t too much you can do to prevent dark places in your home. But you can try to limit dingy corners where possible around the home by allowing in sunlight. You can also start with the darkest, most undisturbed corners when you begin searching for scorpions in the house.
How Do Scorpions Get In the House?
If you’ve come face to face with a scorpion in your home, or if you’re just anxious to make sure that it never happens, let me share with you exactly how scorpions find their way into homes. Specifically, your own.
To really understand how a scorpion may get into your house, you have to think like the scorpion. Now, I’m not suggesting you start crawling around on the floor dismembering insects with your pincers before stuffing them into your mandibular mouthparts.
That’s not going to endear you to anyone. What I mean is that you should try to see your home from a more arachnid point of view.
As it turns out, it’s not as difficult as you’d think. You see, scorpions want what we all want: a quiet place to stay out of the hot sun and a regular supply of food and water.
It’s searching for these requirements that often leads scorpions to enter people’s houses. But they won’t come and knock on the door. Although scorpions can and do enter a home through an exterior door that’s left open too long, it’s just as likely that they’ll come in via some other route.
Here are the most common ways scorpions get in the house.
They Sneak In
Maybe there’s a slight gap where your dryer vent comes through the wall. Perhaps there’s a tiny space that wasn’t filled properly when the windows were put in. Or there’s a crack in the foundation of your house that you never realized was there.
To a scorpion, and to lots of other pests that scorpions like to eat, all of these things are like flashing welcome signs outside a friendly bar. They won’t hesitate to take advantage of an invitation like that.
Once you start looking, you might be surprised by how many gaps and holes there are in your house.
Here are some common scorpion entryways:
- Via your door. If you have a door with a gaping space at the bottom, there is literally nothing to stop a scorpion from waltzing right in.
- Ground-level windows. Cracks and gaps around ground-level windows and broken screens can all be access points for an intruding scorpion.
- Pipes and lines. Any small gaps surrounding plumbing pipes and utility lines are prime highways for scorpions to enter the home. Pipes, in particular, are extremely attractive because of the moisture that builds up around them. .
- The foundations of the house. Scorpions can sneak in via cracks and crevices in house exteriors. They will also use the base of untrimmed walls and wall voids as a source of shelter.
- Weep holes. These small gaps that serve as a passage for water to escape also make useful entry points for scorpions.
- Air vents. Air vents are often left unsealed, which make an open door for scorpions who are great at climbing. Bathroom vents, exhaust vents, etc., when left unsealed are easy access points for scorpions.
As you search for potential scorpion entryways, keep in mind that these nimble critters don’t need a lot of space. Scorpions can fit through spaces as small as 1/16 of an inch, or 1.5mm – that’s barely more than the thickness of a credit card.
You Bring Them In
Sometimes, scorpions get into houses by no fault of their own. They are minding their own business, living their best lives, and then suddenly – you carry them into your home!
This is the saddest cause of scorpions in the house because neither of you are willing participants. So how does it happen?
Easy. Scorpions like to hide. As such, they can hitchhike undiscovered on items that you carry into your house. Items like…
- Potted plants
- Outdoor furniture
- Shoes that you left outdoors
- Cardboard boxes that were stored in the garage
Anything that has been left outdoors or in an area that is attractive for scorpions – i.e. garage, lawns, plant nurseries – can be a scorpion hiding spot. Be careful and inspect before you bring it inside your home.
Where Do Scorpions Hide in Houses?
Even that annoying neighbor who borrows your stuff and never returns it doesn’t come into your bedroom at night and hide in your shoes. At least, I really hope not.
And that brings us to one of the most inconvenient truths about scorpions in the house: they can be hiding anywhere, even under your bed. The last thing you want is an unpleasant surprise when you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Which is exactly why you want to find the scorpions on your own terms.
To do that, you’ll need to know where they like to hide. Here are the most common places scorpions hide in houses:
- Laundry rooms
- Crawl spaces
- Inside walls
- Behind baseboards
- Small crevices in walls or floorboards
- Underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Under refrigerators
- Inside and under kitchen cabinets
- Inside dark, mostly unused drawers and shelves
- Under furniture
- Potted plants
- In the shower curtain
- Inside shoes that are rarely worn
Any place that is dark, damp, and undisturbed is the perfect hiding place for a scorpion.
As you can see, though, the typical house contains many potential hiding places for scorpions. So how do you ever check them all?
The easiest way is to get a UV black light. All adult scorpions have exoskeletons that fluoresce under ultraviolet light. This trick makes it easy to quickly find scorpions that are hiding in your house.
Wait until it’s night time, turn all the lights off, and then carefully search the places where scorpions are most likely to be hiding.
A smart thing to do is to extend the scorpion search to the outdoor perimeter around your home. Here is a great guide to scorpion hunting outdoors.
How to Keep Scorpions Out of Your House
When it comes to keeping scorpions out of your house, you have several options. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we recommend making use of them all.
Here is how to keep scorpions out of your house with a DIY multi-pronged strategy.
Seal it Up
You already know there are a lot of ways for the typical scorpion to enter your house. The best thing you can do to nip that in the bud is to block off those entryways. This is by far the simplest, most effective home remedy to keep scorpions away. Here are the best tools you can use to keep these critters out of your home:
A Door Sweep. A simple sturdy door sweep is a must have for keeping out both scorpions and other insects.
Weather Stripping. Use thick, durable weather stripping to form a tight seal around all doors and windows, especially ones at ground level.
Window Screens. Every window, especially at ground level should have undamaged window screens fixed in place.
Mesh Screens for Vents. Placing stainless steel fine mesh screens as covers on all vents is a very smart way to prevent scorpions from entering the house.
Caulk and Gun. A tube or two of caulk and a caulking gun will allow you to seal up any gaps and holes in your home. Chances are, a scorpion can fit through any gap you find so cover even the smallest of cracks, like:
- Gaps and cracks around ground-level windows
- Holes and gaps around plumbing pipes and utility lines
- Cracked walls and baseboards
- Cracks and gaps in the foundation on the house
It can be a lot of work, but think of it like this: with every hole you fill, the chances of you running into a scorpion get lower. As long as it’s safe to do so, get out your caulk gun and seal those holes up.
Use a Scorpion Insecticide
The best way to use a scorpion insecticide is to create a barrier around your house so that any scorpion that crosses it meets its doom.
The result? No more (live) scorpions in your house.
The best news is that you have both chemical and natural options. Here are the best scorpion insecticides to keep scorpions out of your house:
Diatomaceous Earth. This all natural powder kills scorpions by latching on to the scorpion’s exoskeleton and dehydrating them to death. It is not an immediate solution but it is effective.
To use it, you must dust an even layer in areas that scorpions hide or must cross in order to get into your house, i.e. alongside baseboards, in wall corners, inside cracks and crevices, around plumbing pipes. Make sure to place it in spots where scorpions will make contact with it.
Harris Scorpion Killer. This is an easy-to-use perimeter spray that you can use both indoors and outdoors. You don’t spray it directly on scorpions. Rather, you use it to treat areas that scorpions hide or must cross in order to get to your house, like around plumbing pipes, inside cracks and crevices, around the foundation of your house, and any other access points.
Once it dries, it kills any scorpions that come into contact with it, making it the perfect scorpion repellent.
Cy-Kick CS. This is a professional-grade scorpion insecticide that means business. It is the most effective solution to a scorpion infestation. It is not a contact spray to use on individual scorpions. Instead, you use it as a perimeter spray to treat around the entire perimeter of the house, up external walls, around all access points like doors and windows as well as any cracks and crevices where scorpions can hide or enter.
It provides incredibly long-term residual protection and will continue to kill any scorpions that make contact with it for months after application.
Want more scorpion killing options? Check out our full guide on the best ways to kill scorpions.
Secure Your Lawn
Scorpions don’t tend to travel far during their lifetime. So if you have scorpions in the house, that means they are coming from somewhere nearby. Very nearby, like your immediate outdoors.
So the best thing you can do to prevent scorpions in the house is to get rid of the things that attract them to your lawn and garden, like:
- Clear debris. Any piles of debris, trash, landscaping materials, wood, or damp foliage make the perfect hiding spot for scorpions. Clear up these damp, dark habitats and make sure anything like firewood is removed away from your house.
- Mow the lawn. Tall brush and over-growth creates more dark, shady places for scorpions to feel at home.
- Drain standing water. Standing water breeds pests like mosquitoes and provides a source of water of thirsty desert scorpions.
- Use yellow light. Scorpions and the insects they love to eat are attracted to white lights. So opt for bug-proof yellow lights in your outdoors spaces.
Tips to Avoid Scorpions in the House
While you are busy working on long-term strategies to keep scorpions out of the house, the last thing you need is to get stung.
So here are a couple scorpion prevention tips to keep you safe.
- Store things in plastic bins and not cardboard boxes
- Don’t leave piles of items close to the house – logs, woodpiles, trash, etc.
- Don’t bring anything into the house from the garage or outdoors without first inspecting it
- Be careful when reaching into drawers and shelves that are rarely used
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in a pile on the ground – this makes a very attractive dark and damp hiding spot for scorpions
- Make sure to inspect your shoes, slippers, and boots before putting them on
When in doubt, make use of your trusty UV black light to inspect areas of your house before you go wandering around barefoot.
The Final Word on Scorpions in the House
Scorpions can get into your house in any number of ways. But we can all be thankful that they don’t fly, or teleport, or swing on ropes of silk like their spider cousins. If a scorpion wants to get inside your house, she needs to find a gap she can crawl through or hitchhike a ride. Both of these entry points are entirely preventable.
Seal up all the gaps you can, make the lawn uninhabitable, create a scorpion perimeter and say goodbye to scorpion visitors. It’s not easy but it is pretty simple. Now go make your house scorpion-proof!