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November 27, 2014

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How to deal with scorpions

Image

A scorpion is shown in this 2011 file photo.

You can live in Las Vegas for years and never see a scorpion. It’s true. People have done it.

But it’s also true that you can stick your foot in your favorite sneaker and get stung by a scorpion that has crawled into it. Or turn on the light and catch one skulking around the kitchen.

The evil-looking bugs are all over the Las Vegas desert, and they frequently make their way inside homes. Why do they come in? What can be done to keep them out? And what if you or your pet gets stung? Read on …

ONE WAY TO KILL SCORPIONS

Get a pet chicken. No joke, chickens eat scorpions. Then again, chickens make lousy house pets. So there’s that.

ONE WAY TO TRAP SCORPIONS

Leave a wet towel in the middle of your floor. There’s a chance the bugs will crawl under it in search of water and a hiding place.

THEY CAN BE TINY

A scorpion can squeeze through an opening as small as a paper clip.

WHAT THEY SEEK

Scorpions, like most living and breathing creatures, like food and water. Human dwellings provide both: droplets of water in sinks and showers and food in the form of other insects that also have come into homes. Scorpions are most active during warm periods when temperatures are above 75 degrees — although some species can survive highs of 122 degrees and lows of -13.

ELIMINATING THEM

Scorpions glow yellow green under black light. Use one to inspect your house or backyard, then suck them up with a vacuum. Calling an exterminator is the most effective way to get rid of scorpions, but you also can try to keep them away by clearing your yard of places where they can hide — rocks and mulch — and keeping the place dry. That’s a big one.

YES, THEY STING

Scorpion stings in this part of the world are almost never fatal, but they’re often intensely painful and can cause significant medical problems.

Symptoms include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, trouble breathing, weakness, muscle twitching, and intense pain followed by hours of numbness or tingling.

What to do after a sting:

• Children: The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking immediate medical attention anytime a child is stung.

• Adults: Seek medical attention only if the symptoms become severe. Otherwise, apply a cold pack, elevate the area above the sting if possible and ride it out.

• Pets: Apply a cold pack and keep them from scratching or biting the place where they were stung. If they’re really struggling, go immediately to an acute animal care provider.

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