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Scorpion control
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One of the best things about living in north Georgia is all of the beautiful scenery. We are lucky to live in an area with lush natural surroundings.

Many people choose to build their homes on lots in or near wooded areas. These lots give the homeowner the sense that they are at one with nature. However, sometimes nature becomes an unwelcome house guest.

Scorpions are a frequent occurrence throughout Georgia. The species in our area are generally grey, black or brown in color.

Scorpions are in the Arachnid class of insects, making them closely related to spiders and ticks. The most dominant features scorpions possess are the two large pincers and the teardrop-shaped stinger.

Both the stingers and the pincers are scarier than they really should be. Scorpion pincers are mainly used for mobility and to catch prey.

They have poor eyesight, so they are forced to hide out in cracks and crevices and pounce on passing insects. Their favorite meals include spiders, crickets, millipedes and even small reptiles.

Scorpions rarely sting humans, and when they do, it is usually because they are scared and in a defensive position. Scorpion species in the southeastern United States have relatively low levels of venom in their stingers compared to the more harmful species found in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Most people compare the pain of a scorpion sting to that of a wasp. However, in extreme cases, allergic reactions may occur in a small percentage of the population.

To control scorpions, we must understand their favored environments.

Scorpions seek out areas that provide them crevices for shelter and hiding spots to hunt food. Around our yards, they can be found in unused piles of firewood, garbage, rocks and brush. Having piles of refuse close to a home will increase the chances of scorpions finding their way inside.

Scorpions often wander into homes by accident. Very dry conditions will send them inside searching for moisture, and many people find them in sinks or bathtubs. There is rarely any prey inside a home suitable for scorpions. They do not want to be inside your house any more than you want them to be.

The first step in scorpion control is to eliminate suitable environments around your home. Clean up all wood and stone piles near the house. Don't pile up mulch too high near your foundation. Keep your grass properly mowed.

The next step is to seal up any easy entry points around your home. Use caulk or spray foam to close up exterior gaps. Make sure all windows and doors are closed properly. Repair or replace worn out window and door screens.

Insecticides may also be used to control scorpion infestations. Several insecticides are labeled for use inside homes to control scorpions. Crack-and-crevice insecticides can also be useful. They contain a gel in a tube which is easy to squeeze into small areas. Sticky traps may also be useful as a non-chemical control.

Exterior-use insecticides can be applied to control scorpions and their prey. Granular insecticides can be applied around the house and in turf areas. Liquid insecticides may be applied in a band around your foundation. Please read and follow all label directions before using any pesticide.

Clark MacAllister is the Dawson County extension agent. For more information, call (706)265-2442.