Q. Is it true that daddy longlegs are the most poisonous spider in the world, but they can’t hurt you because they have little fangs?
A. This is a great playground legend. All spiders are classified by having eight legs, two body segments and mouth parts (chelicerae) that inject venom. Daddy longlegs, also known as harvestmen, actually have no venom glands in their mouth parts. Therefore, not only can they not be spiders, they cannot be the most poisonous in the world. Spiders belong to the scientific order of Araneae, while daddy longlegs belong to Opiliones. So pick them up, let them crawl on your arm and impress your friends with your “bravery.”
Q. How long can I leave carrots in the ground during fall?
A. Summer-planted carrots may be left in the ground until a killing frost. Some gardeners place a straw mulch over the rows so that carrots can be harvested until the ground freezes solid. In the Columbia Basin, this could be late into the fall or mid-winter.
Q. Is it too late to fertilize my lawn?
A. No, the end of October or early November is one of the most important times of year to fertilize your lawn.
Q. From a nutritional standpoint, how can I prepare my cow herd for winter?
A. Assess the body condition of your herd. This can be done using the nine-point scale of body condition for beef cows. Body condition has a direct effect on the efficiency of reproduction in your herd. Livestock specialists at your local Washington State University Extension offices can provide resources and guidance to accurately assess body condition. Before entering the rigors of winter, it is best that your cows are in moderate body condition (body condition 4 to 6) and that the cows subsequently calve in that approximate body condition (spring-calving cows).
Beef cows are resilient, and if they enter the winter in sufficient body condition, it is not uncommon for them to “cycle weight” and lose a full body condition score or more, and still be in acceptable body condition at calving.
Another good tip is to separate cows into groups based on age and body condition, such as heifers, thin cows and mature cows in good condition. By doing this, you will be able to save valuable feed resources and maintain good reproduction for your herd.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.