Caution: attempt only at your own risk!
Scorpions you will typically encounter will range in size from 1.5in to 4.75in lengthwise. The stinger at the end of the tail is the only dangerous part since they can use it to inject their venom into you. Don’t try to kill a scorpion if you are squeamish or are afraid of them as your fear may cause you to lose focus and accidentally get stung by mishandling them. Don’t let children attempt to handle or kill scorpions. Definitely, don’t attempt to kill or handle a scorpion if you or someone else are allergic to spider bites or known to be allergic to scorpion stings or believe you or they may be. Instead, call a professional pest control person to get rid of them for you. Sometimes, you have no choice but to kill a scorpion when you find one inside your home and don’t have the time to call a professional or one won’t be available until after a holiday weekend much less the same day. By then, you might lose the scorpion and it could make its way into other living areas of your house like your shoes or carpet where you are likely to physically encounter them and get stung by accidentally stepping near them barefoot or picking up an object off the floor that they latched onto, for instance.
The objective when killing a scorpion will be to smash them. Gather materials you will need: a blunt, flat object like the sole of a heavy shoe, tongs, a sealable sandwich bag and a pair of shoes for you to wear if you are not wearing some already. If you need to go and grab these you might lose track of them. They are very hard to find in carpeting and shadowy areas; ask someone else to just keep an eye on them from afar. When alone, you may be able to temporarily corral them with a cup or bowl until you can return. Just be careful when you remove the corral as they may have crawled onto it. Should you lose sight of the scorpion, see our post “How to easily find a scorpion“. When you spot one on the ceiling or wall, move away objects that are underneath them so that when they fall, they will not fall onto or into something that will make it difficult to access and allow them to hide. Certainly, don’t stand directly underneath a scorpion or allow other parts of your body like arms and feet to be under the scorpion lest they fall on you. Obviously, the same goes for others. It’s a good idea to secure your dog or cat as they may get stung if they get too close to the scorpion as it falls to the floor or moves. You will want to knock them down from up-high to the ground to get yourself into a better position for smashing them. In that case, a long pole or broom will be useful. Be careful about what you may be smashing them against. Smashing them against a white wall with low-luster, eggshell paint might leave a spot and fabrics may be stained from their natural oils and proteins. Consider the properties of what you are going to smash them with and where they may land or already are positioned. For example, if a scorpion is in a corner on the floor, the large rounded corners of a boot will not fit into the corner and your attempts to smash them will fail, whereas the square nature of a large book still gives you the distance you need to keep from their stinger and fits nicely into a corner and will perform more effectively.
Once smashed, never handle a dead or alive scorpion with your bare hands. You might hold them wrong, and if still alive due to a non-fatal strike, they can still grasp you with their pincers and then you drop them onto yourself or they maneuver their tail to sting you. Instead, use tongs to pick up the dead scorpion and any pieces and put them into a sealable sandwich-type bag ensuring that as you place them into the container, you do not come into contact with any liquids or parts. Placing them in a bag adds a barrier between yourself and their digestive juices and especially their poisonous venom sac at the end of the tail that you may have burst. Handle the bag by the top, not the bottom where their remains will be. Properly dispose of the bag in your outdoors garbage can and secure the lid. You don’t want to put them into your household garbage can because household pets like cats and dogs may be curious and investigate, other household members like children might also want to take it out and look or someone may try to push the trash down and get stung by an in-tact stinger. It would also be bad if you didn’t really kill them and they crawl out somehow.
Skewering a scorpion with a long, thin, sharply pointed object may not immediately kill a scorpion. They should eventually die, but you don’t want a writhing poisonous insect to wriggle off of the skewer. In their writhing, their tail and stinger will swing around wildly and you could get stung. Also, the longer time it takes for them to die is cruel and they should be dispatched as fast as possible with another method instead.
Poisons such as insecticides are usually spray based and should be avoided. Aerosol cans of insecticide can pollute the air in your living space with the liquid in the form of tiny droplets that might then be inhaled and can settle on surfaces throughout your house. Who wants insecticide on their cutting board or falling into a drink or tracked throughout the house if sprayed onto the floor where you may walk barefoot? Some insecticides may even be carcinogenic and the death of an insect is not worth getting cancer one day and dying yourself!
Be reasonable, don’t try to be brave and cut the stinger off with a knife while they are alive and handle it. much less then try to kill the scorpion by eating it like on T.V. survival shows.
Lastly, consider whether you really need to kill a scorpion. If they are nowhere near your home or campsite and are outside in their natural habitat, and are not a threat to you or your loved ones, you can safely leave it alone and will probably never see it again in the near future.