I was once known as the "Scorpion Queen". The year I moved to Arizona, I killed over 90 scorpions in my home....in ONE YEAR.
The night I moved in I saw the first one under the sink in my master bedroom. Being the Midwestern girl that I am...I thought it was a centipede as I chased it around with a tissue. UNTIL...it stopped and raised its tail in classic scorpion fashion. What did I do then? Screamed like a 3-year-old of course. My 77-year-old father came running to rescue me by swatting at the scorpion with his foam slipper (I finally squashed it with a hammer).
A year and a half later I was a self-professed expert.
Where do scorpions live in the valley? Hmm.. everywhere. Do I have them in my new house now? Nope.
There are things you should know that can help you buy a scorpion-free home, but remember...no guarantees...
They were here first and have been here longer than dinosaurs.
First, know that the Bark scorpion that lives in the valley likes wet and shady places (then why do they live in the desert? Dumb scorpion.) so they especially like the underground irrigation lines that are typical in citrus orchards. Developers have taken over many of the old orchards in the valley and built homes there so it's not surprising to note that those communities have a higher scorpion population.
However, just because your neighbor has scorpions doesn't mean you will and vice versa. Scorpions are territorial and don't like to leave an area if they're comfortable.
Since scorpions like damp places, there is usually a higher population in grassy damp areas like golf courses fairways. But, just to confuse us, they also like dry rocky areas like mountain preserves. So homes bordering those areas are more likely to include a scorpion or two with that lot premium.
And while we're talking about a scorpion or two, I've found they usually travel in pairs (isn't that romantic?). If you see one...keep looking.
So how do you know if a home has scorpions before you buy it? Well, you can't for sure. Seller's do have an obligation to disclose whether they've ever seen a scorpion in their house or yard and this will be found on the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement. But just because they have an obligation to disclose, doesn't mean they will.
Your Realtor® can be very helpful especially if they have sold homes in a certain area, they will sometimes have a knowledge of the areas where scorpions have shown their tails. But again, a Realtor® isn't an expert on all communities or every home within that community, and like we said...just because your neighbor has them doesn't mean you will. You might want to talk to the neighbors as they may be the best source to let you know if the owner has spoken of a scorpion issue.
What do you do if you see a scorpion in the house you just purchased? After you stop screaming, relax. There are ways to help reduce the population. First get an Arizona Fly Swatter (a hammer) for every room. Don't laugh, it works.
Then, get a good pest control company to help you to get rid of any crickets, roaches or spiders making up the scorpion's food supply.
If you like cats, get one and whatever you do, don't declaw it. Cats are a natural predator of scorpions. They kill them with their claws. Oh...Chickens too. They love to eat scorpions. Having a chicken in the city could be a problem with zoning though, so best to find out first.
Another trick is diatomaceous earth. This is the powder you put in pool filters. It's said to be effective keeping scorpions out of your house if you put a trail of the powder at entry points to your home (doorways & windows sills mostly). The powder is composed of glass-like particles which slice open the soft belly of the scorpion when it crawls across it. Nice.
Many people say that scorpions are impervious to residual insecticides...however, a few that come highly recommended are Cykick Bug Spray & Delta Eight Granules.
You could consider having your home professionally sealed (note~ this is different than hermetically sealed). Many pest control companies offer this service where they seal all possible scorpion entry points. It's not cheap, but it does work. I know, because I did it to the first home I owned here in Arizona. You remember - the one with the 90 happy scorpions.
Last but not least...because this can be fun - get a black light and an Arizona Fly Swatter and do a scorpion hunt inside your home and yard after dark. Scorpions will glow yellow-green under a black light. Whack-A-Scorp. Yes, good times.
I'm happy to say I've never been stung by a scorpion. I've heard the sting is pretty miserable but they are not usually life threatening unless you are allergic, have a compromised immune system, or are under 10 years old or elderly. Take comfort that Arizona does have antivenin and no one has died from a scorpion sting in over 40 years. If you get stung get emergency treatment to make sure you're ok. You probably are.
Final note. I had a client who bought a home in the foothills of Ahwatukee...backing to the preserve. He got stung on the butt sitting on the toilet. Apparently, the scorpion was hiding under the seat. So ladies, maybe it's best if he does leave the toilet seat up!
If you're looking for a home in Chandler or the surrounding East Valley, the Amy Jones Group specializes in this area and is here to help guide you. Whether it's a question about scorpions, monsoons, surviving summers in the desert or something else you are wondering about the area, we've probably dealt with it and can give you advice.