Here in Austin, Texas, scorpions occasionally slide underneath the smallest cracks under our backdoor. Luckily, they aren’t poisonous, and our dog barks and warns us when it happens. But we can’t figure out why they keep appearing. We have a potted Meyer lemon tree next to the door, so I was wondering if that could be it. Do citrus trees attract scorpions? I did some research to find out more.
Citrus trees attract scorpions mainly because the other insects that scorpions prey on are attracted to the fruit. Citrus trees also provide scorpions with cover and shade from predators and the heat. Additionally, in dry regions like Arizona, citrus trees are a common source of food and water for scorpions.
So, while citrus trees indirectly attract scorpions, what are some other reasons why citrus trees are more popular for scorpions than other trees, and how can you keep scorpions away? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Are Scorpions Attracted to Citrus Trees?
While scorpions don’t eat citrus fruit, citrus trees attract plenty of other bugs, which scorpions prey on. Additionally, the citrus tree’s thick foliage will help protect scorpions from the heat and getting eaten by predators like birds. To keep scorpions at bay, keep your citrus trees pruned and the yard clean.
In dry and barren regions (the native environment for scorpions), such as parts of Arizona and Texas, scorpions sometimes have to travel great distances to find food and water. Since citrus trees are popular in these areas, they create a prime environment for scorpions.
Here are some of the reasons why scorpions are attracted to citrus trees:
- Regular watering
- Fruit attracts a variety of bugs
- Thick foliage for scorpions to hide or nest
Because of these benefits, citrus trees provide a sort of oasis for scorpions in an otherwise resource-poor landscape.
So, while citrus trees attract scorpions, are there any other trees or structures on your property that will also attract them?
What Attracts Scorpions?
If you live in a climate that’s native to scorpions, and your property has any of the following, there’s a chance it will attract at least a couple of scorpions.
- Other bugs
- Ground Cover
- Citrus Trees
- Palm Trees
- Food that’s left out
Additionally, scorpions prefer temperatures ranging between 68-99ºF, so if it’s currently hotter or cooler, they’ll likely try to seek shelter indoors. In my house, there’s only a small space underneath the door (the thickness of a credit card), but somehow scorpions can squeeze through.
Does Mulch Attract Scorpions?
Mulch can definitely attract scorpions as it provides a great ground cover for them. However, scorpions don’t like cedar, so if you’d like to use a mulch that helps repel scorpions, then consider using cedar mulch for your yard or garden.
Citrus trees can greatly benefit from mulching as it retains water and shades the soil from drying out in the hot sun. So, using cedar mulch can benefit citrus trees while also repelling scorpions. Just remember to not let the mulch touch the citrus tree directly as it can spread fungus and disease to the tree.
How To Keep Scorpions Away
Scorpions can squeeze through the small, credit card-sized space under our door, so they can likely squeeze themselves through many other places too.
For this reason, I wouldn’t suggest going crazy with caulking and sealing all of the cracks and crevices in your house. It’s going to be a lot of work, and scorpions will likely still find another way in.
If it makes you feel better, there are very few poisonous scorpions. Here in Texas, there aren’t any poisonous scorpions. Odds are, it’s likely the same in your area. While no one wants to get stung by a scorpion, it’s similar to a bee sting, so it’s comparable to simply having a loose bee in the house.
However, if you’d like to take preventive measures and reduce or eliminate the chances that scorpions slip into your house, there are some solutions. Some are obvious (like insecticides), but if you’re looking for a more natural approach, here are a few ideas.
- Keep the yard and garden debris free
- Keep the house clean and free of food crumbs
- Essential oils (Lavender, Cinnamon, and Cedar)
If you’re using essential oils, they should be diluted to 10% in water. Simply put the solution in a spray bottle and spray the places that scorpions normally enter through and they’ll turn right around.
For more tips on how to naturally keep scorpions away, check out this post by Cedarcide.
If you’re interested in learning more about scorpions, their behavior, and how to keep them away, check out this video by AZ Life Cooking.
We ended up moving our potted Meyer lemon tree away from the backdoor and we haven’t seen any scorpions since. However, it’s also winter, so the weather could likely have something to do with it too.
Like most insects, scorpions are generally misunderstood. While they can be scary, they help keep other bugs away and are typically as harmless as a loose bee in the house. However, if you find yourself with an infestation, then taking some extreme measures is more warranted.
Before opting for pesticides or insecticides, I’d suggest taking a permaculture-like approach and inviting scorpion predators to visit. Some of the most common are lizards and birds. For example, install some birdhouses near your citrus trees. This will encourage the birds to feed on the scorpions and will naturally reduce or eliminate the scorpion population hanging around or in your citrus trees.