Norm’s Bug & Bee Control’s

Nighttime Blacklight & Spray Service

compares with the competition as follows:

  • Although we expect our customers to have much longer scorpion-relief than 2 months from this one-time service, we give a guarantee of free callbacks for 2 months. Competition: usually offers no guarantee.
  • We blacklight and spray. Competition normally just blacklights. Blacklighting by itself just cannot provide the guaranteeable results that make this service worthwhile.
  • We treat the entire property: inside and outside of the house; front yard, backyard and fence, with both blacklight and spray. Competition varies but does only part of what we do and only using the blacklight.
  • We start after 10:00 pm at night. Competition starts earlier; right after dark when the scorpion activity is less.
  • Because we spray and do a more thorough job than the competition we spend from 30 minutes to over an hour longer than the competition.

We service the East Valley including Queen Creek and San Tan Valley.

The following report, written by the president of Norm’s Bug & Bee Control, based in Tempe, Arizona, is for people who have been unable to get rid of scorpions in their home. Correct knowledge is an important key to eliminating the problem of scorpions in the home:
The information I provide here is poorly understood, even by many pest control technicians, mostly, of course, the inexperienced ones. I’ll be explaining scorpions’ habits, what you can do when someone is stung, how to maintain your property to minimize their presence, sealing your home, and the blacklight service that can be performed by you or a pest control company.
First some good news to keep in mind. It appears that no-one has reported having permanent physical after-effects from scorpion stings. Scorpions normally hide and are inactive during the day; are practically blind and do not like to move around unless forced to do so. When you see or hear of a scorpion running at someone, as if to attack, they actually are simply running blind and fearful. A third characteristic is they bear their young alive. This means that once you get rid of your scorpion problem, it is unlikely to come back quickly or at all as (unlike other pests around the home like crickets and cockroaches) there are no eggs to hatch later. On the negative-news side, it’s useful to know scorpions can go a long time without food; under ideal circumstances up to 6 months or longer. They are also very resistant to most pesticides. Of the many scorpions I have seen, I have never seen any jump but I have seen where they have fallen from having crawled up a tree, wall, etc.
Usually problems with scorpions occur when they are found inside the home. Although many people have scorpions outside, since they don’t see them they don’t worry about them or even think they have them. This is because they are normally active at night and don’t like to move around out in the open. Scorpion activity peaks in the humid month of August. They do not hibernate but their activity is at a minimum during the cold winter months, so much so that it just appears that they hibernate.
Enter the scorpion
A common way they enter your home is through the bottom of the hinged doors to the outside. Often that’s the front door and the door to the garage. So if you are having scorpion problems inside your home, one of the first things to check is the condition of the weather-stripping on the bottom of these hinged doors. This can be done at night with your spouse or a friend. Turn off as many lights as you can and have the other person shine a flash-light slowly and repeatedly along the bottom of the closed hinged door while you carefully observe for any light ‘leaking’ through, thereby identifying the small openings in the weather-stripping that would allow a small, thin bark scorpion to crawl through. Because scorpions have a special way of flattening their legs down, the space necessary for a small one to crawl through is deceptively smaller than one would think.
It is these small bark scorpions that have the powerful nerve-toxin. The sting of some of the larger species like the Desert Hairy are not venomous to humans. However the less venomous and larger species are frequently too big to fit under the available openings in a home unless they are in the juvenile stage when they are difficult to distinguish from their venomous cousins. So, either way, when you find them in your home, it is best to assume they are venomous and proceed accordingly.
You shouldn’t rely on door- or window-screens to keep them out of doors or windows left open. These screens are not usually tight-fitting enough and scorpions, attracted by the cool moist air, can flatten themselves down and slip in through the small openings.
Vents and lights
People often hear about scorpions coming out of air-conditioning vents or finding them in the overhead light fixtures. The concern is how big an access for scorpions is the attic into the home and what can be done about it. The short answer is the attic is not an access point for a scorpion problem and therefore nothing needs to be done.
The reasons are that the air-conditioning system is a closed system, the temperature in the attic can reach more or less 140 degrees, and is insulated. It is unlikely that scorpions at a particular house can repeatedly crawl all the way up the wall into the attic, survive the extreme heat while crawling through insulation, to find that big-enough leak in the air-conditioning system and thereby into the house through the vent.
Occasionally someone will see one crawl out of the vent. This is most likely because they didn’t see the scorpion crawl into the vent from being already inside the house. When daylight approaches scorpions will seek cover. Some may crawl behind the vent cover or into the vent itself. As things darken or if the scorpion is in someway disturbed, they’ll crawl back out giving the wrong impression that they came from the attic.
The exception to the above is when a house is new. Because it takes months for a house to be built and finally sealed, scorpions can become sealed into the attic or air-conditioning system. Over time they find their way into the home, again giving the wrong, fearful impression that they’re coming from outside into the home through the attic.
Even years after a house has been built some people have argued that they just found some dead scorpions in an overhead light fixture. Upon further investigation it is usually determined that the light fixture had not been cleaned for many years prior and that the dead scorpions most likely had been there all that time.
‘Good boy’, good mouser
It appears that cats are immune to venomous scorpions. So a good ‘mouser’ with an affinity for scorpions is a helpful pet to have. Scorpions are strange enough that their odd shape and movement seem to attract the attention of cats and a dog’s alarm instinct. Several times I’ve heard of dogs sounding the alarm over the sight of a scorpion. An example was told to me by a customer, a mom with a young child, who explained in wonder how they observed their small Russell-Terrier repeatedly try to body-slam one on the wall.
What to do, what to do
Scorpions are neutral in color and when not moving are difficult to recognize against a neutral background like the carpet and walls in many homes. I think people usually notice them when they move. Their sting is like that of a bee and leaves no mark but the area is tender and can be painful to the touch. Take note that very young children often cannot explain what has happened when they get stung. Also, children appear to be more susceptible to the nerve poison. The elderly and infirm are also more affected. Reactions can range from minor discomfort to severe and occasionally fatal. However, to help put things in perspective, it’s not rare for a healthy adult to experience nothing more than just some discomfort for a few days.
Symptoms vary from burning sensations, numbness and dizziness, loss of some muscle control and other symptoms, from a little to a lot. Over half of my customers that have been stung have experienced only a little or just some discomfort. Poison Control has 3 phone numbers that are very good to have and use in the event of any suspected stinging. The numbers are 602-253-3334, 1-800-222-1222 and 1-800-362-0101. You can find them right after the cover page of any of the Qwest phone books. Be sure to check and keep the phone numbers up-to-date in the rare event that they are changed. The poison control centers here in Arizona have a good reputation and have a good checklist they follow in determining the severity of a scorpion sting. In many stinging incidents people are advised to wait and see. The poison control center will sometimes follow up later with a call to gauge the status of a person.
If you need to go to a hospital emergency room, do so safely by using an ambulance and calling 911.
Consider too that because scorpions can repeatedly use their exposed stinger (unlike a bee that only uses it once and then dies) a scorpion sting can be dirty and can cause a local infection called a secondary infection. To minimize this, people should swab with alcohol or other disinfectant any areas stung by scorpions (and, by the way, also by ants, wasps, etc.).
Too much fear, then not enough
I am concerned that in the last few years the pendulum of fear has swung too far the other way. A few years ago I was listening to an entomologist speaking on the television saying how exaggerated the fear of scorpions was and that if you find them in your home you should somehow carefully pick them up and release them into your garden for useful pest control. At the annual continuing education classes I attended as a pest control company president, a new entomologist tried to convince a crowd of over 300 pest control applicators that it had been sensible of him to release into the nearby desert some 200 to 300 scorpions he had collected from a problem site. Putting it politely, we were clearly not convinced. A few of my customers have experienced great discomfort or pain over several days subsequent to being stung and therefore this potential should not be taken lightly.
Scorpions are nocturnal and, as I mentioned previously, almost blind. It bears repeating that they don’t lay eggs but bear their young alive; and don’t like to move around. Surprisingly, they are distantly related to the spider. Like the spider they are a hunter that does not like to move around and looks to position itself for prey to come to it. When the insect prey gets close enough or touches the scorpion’s pincers the scorpion reacts very quickly and grabs it and starts eating it and if necessary, stinging it. Using a blacklight, you can sometimes find a scorpion crawling slowly around the outside perimeter of the house or fence, guiding itself by using its pincers like a blind person’s cane, perhaps following the source of cool air leaking out. Often when in a hunting mood they position themselves a few inches above the ground facing head down. During the day they will retire sometimes under the flashing that connects the stucco wall of the house to the foundation slab. So here is another reason to teach your young children as soon as possible to avoid putting their fingers into places they can not see like when turning rocks over and so forth. Instead use your shoe or a stick, etc.
Let’s summarize here that since they don’t move around much unless disturbed and they bear their young alive – no eggs, that once you successfully exterminate them on a property they normally do not come back for a long time, if at all. In my opinion, repeated monthly scorpion service should not be necessary when properly done.
Is the typical regular residential service useful at all against scorpions?
Against the occasional scorpion yes but not against a significant scorpion problem. A good service that successfully keeps a home free of pest problems helps because it therefore eliminates the scorpions’ food supply. However, please remember scorpions can go months without food or water. Also, although scorpions are very resistant to the daytime use of many or most pesticides, they are adversely affected by repeated exposure to pesticides. In fact, some scorpions are bound to be killed by daytime spraying, especially if there’s a fortuitous direct hit! In other words, please do not think they’re completely immune or unaffected by pesticides!
So, elimination off food (bugs), repeated exposure to regular application of good pesticides and good landscaping advice can certainly make periodic pest control service helpful against the occasional scorpion.
Daytime spraying to treat for scorpions problems
is still not satisfactory enough for someone with a scorpion problem. If someone has experienced satisfactory scorpion control from a daytime treatment, please be sure to call me. I promise to make it worth your while. I would love to successfully treat for scorpions during the daytime and avoid having to work at night. I’ve tried different daytime treatments with only occasional satisfactory success. Diatomaceous Earth, granules, etc. are of limited value.
Many pest control companies claim that their ordinary periodic service includes control for scorpions but I believe the results are still less than satisfactory. When the day comes that scorpions can be controlled safely and satisfactorily during the daytime, I want to be the first to know.
‘Poor man’s’ scorpion control
While they may be unsightly and not entirely solve your problem, an affordable big help is insect glue traps. They can come in sheets that you fold up after you remove the wax paper covering the glue. Buy a box of them. After folding them up, place two just inside each door (one on either side of the door) to every room and bathroom, up against the wall. This way they’re not so visible from the visiting areas like the living room and dining room.
Be sure that when you place the glue trap against the wall that it is oriented so that the scorpion will casually crawl in as it walks along the corner where the floor meets the wall. Being poor-sighted, the scorpion does not like open areas and much prefers the safety and guidance along where the floor meets the wall.
Getting into the groove
This flashing groove, outside, at the bottom of a home’s stuccoed wall where it meets the foundation of the house is one of the places where scorpions like to reside during the daylight hours and is an important place that scorpion-sealing companies caulk. This can also be a good do-it-yourself job but to do it neatly in a way that does not detract from the look of your valuable house usually takes quite some time and can be expensive as a lot of caulking material needs to be used. Quality caulking material makes an important difference and is what should be used. I don’t recommend using the insulating foam you can buy in a can. Although it can be cheap and convenient it can be difficult to work with, messy and unsightly. And the easy-to-clean latex foam is even worse for this kind of job because it is ineffective in firmly expanding and sticking. If you use a small mirror to observe this flashing groove you will see places where the stucco-finish is cracked and has gaps. This allows scorpions and their insect prey to get into the house in those areas that may not be sealed off with molding inside, like behind the kitchen counters and bathroom cabinets that are attached to the house’s external walls.
If you do hire a sealing service, be sure they use quality caulking. If pesticides are not being used there is no requirement for a pest control license and so you have to be careful that the company you use knows scorpions’ habits and behavior. I do recommend the use of pesticides in conjunction with sealing. Although expensive, a sealing job is a valuable investment because when you decide to sell your home, you can declare to real estate agents, potential buyers and others that although your home is in a known scorpion neighborhood, your home has been successfully sealed, thereby substantially increasing the final sales price of your home.
The whole sealing job can be done professionally and costs approximately from $800 to $1,500 for the average sized home. My company has successfully worked for over 15 years with a reliable company that specializes in sealing homes.
Yard work
Another important area that a home owner can take care of is any harborage areas outside the home. For example, eliminating any leaf litter that has collected under bushes; trimming or ‘shaving’ palm trees a few feet above the ground; eliminating or keeping ground-covering plants like myoporum to a minimum and well trimmed, and also rocks or anything else that may harbor scorpions, specially if there is a space or a crack into or under which they can crawl. A tidy landscape helps minimize hiding places for scorpions. A notorious place is in the columns supporting block fences, those that are bare and have not been sealed by stucco. Scorpion-sealing services do not include this in their regular service. I suspect because of expense and because it is difficult to make it look nice.
It is expensive to stucco a block fence and to just seal the false column can be unsightly and time-consuming for the do-it yourselfer. In this situation a good pesticide used safely or a good pest control service makes sense.
Pest control services
My company provides a night-time blacklight and spray service with a two month guarantee at a fraction of the cost of sealing your home. Late at night, we first blacklight-inspect your entire property, inside and out, trapping the insects as we find them. Then we go back and spray, using a special insecticide that we’ve had great success with. It can take up to 2 or more hours to complete this service. Because the spraying is done at night and, as mentioned previously, scorpions don’t lay eggs that would hatch days later and they don’t move around much (like spiders), the effects of this one-time, night-time service should successfully last for much longer than the 2 month guarantee period; under ideal circumstances even years.
We treat the inside and outside of the house, the front and back yards, and the fence with both the black light and spray service. Spraying pesticide at night has a significant advantage. The chemical stays at full-strength until the sun comes up hours later. This is very helpful in exterminating most or all of the few remaining scorpions that will usually move around during that time.
If you do use a company for the nighttime blacklight service be sure you clearly understand if they will be just using the black light and/or spraying. Will they be servicing just the inside of the house and/or just the outside of the house, and not the front and back yards or fence? How long will the service take? Also, since the service requires additional skill and experience, when making the appointment and also when the technician arrives, test the pest control technician’s knowledge by asking him questions, such as how will he/she be spraying it differently from the chemicals used in regular service; how much experience doing this service does he/she have? If you are not satisfied with the answers say ‘no’ to the service.
To better insure the treatment’s success your pest control man should diligently spray into cracks and crevices as well as some of the usual perimeter spraying. As I mentioned, a common problem area is the column of bare block fences. The connecting vertical cracks on either side of each of these columns should be sprayed. Surfaces where children might play on or that dogs run around on must not be sprayed.
Our night-time service includes the use of a black light. The blacklight works by lighting up the scorpion a bright, unusual florescent green. This makes them easy to see and pick up, and helps to identify the trouble spots on the property. For the do-it-yourselfer the blacklight is a good project. The closer to midnight or later you use it the better. Use a long set of tweezers to stab them or pick them up before they run away. Using a hammer to strike them has a high failure rate so I don’t recommend it.
Picking a pest control company
I believe people give up too soon in looking for a good scorpion control technician. I think this is because they are unclear on how to approach the subject of picking the right company.
It helps to clear things up when a person understands that most pest control companies are technician-driven. In other words, a good experienced technician who provides reliable, effective service is a big plus for a company. Unfortunately there is a lot of turnover and furthermore, for business reasons, technicians are typically restricted geographically by their route. So be sure the technician isn’t new on the job, alone, untrained and/or unsupervised. Getting rid of scorpions does take some skill.
However, another possibility is to check with others in your neighborhood first and then other people you know. Your  neighbors first because usually if you have a scorpion problem you’re not the only one. Ask them if they’ve had a problem with scorpions and if they’ve successfully eliminated them. If so, how long has it been since they were eliminated? The longer the better. Ask for the name of the technician and get his or her company phone number. Ask specifically for that technician and mention the customer/neighbor who referred you. This is the power of networking giving you the added leverage of the company making sure to keep two customers happy and the company knowing you aren’t afraid to communicate with others – for or against. The success of my company comes mostly from word of mouth.
In talking to neighbors who have not had a scorpion problem but get regular pest control service, get the name and company phone number of the technician if they have used the same technician for at least a couple of years and are very happy with him/her. I once offered my services to the neighbor of one of my customers. She had used the same pest control man for 17 years at her three different homes and was very satisfied. Even I asked her for his name and phone number. You never know how even some one like me, a pest control company owner, might benefit from his services some day. There isn’t a whole lot that such an individual can’t take care of in the right way.
If people in your neighborhood can’t provide a satisfactory contact, then it’s time to ask other people you know. Just remember that it’s of less value to you to use a company that has an excellent technician but whose route precludes him/her from servicing your problem. With this approach you really shouldn’t have much of a problem finding the right technician for you.
I hope this report has answered your concerns and that you successfully eliminate the scorpion problem in your home. My best wishes to you.
Written by Norman Nipperus, author & president of Norm’s Bug & Bee Control at .
Permission is granted to copy, reprint and distribute this report as long as the entire above byline is included.