Insect Report July 29 by BFS Intern Jordan Tiberi
Last week on the farm I saw a ton of pill bugs everywhere when we were harvesting, so I did some research to learn more about them. Believe it or not, pill bugs actually are not insects–they are isopods, a type of non-insect arthropod. Some other non-insect arthropods are crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. Pill bugs are nocturnal and can usually be found under soil, mulch or leaf piles and they feed on decaying plant matter. Experiments in Florida have shown that they are actually very beneficial for soil due to their detritus diet, because this leads to increased nutrients in the soil layers, such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Females carry their eggs on a pouch on their ventral (stomach) side for about 4-5 weeks. After this period, the eggs hatch but remain in the pouch for another 1-2 weeks, until they are 2 mm long and can fend for themselves. The young then molt 10-15 times in the following 4-5 months until they fully mature and then live for 2-5 years.
Insect Report July 22 By Jordan Tiberi, BFS Intern
Last week on the farm, I saw a huge red paper wasp and I was honestly terrified, so I decided to do some research to see what these insects do for the ecosystem and whether or not they are harmful to humans. Wasps are predators, so they feed on many garden pests such as aphids and caterpillars. However, adult wasps do not feed on these pests, but rather kill them and bring them back to the nest for the young to feed on. The adults feed on sugars such as nectar, so they are actually considered pollinators because they fly to different flowers to find food. When the weather starts becoming warmer, the queen will build a new nest using saliva and vegetation and lay eggs that will then become the worker wasps for the summer. By the end of the summer, the nest may become the size of a basketball! Population is controlled by the winter, because the workers die off by late fall, while the females hibernate. In Australia, where there is no cold winter, the population of a nest may get to around 2 million workers. Wasps are only aggressive when they feel threatened or feel like their young and/or nest is being threatened. They usually only sting out of self defense or to kill their prey. As long as you don’t get too up close and personal, you should be just fine!
Insect Report July 16 By Jordan Tiberi, BFS Intern
One insect that we’re always seeing and hearing on the farm is the cricket. Crickets are used for various purposes around the world: in China, they are sometimes kept as pets, in Thailand and many other places they are eaten regularly, and here in the USA they are mostly used as pet food for reptiles! Crickets thrive in temperatures between 80 and 90℉, which is why we see and hear so many throughout the summer. They actually chirp more in the summer due to having more energy. This was discovered in 1897 by a physicist named Amos Dolbear, who then created an equation to show this correlation, which is now Dolbear’s Law: Temperature °F = 50 + (chirps per minute – 40)/4. Only males can chirp, and the sound actually comes from rubbing together their serrated wings, not their mouths. Males will chirp to scare off other males or predators, to attract females, and also to celebrate after mating. The life cycle of crickets is only 2-3 months. One female can lay up to 200 eggs throughout her lifetime, depositing eggs into a damp substrate using her ovipositor, a tube-like organ that allows her to bury her eggs as she lays them. The larvae will then become nymphs without wings and they will molt 5-8 times throughout the next month and then eventually develop wings and become an adult.
Insect Report July 8
By Jordan Tiberi, BFS Intern
Lately we’ve been seeing lots of ladybugs on the farm, so I wanted to share some information about them. To begin with, there are 5,000 species of ladybugs and they are amazing for farms and gardens because they primarily feed on crop pests, such as aphids, fruit flies, and mites. An adult ladybug can eat up to 75 aphids in one day. Ladybugs usually lay hundreds of eggs at a time in or near aphid colonies, and once the larvae hatch after a few days, they will eat up to 400 aphids each in the two weeks. After these two weeks, they will shed and then enter the pupa stage to start morphing into an adult (as seen in the above picture from the farm). This entire developmental cycle only takes about 4-8 weeks. Ladybugs will group together for diapause (hibernation for insects) and can survive like this for up to nine months. They breakup once the temperature outside reaches 55℉ because this is when plentiful food becomes available. Also, the coloration and spot patterns of ladybugs is actually an adaptation to make them unappealing to predators.
Insect Report July 1 By Jordan Tiberi, BFS Intern
The next insect of the week is the amazing honeybee. A typical hive is divided into three different types of bees: one queen, thousands of workers, and hundreds of drones. The queen is the only bee in the hive that reproduces and can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day during spring and summer. Soon after a queen is born, she will mate with 15 or more drones in the span of 3 days and then remain inside the hive for the remainder of her life, usually around 2-3 years. The drones are males that solely mate with the queen to reproduce. However, immediately after mating, the drone dies. The worker bees are all females and take care of the hive by feeding the larvae, collecting food, guarding the hive, and more and typically only live for 40-50 days. Honeybees feed on nectar and pollen using a proboscis, a long tongue-like appendage that can reach the nectar within the flowers. Honeybees also create propolis, a mixture of tree resin, beeswax, and honey, that can be used to protect and disinfect the hive! Honeybees are very beneficial pollinators and they will only sting if they feel as though it is completely necessary, because stinging you will kill them. Do not be alarmed if you see any in your garden, instead thank them for all the hard work they do!
BFS manages several hives on the farm as part of its education and outreach programs. To learn more, email BarringtonFarmSchool@gmail.com.
*Program change: The July 1 Volunteer Farm Work session at 6 p.m. has been postponed due to rain. Please join us Saturday, July 3 from 9 a.m. – noon.
Insect Report June 24. 2021
By Jordan Tiberi, BFS Intern
It’s time for the insect of the week! Last week at the farm, someone pointed out a praying mantis “case” to me on the golden raspberry bushes at the back of the farm, so I did some research. Praying mantises are actually carnivorous predators, feeding on moths, flies, grasshopper, crickets, and more. This makes them very beneficial to have in a garden. Females can lay up to 400 eggs in a case to develop over the fall and winter and they then hatch in the spring. Many do not survive, and the stronger siblings may actually feed on their weaker siblings. Praying mantises complete 3 stages of life: egg, nymph, and finally adult.
Jordan Tiberi is a sophomore environmental studies major at Wheaton College. As an “interpretive ecologist,” she is inventorying pollinators and their habitats at the farm this summer.
Rain delay: June 22 Volunteer Field Session has been postponed until Thursday June 24 at 6 p.m. Please join us. Please inquire at BarringtonFarmSchool@gmail.com.
Barrington Farm School Partners with Progreso Latino
The Barrington Farm School is proud to announce a partnership with Progreso Latino, a social services agency in Central Falls, RI whose mission is to help Rhode Island’s Latino and immigrant communities achieve greater self-sufficiency and socio-economic progress. Progreso Latino provides transformational programs that support personal growth and social change and operates a food pantry that serves approximately 200 families per week.
Last year, the Farm School collected donations of non-perishable products from our community. Thanks to your generosity, we delivered 82.5 cu ft of food products over the course of the growing season.
Following our strategic plan developed this past winter, we are expanding our partnerships with organizations that align with and help us achieve our mission. To that end, we ask members of the community to bring donations for Progreso Latino of the following items to the farm stand drop off point:
- Dry goods, especially cereals
- Canned goods
To grow food, inspire learning, build community, and foster connection to the land, with the support of dedicated volunteers. We invite and welcome you to visit, participate in, and enjoy this historic farm.
Barrington Farm School is a thriving, inclusive community farm committed to growing healthy food, restoring soil health, offering environmental education, promoting equitable food justice, and instilling an appreciation for the natural habitat and bounty around us.
Financial partners help us grow! Consider a donation today. Connect with us and help fund anyone of our long term projects – long term viability ensures our ability to bring healthy foods and education to kids and community well into the future.
The 120-year-old farmland located between Lincoln Avenue and Federal Road at Middle Highway is the last farm remaining in Barrington, RI. Purchased by the Vendituoli family in 1897, the farm and farm stand on Federal Road has been in continuous operation by family members and friends. Through the years the farm has grown fruits and vegetables; raised chickens, cows, horses, and pigs. For much of the first half of the 20th century, the farm provided a horse-drawn wagon delivery service offering produce, meats, and dairy products to the community. In recent years, William “Billy” Vendituoli and his sister Gloria Suriani ran the farm and farm stand, selling their homegrown tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and corn. Each spring and summer, Billy hired local students to help manage the farm. (Link to Farm History)
The Barrington Farm School has been operating on Vendituoli land for the past 3 seasons and in 2018 transitioned to a protected farm with 501(c)(3) status thanks to the generosity of the community and the Barrington Land Conservation Trust (BLCT).
Community support continues to be imperative to our farm for growing, supplies, farm stand, structures, and cultivating the woodland habitat while educating students and community members of all ages. The open space has beekeeping, fresh food tastings, student environmental groups, teachers, artists, nature studies, and conservation practices. Join us as a volunteer, benefactor, customer, or friend! See you at the farm!