Seeing scorpions scurrying around your Austin home can be unsettling. Texas has over a dozen scorpion species, some more venomous than others. So what kinds of scorpions live in the Austin area, and are they dangerous? This guide covers how to identify local scorpions, their sting risks, and removal tips.
Scorpions in Austin: An Overview
Here’s a quick look at scorpion basics in Central Texas:
- Over 10 species are found in the Austin area, most belonging to the genus Centruroides
- Two main venom types: neurotoxins (affect nervous system) and cytotoxins (affect cells and tissues)
- Arizona bark scorpion and Striped bark scorpion have the most potent, dangerous stings
- Centruroides vittatus, also called the stripe-tailed scorpion, is the most common locally
- Warm, humid habitats near food and shelter are favored
- Nocturnal predators that eat insects, spiders and other small prey
- Glow neon blue-green under UV light, helping detection
While scorpions are common across Central Texas, only a few species pose serious risk, primarily to small children.
Dangerous Scorpions in Austin
Two scorpion species residing in Austin can deliver a potentially medically significant sting:
Arizona Bark Scorpion
This small, pale yellow scorpion is found mainly in far western Travis County near the Hill Country. It has highly potent neurotoxic venom and is considered the most dangerous Texas scorpion. Stings require medical attention. Fortunately, this scorpion has a limited local range.
Striped Bark Scorpion
A dark scorpion with lighter striped markings on its back and tail. It produces both neurotoxins and cytotoxins. While not as toxic as the Arizona bark scorpion, the striped bark scorpion has a painful, moderately dangerous sting. It is found throughout Central Texas. Seek medical care if stung.
If you find a scorpion around your home and aren’t sure what kind it is, exercise extreme caution and have it identified by a professional. Some species can be potentially deadly, especially to children.
Common, Less Dangerous Scorpions in Austin
The most frequently encountered scorpion in Austin is Centruroides vittatus, also called the stripe-tailed or streaked scorpion.
- About 2-3 inches long
- Brown to tan in color with darker, streaky markings on the tail
- Often found around homes and urban areas
- Produces a mildly toxic venom similar to a bee sting in pain level
- Seldom life-threatening except to those highly allergic
Though still capable of a painful sting, this common scorpion is less medically concerning versus the Arizona or striped bark scorpions. Ice, OTC pain meds, and topical analgesics help reduce sting discomfort.
Signs of Scorpions in Your Home
Watch for these clues that scorpions may be lurking inside or around your Austin property:
- Seeing live scorpions, especially at night when they are most active
- Finding deceased scorpions
- Scorpion exoskeletons after molting
- Multiple unexplained stings on occupants or pets
- Prey remains like insect parts left from scorpion meals
- Glowing blue-green under UV blacklight indicates scorpion urine trails
- Residents in newer subdivisions north and west of Austin seem to report scorpions more frequently
If numerous signs appear, speak to an exterminator about scorpion control services for your home.
Dangers and Risks of Scorpion Stings
While scorpion stings are rarely fatal, they can still have some concerning effects:
- Instant severe pain at the sting site
- Numbness, tingling and swelling around the sting
- Rapid heartbeat and elevated blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing in some cases
- Muscle twitches, tremors or convulsions
- Risk of anaphylaxis in those hypersensitive
- May be more medically serious for very young children and elderly
Seek emergency care immediately if stung by a highly venomous scorpion species like the Arizona bark scorpion. Prompt antivenom can prevent severe outcomes. Even “mild” stings warrant close monitoring and medical consultation. Don’t take scorpion stings lightly.
Removing Scorpions Safely
If you find a scorpion inside your home, caution is urged:
- Remain calm. Scorpions often sting when crushed or handled.
- Wear thick gloves and use tongs or forceps to pick up live scorpions. Avoid direct skin contact.
- Place the captured scorpion into a sealable plastic bag or jar for identification.
- Freeze the contained scorpion overnight to humanely kill it. Then discard it sealed in the trash outside.
- Consult an exterminator to treat likely entry points like cracks, voids and gaps around the home’s exterior. Apply pesticide dusts or sealants. Diatomaceous earth and essential oils also deter scorpions.
- Remove wood piles, leaf litter, brush and debris near the home’s foundation. Eliminate scorpion hiding spots.
- Install UV blacklights around the perimeter to monitor for glowing scorpion trails at night. This helps locate entry points.
- Teach children to check shoes before wearing and avoid reaching into dark spaces where scorpions may hide.
With diligence, you can make your home and yard less inviting to dangerous scorpions. But professional treatment is recommended for true protection.
FAQs About Scorpions in Austin
Here are answers to some common questions about local scorpion risks:
Where are scorpions most likely found in a home?
Attics, crawl spaces, garages, bathrooms and laundry rooms near plumbing. Also outdoors under debris.
What time of year are scorpions most prevalent?
Scorpions are active year-round in Texas but peak in warmer months from May-September. More are forced indoors in fall.
Can scorpions climb walls and ceilings?
Yes, scorpions have specialized toe pads allowing them to climb smooth surfaces and even upside down. Sticky pads provide strong grip.
What attracts scorpions into a home?
Access to shelter plus prey like insects and spiders. Plumbing, holes, and clutter allow easy entry from outdoors.
How dangerous is a scorpion sting to pets?
Scorpion stings can be painful and affect small pets like cats and small dogs more severely. Seek prompt veterinary treatment if they are stung.
What should I do if stung by a scorpion?
Remain calm, wash the site, apply cold compress, take pain relievers, and observe for any systemic reactions. Seek medical attention based on scorpion type and your symptoms.
Trust Texas Bug Control for Scorpion Removal
Don’t wait until your family suffers painful scorpion stings – be proactive! The experts at Texas Bug Control can:
- Correctly identify any scorpions found on your property
- Treat entry points and scorpion harborage spots
- Apply professional grade insecticides indoors and outdoors
- Remove debris piles and sighting sources
- Provide UV blacklights to monitor infestation zones
- Offer quarterly, seasonal scorpion treatments
- Guarantee scorpion control results
Protect your home and family from the threat of venomous scorpion stings. Call Texas Bug Control today for proven scorpion control in Austin!