Las Vegas families fighting back scorpion invasion
The Arizona bark scorpion arrived in southern Nevada via palm trees and other landscaping. (Elizabeth Watts/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
There are 23 species of scorpions in the Las Vegas Valley. Most aren't a concern, but one is - the Arizona bark scorpion. It isn't native to the region and arrived on palm trees and other desert landscaping. A single palm tree can be infested with hundreds of the venomous creatures.
Some families are dealing with infestations.
Danyelle Lorenzo and her husband have three young children and cats. Each night she goes out in her yard armed with a black light and a stake to rid her home of scorpions.
"They are in our house, outside in the yard, by the cars, in our garage. They are everywhere, even under the sink. There isn't a spot they haven't been yet," Lorenzo said.
Sometimes she finds five a night and said one of her cats was killed after being stung twice.
Lorenzo is a renter and said her landlord refuses to pay for her pest control, so they're looking to move in the next few months. She wants other families looking to move to ask questions about infestations before signing on the dotted line.
She said her family has had to change their way of life. They wear shoes all the time just in case and she has to go through the house, toy boxes and all, with a black light to make sure there are no scorpions.
Bark scorpions are the most venomous in the United States.
They can be especially dangerous to the sick and elderly and children younger than 18 months.
Entomologist Grady Jones gives advice on how to protect a baby while in the crib.
"Put jars on the bottom of the crib posts. They can't climb up smooth surfaces like that. Make sure there are no blankets hanging, and keep the crib away from the wall where scorpions do easily climb," he said.
Jones, from Western Exterminator, added it's easy for the scorpions to invade Valley homes because of how they were built.
"There are ledges all the way around the homes. In those ledges, every four inches is a hole. So they radiate out from the palm trees and landscaping and hit the house in those holes. Go up inside the walls into the attic, and it becomes a real problem," Jones said.
Jones added people may go years without seeing a single scorpion in the neighborhood, but if a neighbor brings in a new palm tree or landscaping, that can all change.
Jones said many families use black light hunts as a way to stop being so fearful of the creatures and take back control, but they have to be careful. And since scorpions only leave their burrows 20% of their lives, it can be a good way to get a handle on the problem.
Families are advised to get their properties sprayed by experts regularly.
Don't leave shoes or gloves outside, and if you have to, make sure to shake them out really well before putting on.
If you have palm trees, have them shaved at least eight feet high. Otherwise there are all kinds of spots for scorpions to hide, and it's hard for even experts to get control.
Most scorpions are territorial, but bark scorpions are not. They live among each other very easily and can multiply quickly. Each spring and fall, the females can have up to 15 babies hanging on their backs. They even eat them if necessary.
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