This bright Sunday morning, I wanted to enjoy my coffee. So, I encouraged my son to please pull out the tiny toy bin we keep in the living room to play until I finished….
He resisted. He wanted me to turn on a Super Hero Show. He wanted to play dress up. Besides, the cats were all over his tiny little wooden toy box.
I noticed that the two cats were acting like there was something very interesting in our son’s little toy box ( A Melissa And Doug Tray with some train items in it). So, I went to check it out.
I saw what looked like a 1 inch pincher jut in and out of the grates. I was pretty sure it was probably a scorpion.
I asked the kids to get back and to sit on the couch.
I ran to the kitchen and dumped out all of my stacked tupperware until I got to the biggest one on the bottom.
(I also might have grabbed my camera on the way back to the living room. Hey, I blog. And it was on the way.)
The cats were still poking at something under the mini-trains. I didn’t want it to get away to possibly sting us later.
So, I ran back and grabbed two oven mitts so I wouldn’t get stung.
I picked up the crate with the oven mitts and carried it to the door.
I dumped out the tray and scoured the toys while ripping off those mitts to see what I thought would be a scorpion.
It was a red-headed centipede, about 5 inches long and like a thief who had reconnoitered my home, he darted (like a bullet- those things can MOVE) for the wall and tried to hide behind a bookshelf.
But, I managed to throw that tupperware bowl over him before he could get away.
I was able to scoot him out the door with the tupperware, and I can’t say that I mercifully let him live. I used to be much more forgiving, even releasing scorpions, centipedes and tarantulas we found in our home back outdoors into undeveloped lots-
But, I also found that they seemed to keep coming back our way.
The purpose of this post is not to extol any particularly maternal valor in the face of a fearsome arthropod.
It is more to relay that there may be some indicators to be on the lookout for as parents, and ways to handle situations like this if they happen to you. I’m not a bug expert, pest expert nor do I have any other expert-y qualifications- But, I’ll tell you about our circumstances and maybe you’ll find that helpful.
YOUR HOME IS MORE AT RISK FOR PESTS LIKE THESE IF:
- You live in a less populated or less developed area. I’m sure there are some, but I haven’t seen many of these red-headed guys in the Starbucks parking lot.
- There is construction going on near you that is overturning earth and displacing pests from their homes.
- There is land near you that is poorly maintained. (Not that we have land like that- but it’s something to look out for). If someone should be cutting the grass, then do what you can to make sure they cut it. Not cutting it makes it a menace for you.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND OR ARE AT RISK OF FINDING PESTS IN YOUR HOME:
- Don’t Panic. If it’s just you and your kids, and you’ve got a scorpion, centipede or tarantula in your home- you could call someone, but the odds are good the thing will be gone before they get a chance to help you out.
- Contain It. If you can, find a way to contain the thing without touching it. You can figure out if you’re gonna let it go or kill the thing, later. I know it’s not comforting, but centipede, tarantula, and scorpion bites are supposed to hurt like the dickens but are not likely to be fatal (unless, of course, you’re wildly allergic to the thing- or it’s one of the 25 scorpion species of a thousand that actually IS quite dangerous to humans.)
- Consult a pest control technician. We’re not into using lots of chemicals and we try to keep a natural lifestyle as much as possible, but we live in a developing area ripe with pests bearing a painful bite. We use a trusted company who also provides information about what pest control measures they are taking. They spray the perimeter of our home- and when we need some help inside the home, we use sparing service measures as needed.
- Employ Glue Traps Throughout the House. Use LOTS of glue traps at entrances and along walls and in dark, enclosed areas. We put them behind recliners, under armoires, behind the toilets, in corners, under beds, by major entrances and on the pantry floor. (If there is any question about whether glue traps work, check out this one from last year that we pulled from the garage door entrance into our home- after we found a centipede in the bathroom going after the scorpion in the glue trap behind the toilet.)
- Button Up Your House. This is something we’re constantly trying to improve. We have a suspicion those pesky “breathing” holes that “let the house breathe” are some of the wonderful ways these critters are coming into the house when new homes go up around us. We can’t do too much about that. But, we noticed some small gaps by the bottom of the front door that probably let some pests in- and we’ve sealed those up with caulking.
- Check Clothes And Shoes Before Putting Them On You Or Your Kids. Since the pests love dark cubbies and corners, we’ve started checking our own and the kids’ shoes before putting them on. I inspect and touch their clothes before they put them on as well.
- You can always call your local Animal Control Services! A friend of mine had them on speed dial. She found a coiled baby rattlesnake in her backyard in the bed of her son’s toy dumptruck. She threw a bucket over it and sat there and waited until the city’s animal control specialist came to take care of it. For Laredoans, go here to get contact info for the Animal Control.
- Get Informed About The Pests In Your Area. One of my fave sites to help ID pests we come across in our area is on the Orkin Learning Center Pest Library: Common Household Pests Page. (This is NOT a sponsored post, by the way).
- AND….LAST TIP: Browse The Toy Bin On Occasion, especially if you have animals that appear to have a spritely, newfound and vigorous interest in Batman, Thomas the Train and his pal, Percy.
I say, Again,- I’m not a bug or pest-control expert so please take from this post what you will. I’m just a red-oven-mitt-wearing mom doing Indiana Jones Tupperware Ju Jitsu moves on an ugly arthropod in way- too-close-for-comfort-proximity of my beloved progeny.
Good luck to you!
May The Glue Traps Be With You!
WHAT OTHER TIPS OR INDICATORS CAN YOU THINK OF?
HAVE YOU HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES?