Brown recluse spiders
These spiders are reclusive, but they will bite if they are against your skin and movement is restricted. For example, if you put on a shirt with a spider in the sleeve, it will probably feel restricted and bite. Unfortunately, a brown recluse bite is serious and requires a visit to a doctor.
Brown recluse spiders vary in color with abdomens that may be straw-colored, pinkish-gray, pale to medium brown, or slate gray. They have one distinctive characteristic – a dark, violin-shaped pattern on the front of the back. The neck of the violin points toward the rear of the arachnid.
These spiders are so named due to their reclusiveness. Areas in garages, storerooms, basements and sheds that receive very little in the way of traffic are prime spots for these critters to set up housekeeping. The nooks and crannies of old cardboard boxes seem to be one of their favorite places to hide, along with debris piles and collections of old rags or clothing. The vents on the back of old air conditioner units are another excellent accommodation for these nasty little creatures.
Though structurally tight houses are less likely to have brown recluse populations, any home may be invaded. Houses with a number of unreachable spots may have standing populations that are difficult or impossible to eliminate. In such cases, it is important to reduce numbers and minimize the chances of being bitten.
Two strategies may help. Take advantage of the spiders’ daily rhythm. Brown recluse normally hide during the day and don't come out until an hour or two after dark. The search-and-destroy strategy may prove effective if timed to coincide with their activity. Carry a crawling insect spray as you search for the spiders within a foot or two of walls.
After destroying any spiders you find, look for a crack they may have been using to hide. Spray the insecticide into that crack and remember to caulk or otherwise seal it. Caulking shut the crack is best, but if caulking will ruin the aesthetics of the room continue to spray into it every 10 days or two weeks. You may want to log the number and date of spider kills to see if you are making progress.
The second strategy involves the use of roach or mouse glue traps. Place these in spots the spiders are likely to be, such as dark areas, around boxes, and close to walls and room corners. Again, track the catch to see if you are having an effect on numbers.
There are a number of insecticides labeled for spiders, but spot treatment with synthetic pyrethroids, such as Tempo (cyfluthrin) or Demon (cypermethrin), is especially effective.
Cyfluthrin is packaged for homeowners as Bayer Home Pest Control Indoor/Outdoor Insect Killer.
Page 2 of 2 - Remember, it's best to study the problem and develop a strategy before beginning control measures. For more information refer to the K-State publication, MF771, “Spiders and Scorpions.” You can find it on the Web at http://kpbs.konza.ksu.edu/Spiderbites.pdf.
Plants can be helped through hot, dry conditions with timely watering. However, we have seen a significant amount of overwatering this year. Plant roots need oxygen just as much as they need water. Soils that become waterlogged have very little oxygen and roots can literally drown. Be sure to allow the soil to drain and begin to dry between deep waterings.
An August application of nitrogen on spring-bearing strawberries is important in order to increase the number of strawberries produced next spring. Plenty of daylight and warm
temperatures during June, July and August promote the growth of new runner, or daughter, plants.
As daylight hours dwindle and temperatures grow cooler in September and October, fruit buds for the next year's fruit crop develop. To get a good berry crop next spring, it is important for strawberry plants to be vigorous during this period of fruit bud development.
Nitrogen, applied mid-August, will help promote fruit bud development. A general application rate is 1/2 to 3/4 pound of actual nitrogen per 100 feet of row. The nitrogen may be in the form of a fertilizer mixture, such as ammonium phosphate or 12-12-12, or in a fertilizer containing only nitrogen such as urea or ammonium nitrate.
Some specific examples would include: Iron + (11-0-0) at 6 pounds per 100 feet of row, 12-12-12 at 5 1/2 pounds per 100 feet of row, Nitrate of Soda (16-0-0) at 4 pounds per 100 feet of row, Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) at 3 pounds per 100 feet of row, and Urea (46-0-0) at 1 1/2 pounds per 100 feet of row.
On sandy soils, the rate may be increased by about a half. After spreading the fertilizer, sprinkle the area applying at least a half-inch of water to move the nitrogen into the strawberry root areas.