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UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
669 County Square Dr. Suite 100
Ventura CA 93003
Phone: 805.645.1451
Fax: 805.645.1474

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Scorpions

 

There are three species of scorpions found in the southern part of California and throughout the southwestern US. From the descriptions of these species given, the stripedtail scorpion is the most common. This scorpion is about two and one-half inches long at maturity, and the body is striped on top.

 

All scorpions are venomous. However, the stripedtail is not considered dangerous. A sting from the tail would probably be no worse than a bee sting. Of course, all bets are off if you are sensitive (allergic) to insect stings. In that case, get the victim to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

 

Scorpions grow slowly and may take one to six years to reach full size and maturity. The time depends on the food supply and the environment. They usually live three to five years, but can live as long as 15 years. The difference in age is partially due to the mating habits of scorpions. Unless the male is quick, he often serves as lunch for the female after the mating ritual is completed. Females bear 25 to 35 living young, which the female carries on her back until their first molt, at which time they are kicked off and are on their own.

 

In their natural habitat scorpions live under debris, wood, stones or tree bark, any crack that is one-sixteenth to one-quarter inch will do. In a house, the same is true. They will hide in dark places – closets, attics, under chests, behind baseboards and woodwork, in shoes, sleeping bags or drawers – and come out at night to feed. Their diet consists of insects, spiders and worms, which they grasp with their chelae (pincers) and eat alive.

 

Scorpions can enter your home under the door or through cracks between the foundation and walls or around windows. They are very flat, so can exploit a small opening. Your door seals are the first opening to check in your efforts to scorpion-proof your house.

 

Any time subdivisions are put into previously “wild” lands, the creatures that inhabited that area will seek new places to make their home. I am sure that as you landscape and change the native environment the scorpion will go away. But in the process of disrupting the native habitat you may have a period of more scorpions trying to relocate into your house. Use the following checklist to protect your home and its occupants.

 

Clean up trash, logs, boards, stones, etc., especially from around the foundation of the house.

 

Do not bring any more firewood into the house than you will burn in one evening. Do not store firewood in or against the house.

 

Install weatherstripping around doors and windows.

 

Caulk other openings like cracks around roof eaves, pipes and electrical fixtures.

 

Make sure window screens fit correctly and tightly in the frame.