Las Vegas, located in the Mojave Desert, is home to various species of scorpions. These arachnids have been living in the valley for millions of years and are well-adapted to the arid climate. While scorpion stings are painful, they are rarely life-threatening. By learning about the common species found in the area and understanding where they like to hide, Las Vegas residents can take steps to prevent encounters.
Common Scorpion Species in Las Vegas
There are a few scorpion species commonly found in and around Las Vegas homes:
The Arizona bark scorpion is the most common scorpion in Las Vegas. It has a light brown color and can grow up to 3 inches long. This scorpion is the most venomous in North America. Its venom can cause severe pain, numbness, and swelling. While very painful, healthy adults rarely have life-threatening reactions. However, medical attention should be sought, especially for stings to children and the elderly.
Desert Hairy Scorpion
The desert hairy scorpion has a dark color and can grow up to 5 inches long. It has thicker pincers than other species in the region. While its sting is painful, it is less venomous than the bark scorpion. This scorpion is common to the Las Vegas valley.
Giant Hairy Scorpion
As the name implies, the giant hairy scorpion is the largest in the area, growing up to 7 inches long. It has a black color. This scorpion’s venom is relatively mild compared to smaller species. Still, its large size allows it to inject significant amounts of venom when it stings.
Smaller than other species at 2-3 inches long, the striped scorpion has distinctive lighter stripes on its back. Found in southwest states, this scorpion lives in burrows in the ground. Its sting causes mild to moderate pain.
The emperor scorpion is one of the largest scorpion species in the world, with adults reaching 8 inches long. Native to Africa, this scorpion is sometimes kept as an exotic pet. If an emperor scorpion escapes or is released, it can potentially survive in the Las Vegas climate. Though venomous, their stings are comparable to a bee sting.
Where to Find Scorpions in Las Vegas
Scorpions are nocturnal and tend to hide in dark, cool spaces during the hot days. At night, they emerge from their hiding spots to hunt for food. Here are the top places scorpions can be found in and around Las Vegas homes:
In Yard Debris
Stacks of wood, piles of leaves, compost heaps, and other yard debris make ideal hiding spots for scorpions. Be sure to wear thick gloves and inspect these areas thoroughly before reaching in with bare hands. Scorpions may cling to the underside of debris as well.
Under Rocks and Logs
Scorpions take shelter under rocks, logs, and other objects resting on the ground. Carefully turn over these items when looking for scorpions. Remember to replace the object after inspection so their habitat is not disturbed.
The shaded, cool area under porches and decks is attractive to scorpions. Use caution when stepping in these areas, especially at night. Install weather stripping around the base of porches to seal gaps scorpions can use to access these spaces.
In Crawl Spaces
Crawl spaces offer protection from light and heat. Scorpions may find their way into crawl spaces through small cracks in the foundation. Seal any openings with caulk or foam sealant. Be very cautious when entering crawl spaces and inspect thoroughly. Wear gloves and have a flashlight.
Small gaps where walls meet floors or ceilings are large enough for scorpions to squeeze through. Carefully shine a flashlight in these narrow spaces. Scorpions may cling to the backside, so be prepared when removing baseboards for inspection.
Under Home Siding
Overlapping sections of siding can create openings for scorpions to enter. Use expanding foam in larger gaps to seal the home exterior. Periodically check siding for new gaps that may develop over time.
Among Potted Plants
The cool, damp soil of potted plants is an environment scorpions find hospitable. Always wear gloves when handling pots and thoroughly inspect the lip of the planter and surface of the soil before touching contents.
Inside Shoes and Clothing
Scorpions may crawl into shoes left outside or clothes piled on the floor. Always shake out these items before use. Store shoes in sealed containers and don’t leave clothing on the floor.
In Attics and Garages
Attics and garages tend to be warm, dry, and dark, which suits scorpions quite well. Install weather stripping around attic hatchways and garage door bottoms to deter entry. Thoroughly inspect boxes and storage containers in these areas before reaching inside.
The space under desks, dressers, beds, and other furniture offers shade and seclusion for scorpions. Carefully lift furniture and inspect with a flashlight before placing hands near the floor or ground. Keep furniture a few inches from walls.
In Bathtubs and Sinks
Scorpions sometimes find their way into bathtubs and sinks through drains connected to sewer lines. Keep drain covers closed when not in use. Inspect thoroughly if reaching into an unused tub or sink.
Scorpions can crawl into vehicles through small openings. Always inspect thoroughly under seats and in compartments before reaching in. Keep doors and windows tightly sealed when parked.
In Pool Equipment
The enclosed, humid environment of pool pump and filter equipment is an ideal habitat for scorpions. Use extreme caution when servicing pool equipment and wear thick gloves. Inspect closely before reaching in to avoid surprise encounters.
Tips for Avoiding Scorpions in Las Vegas Homes
While scorpions are common in the Las Vegas area, there are steps homeowners can take to make properties less attractive:
- Install weather stripping around doors, windows, and wherever gaps exist along foundations. Caulk and seal openings along siding, around porches, patio overhangs, and pipes or wiring entering the home. This helps prevent access from outside.
- Keep lawn and gardens well-maintained. Eliminate leaf litter, clear piles of debris, and prune vegetation back from the home’s exterior walls. This takes away humidity and potential hiding spots right next to the foundation.
- Manage moisture around the home. Fix leaky plumbing, avoid excessive landscape watering, and use disinfectants to prevent condensation in AC systems. Scorpions prefer damp areas.
- Install screens with very small openings on windows and vents. Use sealant foam around pipe and wire penetrations. This helps keep scorpions from crawling into the home unseen.
- Check shoes and clothing before use. Do not leave apparel and towels on the floor. Keep bedding folded when not on the bed. This prevents scorpions from hiding in fabrics.
- Move and thoroughly inspect items stored in attics, basements, garages, and sheds before retrieving. Do not put bare hands into openings. Wear gloves for added protection.
- Manage food sources for scorpions like insects and rodents. Keep counters and floors clean and store food in sealed containers. This removes incentives for scorpions to enter the home.
- Ask pest control professionals about interior and exterior scorpion treatments. Effective pest control helps reduce populations around the home.
What to Do if Stung by a Scorpion
Seek emergency care immediately if stung, especially children and elderly. For mild stings:
- Wash the sting area with soap and water to help reduce risk of infection. Do not apply ointments or creams.
- Apply a cool compress to relieve swelling and pain. Avoid hot compresses which can speed venom absorption.
- Take OTC pain relievers as needed for discomfort. Oral antihistamines may provide relief from itching.
- Note if any numbness develops and monitor for difficulty breathing, which may indicate a severe reaction requiring medical intervention.
- Capture or take a photo of the scorpion if possible for identification. The color and size can help determine the species to ensure proper treatment.
- Contact pest control professionals to eliminate scorpions at the property and help prevent future stings. Effective scorpion control is extremely important after encountering one.
Scorpions are common pests in the Las Vegas valley that homeowners should be aware of. Their venomous stings can have serious effects but are rarely fatal. There are several species adapted to the desert climate that seek refuge in cool, dark spaces. Being watchful when outside and proactive to pest-proof the home can help residents avoid encounters. If stung, promptly seek medical care, capture the scorpion, and have appropriate pest control treatments applied. With proper vigilance and prevention, Las Vegans can peacefully co-exist with these ancient denizens of the desert.