AUSTIN, Texas — Scorpions are no strangers to the Texas Hill Country and even occasionally show up in the densely populated areas of Travis and Williamson counties.
While many burrow in the ground or live in cracks in trees, others find cracks in the exterior walls of houses and apartment buildings, whether they're made of wood, brick or stone.
As temperatures begin to heat up, some scorpions are likely determined to find their way into your home.
“In the summer, scorpions will climb up your outside walls looking for a way to get inside for cool air and water,” said Tony Gonzales, a Phoenix attorney who has become something of an expert on scorpion behavior.
He declared war against the scorpions after his three-year-old son, Jaxon, suffered three bites from a single insect at their family home.
Jaxon's reaction to scorpion venom was so severe that he had to be rushed to a hospital when his throat swelled making it hard for him to breathe. He recovered, and his dad became determined to find a method to keep scorpions from getting inside their home and others.
Working with chemists and his lifetime friend, they developed a product called Slick Barrier.
A chemical is applied to exterior walls only a few inches above the ground level. The coating creates a glass-like surface. Scorpions are unable to climb the coated walls and fall off since they can’t get traction on a smooth surface.
Gonzales said Slick Barrier was so promising that he was able to get funding from TV entrepreneur Lori Greiner after he appeared on the popular ABC show, "Shark Tank."
But even without Gonzales’ chemical barrier, there are other methods to keep scorpions at bay. The Texas A&M University Extension Service says that since scorpions are difficult to control with insecticides alone, the first strategy is to modify the area surrounding a home or building.
They offer these tips for people who hope to become scorpion-free:
- Remove all trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects from around the structure
- Keep grass closely mowed near the structure. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the structure. Tree branches can give scorpions a path to the roof
- Store garbage containers in a frame that keeps them above ground level
- Never bring firewood inside the structure unless it is placed directly on the fire
- Install weather-stripping around loose-fit-ting doors and windows
- Plug weep holes in stone or brick veneer structures with steel wool
So now that Texas scorpions are getting back into the action, experts say to be on the lookout for them because they may be looking for you.