About ten minutes after we walked into our house as the new owners, we discovered a lizard crawling around in the front room. We quickly scooped it up and released it in the yard.
The next night, the bird came to our backyard to die.
Every day leads to the discovery of at LEAST four spiders. I don’t do well with spiders, but I have done (in my opinion) an amazing job of calmly, ever so slightly raising my voice to beckon Mike to get rid of the bigger ones. I don’t want to pass my documented arachnophobia onto Annabel. The smaller spiders I calmly introduce to the hose attachment on my vacuum.
On Saturday, we had people over. A few guys were helping move things around in the playroom while I was in the kitchen. I heard someone say, “Hey Mike, check out what’s crawling around in the playroom!” I calmly hollered from behind the sink, “It better not be a spider. It better be another lizard!”
It wasn’t either. It was a MOTHER CHUCKING BABY SCORPION. It had been hiding underneath a bin of toys and it “came out to play” after the bin had been moved.
To say I freaked out would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. I wanted to light the house on fire. I couldn’t stop imaging Annie and Rigby playing out there and getting stung. The problem with spider bites and insect stings is you almost never see the actual bug. So if Annie had been cruising around the house, crying and stuff, I would have chalked it up to Typical Annie Dramatics. Just the other day she was going, “Oh, my FOOT!” She’d point at one foot, then at the other. No consistency with that kid.
…I’m starting to wonder if it had already stung her. Except I looked at both her feet and saw no marks. …Crap.
Seriously, why is burning the house down not an option?
Unsurprisingly, Mike and my parents are ‘meh’ about the whole thing. I texted my dad after the discovery and he wrote back, “Yeah, you can expect those, and maybe some snakes and tarantulas.” WHAT THE HELL DAD. My mom said, “Where’s the baby’s mom?” WHAT THE HELL MOM. And Mike said, “Great, one more bug you won’t go near.” You’re damn right, Mike.
I guess this is what happens when you buy a house that stood vacant for a year. The tiny creatures reclaimed their land! The birds and lizards can stay. The bugs need to get the hell out, unless they want to contribute to the mortgage.
Time to get a cat! Cats eat scorpions, for some weird reason they are immune to the venium. We had (have, I find them from time to time) them, you can buy black lights and they glow when the lights hit them then you smack them with a hammer!
I’m from the midwest, so I gasped in HORROR when I read that it was a scorpion. I remember seeing scorpions in my grandma’s house in Hawaii (they lived on the side of a dry, brambly, volcano) as a kid and I was terrified of them. But that’s not what you need to hear right now.
So, NOW what needs to happen is the next 50-100 posts need to be from scorpion experts who tell you that baby scorpions are harmless, you have nothing to worry about and that you can even teach them to do tricks. Come one everyone!
Walkingborder (Karen) says:
The creatures, or at least the lizards, might actually be in there BECAUSE of the bugs.
oh HELL no to the scorpion! I can’t believe everyone else is so calm,hopefully there aren’t many more. ugh… goosebumps just thinking about it.
Time to call the exterminator!!
For sure!!! We are in the midwest, and have poisonous brown spiders in our 100 year old house. They come every 4 months to spray, and we don’t see them again until its time for another visit. I would freak out seeing a scorpion. Yikes!!!!
Leigh Elliott says:
EEEEESHHH! I could NOT deal! I would totally call an exterminator and just have them do a once over. They also know all the places these things like to hide in.
The lizard eats the bugs… so choose life when it comes to the lesser of those two options.
As for the scorpions? WTF! I’m all for making sure those leave the home until children are old enough not to accidently make “friends” with one.
I could handle the spiders, I could handle a snake, but throw that scorpion into the mix and I would have been done. Yikes. I think you are handling it pretty well, I think you could have still heard me screaming about it.
I know your pain! Ok, we didn’t have scorpions (shudder) but our house stood vacant for 10 months before we bought it and the basement was infested with spider crickets. Google that, I dare you! Those are no ordinary crickets, let me tell you! Totally horrifying….especially when they started showing up on other levels of the house and in the underwear drawer of my dresser. We also had a lot of little spiders and various other insects show up. My husband that special Raid stuff that you can spray outside on your foundation to form a “boundary” between you and the bugs. It took us about a year but we’ve showed those crickets who’s the boss now! Good luck in the bug wars.
EW!! I Googled…shudder..
Spider Crickets show up every fall at my house. They are so ugly and they jump AT you when you try to kill them. My dogs used to eat them but then they spit out the legs which was even worse.
As for the empty house – we bought a house in foreclosure – get an exterminator for at least a year – I promise it will be worth the $$!
Erin W says:
I’m with Audra—I live on the other side of the country and couldn only IMAGINE the HORROR of a tarantula IN. MY. HOME!!! We do have TruGreen (lawn spraying service) that WILL SPRAY THE PERIMETER OF YOUR HOUSE with a chemical (that your kids/animals won’t be poisoned by—we have a cat, dog and 2 kids and we get it done yearly) that keeps the bugs OUT. We get Wolf spiders (google those babies!)…It works really well…keeps the ants out, too! Maybe give that a try…not sure of the brand name company in your area…but I’m sure you’ve got ’em! Good luck!!!!!!!!
Heather I would freak out, I have a phobia of spiders that include night terrors. I think a Bug Guy may be good investment. We live in the south and bugs are a part of life, but our bug guy drastically reduces them and will assess any problems we are having and adjust. It’s like $80 every three months and totally worth it.
Kate-I feel your pain with the cricket spiders. We have those and they are creepy.
We had scorpions when I was a kid growing up in Forth Worth, Texas. I remember sitting down on one–naked, of course– in the bathtub! I guess that’s good news, since I was probably ten then…so I’ve now lived 51 years past that trauma! However, I’m with the people who suggest having the perimeter of the house sprayed. I have it done here every 3 months (living in Indiana now) during the warm weather months, and it’s really cut down on bug sightings. I should tell you though, that my brothers taught us some neat things about scorpions. Did you know that if you put them in a ring of lighter fluid fire, they’ll sting themselves to death? Or if you press down on their backs with a pencil eraser, same thing? Ah yes, the family science experiments!
Definitely invest in a yearly extermination plan..they come out every three to four months and spray human and pet friendly stuff indoors and outdoors. You’d be amazed what you DONT see. Best thing I ever did!!
We lived in Phoenix, AZ for about 20 years and scorpions are a way of life there. Get a good bug man to come out and give the house a good work out. You can’t kill the scorpions but if you eliminate their food source (they really like crickets) the scorpions will go away. Keep the lizards, they’ll keep the bug population out. Our bug man would put a powder around the outside foundations of the house and just outside of the doorways. The scorpions would walk through the powder and it would get on their feet, they would then ingest it and would die. It’s not harmful to kids or pets if they use the right one.
Interesting factoid (or maybe not), scorpions are part of the lobster family. The bigger the scorpion (as in the large Emperor Scorpions) the less likely they are to sting you. It’s the small ones that you’ve gotta watch out for.
Bottom line?? Get a bugman and keep the lizards.
I am a scorpion killer! Here in NM they are abundant! I use a spray called Viper, it kills all of the ugly nasty house guest! I think it’s not sold in California but I could mail you some! I use it inbetween the exterminator visits.
Oh yikes. And double yikes. Be sure to wear shoes around the house. Army boots maybe. Full body armor. ; )
Seriously, I feel for you. What a horror!
We had a similar situation, moving into a house that had been vacant for three years (the owner had passed away and the house just sat unoccupied till the sons sold it). We had black widows galore (and of course that’s the one insect that I’m the most terrified of) the entire first summer we were here. Fortunately none of them were inside of the house, but they were EVERYWHERE outside, on the porch, the outside water faucets, you would not believe the places they popped out of on a daily basis. I would water the flowers and the black widows would crawl up out of the dirt. Really? They just live in dirt? Who knew?
They were always on our trash cans.
Outside the back door.
Blatantly sitting on the outside of the house, next to the front door.
They owned the place.
It was hideous. But let me say that I did appreciate the fact that (knock on wood) we didn’t have any inside. If that had been the case, I think I would have had to make myself a body suit out of aluminum foil.
I can’t imagine how scary it would be to have scorpions inside of the house, and with a toddler yet! Yikes!
I will tell you though, once the summer was over, things got a whole lot better. And the next year we didn’t have any more problems. Apparently once we got settled in, the spiders eventually moved on (at least the ones I hadn’t already killed as I aimed a can of Raid at them and screamed “Die! Die!” ).
I don’t use chemical cleaners in my house and I don’t use chemical pesticides in the yard or chemical fertilizers — I’m totally a “green” gal, but let me tell you, when it comes to black widows, I’ll bring out whatever it takes — poison, flaming arrows, double-barreled shotguns, cannons. I seriously hate those things and I will spray Raid on them till the cows come home. Hopefully the environment will forgive me.
Oh, we also had bees in our attic. It’s a long story how we eventually killed them off, but my husband went up there and pulled out five big honeycombs out of our attic. It was very bizarre and fascinating.
Life is interesting. You just never know what weird thing is on the horizon.
Good luck with your situation! Next summer should be a whole lot better, but for the moment you might want to get a “green” exterminator out there and run the varmints off.
I would call an exterminator….Scorpion stings are extremely painful! Our curious dog had more than one sting experience when we lived down south!
They are hard to kill too….My mom once kept one in a mason jar for weeks, taunting it and shaking it around. Some sort of prison for being in her shoe one day!
That reminds me!!! CHECK YOUR SHOES!!!! They love to hide in shoes!
Anyway, that being said…I would call an exterminator. I went to visit my mother once and the first night I came within inches of stepping on one on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Then in the morning I found 4 in the mesh of my baby’s pack n play she was sleeping in. I packed it up and forked over for a hotel!
My mom lived in the Bahamas for awhile and once while visiting her, I found a scorpion on the shower curtain while I was taking a shower. FREAKED ME OUT!!! Luckily, it didn’t sting me. I had to go get someone to kill it for me.
I say call an exterminator!
Dudge OH says:
A great ad for reasons NOT to move to CA!
I was doing some laundry over the weekend and saw a large spider on the wall between the washer and dryer. My only worry was it would jump onto me as I took its picture, but it stayed still.
On a more serious note, I’m still only 75% convinced it wasn’t a Brown Recluse, though…
As Johanna said: call the exterminator.
We were stationed in Turkey and went into one of the big mosques. Apparently they keep ostrich eggs in the mosques because they emit an odor (undetectable by humans) that keep bugs and spiders away. Not sure about scorpions, but maybe time to invest in an ostrich egg?
We lived in a house a few years ago that was vacant and had just been built before we moved in. There were TONS of spiders. Each day we would find 5 – 6 more. I lost my mind (tears and all) and told my husband that if it continued we would have to move because I couldn’t take it. Luckily, they do go away after a bit, so you should be bug free soon!
OMG Heather, yuck! You have to get an exterminator to spray the exterior of you house, or go buy some at a place like Lowe’s. After reading this post I feel like spiders are crawling on me…blech!!
Heather, I have some experience with moving into a house that stood vacant for a year, except in my case the house was a fixer upper, so there were lots of ways for critters to get in and take up residence. My advice: buy some caulk. Go around your house looking for cracks and crevices where creatures could get in. Plug up those cracks with the caulk. You can cut down on a lot of unwanted visitors that way, and it’s such an easy fix that you could do it by yourself without Mike’s help. You need a few DIY skills if you are going to be a home owner!
Karen Bennett says:
I just had this conversation with my best friend in Austin, TX. They are in the attic. They come down out of the A/C vents. Easy fix that does not involve exterminators. Get some screen material from a hardware store like home depot. Take down the A/C vent from the wall or ceiling. Cover the vent in screen material. The scorpions will stay out. Also try and find any vents on the outside of your house and cover those too. Then they won’t be able to get in either.
Good luck! I freak out with spiders but I think scorpions are cool. From a distance of course.
Yuck! I have an equal hatred for bugs. My parents recently got me this as a Mother’s Day present:
It actually works pretty well!
Shannon O says:
My husband buys this stuff called Demon WP at the tractor supply store (not sure where you can buy it there), but it works great!! He adds one packet of powder to water in a sprayer and sprays around the exterior of the house. It gets rid of all spiders and scorpions!
Shannon O says:
I found it online at http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/Product/Demon-WP-Pack
It really does work wonders. A guy who does pest control asked me not to tell my friends about it because it would mess up his business.
We live in the SouthEast….scorpions are sometimes found in basements, woodpiles or anywhere where there is stationary cover. I have seen one or two in our basement over the years, but they were dead because we spray the perimeter of the room and the outside of the house every 3 months. I have read that the only ones whose venom can kill are the South American variety we see in horror movies, so I’m not too worried about these.
Spray the whole house perimeter, inside too, then leave for the day with the whole family, including the dog until it dries. You probably won’ t see another one now that the house is occupied!
Wait a minute, there are scorpions in the southeast? We just moved to SC (from the midwest) and I am freaked out enough over the palmetto bugs. If I have to worry about scorpions too, I may pack up and head back to MI
Lindsay from Boston says:
OMG, the palmetto bugs. I swear they are part of the reason I moved out of Florida. I couldn’t take them anymore. They regularly visited the home I grew up in, no matter what we did (which was pretty much all of the suggestions in these comments).
Scorpions are rare in the SE, but … I hate to say it … they ARE there. At a senior year sleepover several years ago, my friend pulled down some blankets out of a closet, and a scorpion came tumbling out of them and stung her knee on the way down. We killed it, called the paramedics, she was fine … but not after we’d all had a few heart attacks.
I live in southern Arizona and spotting a scorpion in the house is just awful.
Buy a little UV flashlight (hardware stores, even grocery stores carry them here). Scorpions glow in UV light. I go on patrol after dark- opening up closets, pulling out the sofa sleeper- any place where they could be hiding. The light enables you to catch even the smallest one that might be missed under ordinary light.
Madi G. says:
I wouldn’t be too worried, Heather. According to my creepy crawly field guide (purchased when I moved to Florida, home of spiders the size of dinner plates! No joke. Google “Huntsman Spider”), there are more than 1300 species of scorpion. Only about 30 are potentially deadly (2%). Only 1 toxic spider lives in the United States — the desert scorpion (found in your region — the southwest).
Looking at Google, it is very distinctive in appearance. So unless it was this scorpion, I wouldn’t worry. In fact, even if it was this scorpion, I wouldn’t worry. The effects of venom — whether from a spider, scorpion or snake — are typically quite dramatic, especially in kids and pets. You’ll *know* if they’ve been bit.
We have tons of toxic creatures in Florida. I’ve educated myself. I’ve learned about which spiders are toxic, which snakes are toxic, etc. I know what they look like, so I can identify them immediately. It makes life a lot easier.
One tip: don’t let Rigby out in the yard alone. Always supervise her if there are venomous snakes in your area. Dogs are really prone to snake bites because they get stupid (they walk right up to the snake and mess with it.)
I feel your pain/phobia. Our place was a foreclosure, then flipped and we bought it. So it was vacation for well over a year. That means we’ve dealt with ants, loads of spiders, and those house centipedes that scurry across the floors/walls. Ugh.
It makes me feel like I’m a bad housekeeper. I’m embarrassed to complain about it because people will think I’m filthy.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural white powder that kills anything with an exoskeleton. You can sprinkle it around the perimeter of your house and even indoors, maybe near doorways or other places scorpions could get in. It’s safe to use around children and pets as long as you make sure to buy food grade and NOT pool grade. I bought mine online, but I think they have it in some stores. Good luck!
Scorpions? Oh, HELL no. Is it too late to back out of the house deal?
Kathy C says:
You are nice to call them “guests”.
I say they are squatters and need to VACATE!
we live in Phoenix and scorpions are rampant in the summer. thats one good thing, they are usually only seen in the hotter months. get a bug spray from the farm store called Bifen IT and have Mike spray. This has worked wonders for us and sent the scorpions to the neighbors. and after it is dry the dog and kids can be around it without harm. You can keep them at bay. I hate to be a downer but they can be very bad for young children. I had a friend who had a 3 day hospital stay for ONE sting. She was allergic. But, you do need to be aware of them. Good luck. Oh, and the readers are right, keep the lizards, they eat the bugs (the scorpion food source), and a cat is a good idea. I personally am allergic to cats so its not an option here, but a very good idea. You keep me laughing, you guys are good people and good parents, keep on keepin on!
Ok you need the Australian equivalent of a Flickman. http://flickpest.co.za/
They get rid of EVERYTHING. Or else you really might have to burn the house.
You can’t burn the house down because you need shelter, well unless the insurance policy is a good one, then burn away.
Also, I”m not sure I can move in now. Scorpions would make me freak the EFF out.
AHH Scorpions! I live in Vegas and we are currently in a battle with the scorpions. Last week I looked down at my 9 month old daughter sitting on the floor and she had a scorpion in her HAND! She was just looking at it, turning her hand back and forth. I freaked out! Luckily it seemed to be mostly dead. She didn’t get stung. I knocked it out of her hand, smashed it and flushed it down the toilet.
Heather — it could be worse! Check out this horrifying video of bees that have taken over some poor woman’s house….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBHNa0myibs
I’d say get the house professionally exterminated!!! and then follow up as needed with a store bought spray .
I too hate any form of bugs or creatures
get thee an exterminator!!!
… and a large glass of wine.
Hi, Heather! I hear you, sister! I hate the lizards and our old place used to have a s***load of them! Anyway, I suggest getting a pest control company to come out and spray inside and outside. They should use a non harmful chemical that isn’t harmful to you or the baby. And this type of thing does work. When we moved into our home – which was also vacant for a year, we had ants and spiders, now none on inside or out. Good luck and enjoy the house! It’s fun, but a ton of work and expenses, but it’s worth it!
I used to use my Dyson hose to suck up spiders but then I realized they weren’t always dying and they were HAVING SPIDER BABIES IN MY DYSON!!!!!!! I didn’t always empty the canister on a regular basis…oops. Talk about gross and the Dyson was too expensive to throw away. Be careful sucking them up!
YIKES!!!!! I would definitely get an exterminator but, in the meantime, I would go down to Lowe’s and get enough bug bombs for your whole house. Set them off and leave for a few hours. Then do it again in a few days.
Sounds gross but when we bought our house 13 years ago, just before we got married, the previous owners kindly did not tell us that there was a massive roach infestation. We had to bomb the house MANY times before we got it under control. It was so bad, I wouldn’t even get out of bed at night no matter how bad I had to pee. Like you, I wanted to burn the damn house down.
Megan (Best of Fates) says:
I will never understand how people can calmly accept the idea of being stung by a scorpion.
It would definitely be a situation in which I would scream and scream and scream until I either died or somebody tricked me into thinking there’d been a sudden scorpion apocalypse.
Youtube “Tequila calls pest control” – hilarious!
Nothing says it’s our house now, move on out like an exterminator…right? As I see it, it’s survival of the fittest. Show ’em who’s boss!!!
Time to call the freaking exterminator!!! I live in Austin so we have all sorts of weird bugs that I don’t even want to think about. The exterminator comes every 3 months, sprays around the outside of the house (pet safe) and BAM! no bugs.
The first thing our agent told us when we bought our house 4 months ago was to call the pest control people. The house had been vacant for 6 months and there was no telling what kind of creatures had set up homes in there. We hadn’t moved a single thing into our house before it was sprayed and the bugs evicted. I highly suggest you call Orkin or someone to get a bi-monthly service set up. The first treatment will kill the live bugs, the next will kill any that hatched in the meanwhile.
Uninvited house guests are the worst kind. Personally I’d take a Raid bath daily. (I kid, I kid. Not really.)
Get a contract going with a pest control company STAT! It is the best thing I have ever done, no more pests for me!
Just a tip for living near scorpions. Unless you are very old or a newborn, a scorpion sting is much more like a bee sting than a snake bite. Poison control usually has no advice. No doctor wants to see the owie unlees a BIG reaction. (Not that I recommend either one! It’s just a perspective I’ve found to be true and helpful to me.)
For self defense against insects you would never touch, keep handy a mop/broom handle onto which you stick a big ball of sticky side out duct tape. You can then catch the critter from a distance – it is going nowhere. I hope this helps you rest easier. I love your blog.
Becca Masters says:
I have literally just had a freak out reading the comments on this post and I am sure as hell not google-ing anything with the word spider in it!
Only last week I got trapped in my living room with a spider and I freak the hell out. I had a full blown panic attack, my heart rate was about 150bpm, I couldn’t breathe and had an asthma attack. I cried my heart out and turned to twitter and texts to my husband to come home immediately. Thankfully he was only 4 minutes away! He came home and found me crouched on our computer desk chair in floods of tears and hyperventilating!
I agree with everyone else! Exterminators! For the spiders my husband says to make sure there is no floor clutter a that’s where they like to hide. And a water spray that contains lemon juice sprayed around door and window frames and along skirting boards helps deter them as they hate lemon juice! They taste with their feet he says! Yuck!!!!
When we moved into our house the bugs were CRAZYYYYY!! We had (okay–I’m a freak) crickets all over the house. Crickets FREAK me out! I would go to bed and find 3-4 of them in there with me. I would walk down the hall and they’d be hopping every which way. And spiders…all over our playroom…which had been stacked floor to ceiling with boxes of fabric by the former owner…a total breeding ground!! I had the exterminators out over and over…now they come every 3 months, and whenever I call them back…and believe me…I am not afraid to call them back out! UGH! Scorpions! NO WAY!
OMG, how thoughtful of you to try to keep your fears from becoming your daughter’s! You are a great mom!
While I agree with the “get a cat” because many of them need a home….they aren’t resistant to the venom.
Why do I know? Living in the SW and being a vet and treating them.
But all excellent recommendations! Good luck!!!
I would get a cat if a) it wouldn’t make Rigby suicidal, and b) I wasn’t HORRIBLY HORRIBLY allergic. I love cuddly animals!
We have an exterminator come every 2 or 3 months. TOTALLY worth the $$$ – no ants, no spiders, no cockroaches, no scorpians, no NADA!