Predicting Winter Weather: Woolly Bear Caterpillars

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The woolly bear caterpillar—with its 13 distinct segments of black and reddish-brown—has the reputation of being able to forecast the coming winter weather.

Here are the history, facts, and lore about this legendary caterpillar.

How the Woolly Bear Became "Famous"

  • In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
  • Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
  • Dr. Curran's experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly bear the most recognizable caterpillar in North America.

What is the Woolly Bear?

The caterpillar Curran studied, the true woolly bear, is the larval form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth. See and share this picture of a woolly bear!

Here is more background:

  • This medium-size moth, with yellowish-orange and cream-colored wings spotted with black, is common from northern Mexico throughout the United States and across the southern third of Canada.
  • As moths go, the Isabella isn't much to look at compared with other species, but its immature larva, called the black-ended bear or the woolly bear (and, throughout the South, woolly worm) is one of the few caterpillars most people can identify.
  • Woolly bears do not actually feel much like wool—they are covered with short, stiff bristles of hair.
  • In field guides, they're found among the "bristled" species, which include the all-yellow salt marsh caterpillar and several species in the tiger moth family. Not all are 'woolly bears!'
  • Woolly bears, like other caterpillars, hatch during warm weather from eggs laid by a female moth.
  • Mature woolly bears search for overwintering sites under bark or inside cavities of rocks or logs. (That's why you see so many of them crossing roads and sidewalks in the fall.)
  • When spring arrives, woolly bears spin fuzzy cocoons and transform inside them into full-grown moths.
  • Typically, the bands at the ends of the caterpillar are black, and the one in the middle is brown or orange, giving the woolly bear its distinctive striped appearance.

Do Woolly Bear Caterpillars Forecast Winter Weather?

According to legend, the wider that middle brown section is (i.e., the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a harsh winter. But is it true?

  • Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran's average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a third of the woolly bear's body. As those relatively high numbers suggested, the corresponding winters were milder than average.
  • But Curran was under no scientific illusion: He knew that his data samples were small. Although the experiments popularized and, to some people, legitimized folklore, they were simply an excuse for having fun. Curran, his wife, and their group of friends escaped the city to see the foliage each fall, calling themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.
  • Thirty years after the last meeting of Curran's society, the woolly bear brown-segment counts and winter forecasts were resurrected by the nature museum at Bear Mountain State Park. The annual counts have continued, more or less tongue in cheek, since then.
  • For the past 10 years, Banner Elk, North Carolina, has held an annual "Woolly Worm Festival" each October, highlighted by a caterpillar race. Retired mayor Charles Von Canon inspects the champion woolly bear and announces his winter forecast.

Most scientists discount the folklore of woolly bear predictions as just that, folklore. Says Ferguson from his office in Washington, "I've never taken the notion very seriously. You'd have to look at an awful lot of caterpillars in one place over a great many years in order to say there's something to it."

Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, doesn't disagree, but he says there could, in fact, be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. "There's evidence," he says, "that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring. The only thing is . . . it's telling you about the previous year."

What do you think? Do woolly bears predict winter weather? What other signs of the seasons tell us about coming weather?

If you're interested in winter weather predictions, be sure to check out The Old Farmer's Almanac, too!

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Comments

Hi. Just found two of these

By ckk

Hi. Just found two of these guys on the side of the garage. After the freezing weather we had in Ohio this week I cant believe anything is still alive out there. Does anyone know what they eat?

They are vegetarians, so

By Lisa G

They are vegetarians, so leafy greens are good, plus they like grapes and apples.

Just get a cricket container

By Lisa G

Just get a cricket container at the pet store and put some organic lettuce, apple peels and other greens and a little cotton ball with water and let him spend the winter indoors.

Online is more advice on how to create a home for him until he turns into a beautiful moth in the spring. Then release him back into his environment!

I just found one of these on

By Debra Bassett

I just found one of these on a snowbank in my yard! It's alive so what do I do with it? Put him back outside? It's 30 degrees here in ME!

No! Don't put him outside. I

By Stace

No! Don't put him outside. I found 3 in my garage and made a home for them in a huge bowl with dirt and sticks. One if them just went into the cocoon thingy. Very cool.

Thank you for this post, I

By Andrea LaBelle-Warden

Thank you for this post, I just found one outside next to the snow bank and wondered what I should do with him/her....:)

I did the same, I put him in

By Debra Bassett

I did the same, I put him in a bowl and put leaves and plant sticks, etc in with him. We'll see in the spring how he made the winter....

I found a Wolly Bear

By Dana Ritter

I found a Wolly Bear catipillar but I don't know how I predicts the weather. My sisters teacher said it predicts the weather. Can somebody please tell me how it predicts the weather?

You need to get at least two

By Mr. Callahan on April 16

You need to get at least two of them in a container and borrow a stethoscope from a doctor and listen to them talk. Most speak Spanish because they come from Mexico. The ones found in the USA are bilingual though.
No, the number of rings on their back let you know how bad the winter WAS. They are broken down into 13 segments so the more "red segments" the harsher the winter WAS.

Legend has it that the more

By Carrie33

Legend has it that the more brown they have versus black, means that you are suppose to have a milder winter.I don't think it's very true ,because I have one in a plant in the house and his brown takes up half if his body and winter hasn't been the mildest.

Really? Did you actually READ

By HowDumbCanYouBe?

Really? Did you actually READ the article? No wonder common-core is kicking your butt!!

*whooosh...footprint*

Northern VA here and just saw

By Pam W.

Northern VA here and just saw a woolly bear yesterday that was mostly orange. Very little black ends. Although I love snow, I do hope the little caterpillar folklore is true. Just not in the mood this season for a lot of shoveling. Although it makes more sense that this would be a sign for the previous Winter. We did have a fairly mild one last year.

I live in Cedar Hill, Texas,

By Texas T

I live in Cedar Hill, Texas, and we saw about five all black wolly bears crawling around by the flower garden. Snow would be wonderful, just no ice please.

I just found one in my

By sona

I just found one in my hallway at the entrance and killed it. I didn't know what it was. I thought it was one of the fuzzy balls my seven year old had brought home from school. I was going to save it for her but then it felt weird when I touched it because it didn't feel a toy. I squeezed it, the shape changed. I squeezed again not knowing what I am touching yellow stuff started coming out of it, that is how I knew it was a bug. I came and looked on line what it could be and that is how I know what I just killed. If there is another one in the house would it harm anything or I shouldn't worry.

I found a woolly caterpillar

By Rosalie Fresco

I found a woolly caterpillar in my house 10 days ago. It could have dropped off a house plant. It is freezing outside so I put it in a large aerated container with twigs, leaves and moisture. It seems active and healthy so far. It's color at first was a faint purple but now seems all black. Will it spin a chrysalis ?
Should I keep it until the Spring ? What should I give it to eat ?

Over the weekend I was in

By Joe Robert

Over the weekend I was in McKinney State Park south of Austin. Saw 5 woolly's and all were completely black. Come on snow!

it's very cool

By Aryo Adhi Condro

it's very cool

We were just at our farm in

By banshee blackwell

We were just at our farm in Sadieville, Ky and witnessed hundreds of "wooly bear/worms" with predominantly brown bands. Warm late fall as well. Looks like we might see reasonable winter.

For the first time, I have

By S Faxio

For the first time, I have seen many all black wooly bears this year. I guess they are young? Forecasters are predicting a snowy winter for us in the mid-Atlantic...according to myth, we should have a very mild winter. Shows you what they know!

I've been in Upper Bucks

By RJO

I've been in Upper Bucks County, Pa. (SE Pa.) since Halloween. I walk my Golden's 3x a day in the woods and fields behind where I am staying. All of the Wooly Bears that I have spotted had a very narrow brown band OR were all Black! This is the first time I have ever seen an all Black Wooly. Just in case, my dogs and I are leaving the area for a sunny California climate.

Well, it looks to me as if

By RJO

Well, it looks to me as if the all Black Wooly won out in predicting a bad winter. S.E. Pennsylvania has had numerous record setting days as well as more 6"(+)snow storms (by Jan 30) than we have had in Years! We still have February coming and traditionally that has been the month with the most snow! I came back to Pa. and Vt. to visit and now I am headed back to Northern California where their own weather records are being set!

I live on Delmarva and all

By Nature Boy

I live on Delmarva and all the wooly bears here have a wide brown stripe with narrower black stripes at each end. I hope this is a good predictor of a mild winter.

I live in Delaware and we

By Jen Raab

I live in Delaware and we have had a lot of these caterpillars everywhere and all of them had a large brown stripe. We have already had a foot of snow and 6 inches more are on the way. So who knows???

I'm from upstate n.y. & we

By Tina m dietz

I'm from upstate n.y. & we walk our boxer everyday on the Erie Canal trail & we see them all the time , I will say there is lil black n lots of orange/brown in the center ....

i live in akron ohio i have

By p myers

i live in akron ohio i have seen 2 of the wooly bears both have had very little black mostly orange /brown hope they are right dont want to much snow here

Just spotted the fist whooly

By Miss Kitty from the Fort

Just spotted the fist whooly bear of the season here in Fort Wayne IN. He was a beautiful black and brown. His middle section of brown took up way more than a third of his body... Mild winted maybe ??!! :-) We will see.. Happy fall everyone.

I saw my first wolly worm

By Richard Key

I saw my first wolly worm here in Cookeville Tn. on the golf coarse today.Small black bank on each end and 3/4 of worm brown.

Ive seen the same in CT. and

By everythingmac

Ive seen the same in CT. and we have about 3ft. of snow so far this yr.

I've been seeing Tons of

By Liz Risner

I've been seeing Tons of woolly worms in the past month! I live in Northwest Indiana, and I see them crossing the Roads all over!

I live in Salisbury, NC and

By Bridgette Peyton

I live in Salisbury, NC and my husband and I have seen 2 solid black wooly worms in the last week. I hope this means snow. Just no ice, please.

I live in Kansas City MO. I

By Joe Shapiro

I live in Kansas City MO. I found one all black wooly worm living in basement. Sill alive after two weeks.

My husband and I just seen a

By Chris Vaughn

My husband and I just seen a completely black wooly bear in Falling Waters, WV. NEVER seen full black before.
Of course, my husband is hoping for a lot of snow as always!

In Northeast Oklahoma Just

By mktw

In Northeast Oklahoma
Just saw the first woolly worm this year,his color is solid burnt orange.However our pressimon seeds are all spoon shaped.We have not had a winter in 2 years now and would really like to see a little snow.

10/26/13 - Near Philly, WOLLY

By Liam Filson

10/26/13 - Near Philly, WOLLY BEAR Invasion! All the ones I've seen were mostly brown/orange with very little black on them, put away the sleds kids and don't count on too many snow days, IF the little buggers can hopefully be believed!

Read an article that says the

By Cnjhaas

Read an article that says the black are not the banded woolly bear.

"People, however, can be mistaken into thinking there will be a harsh winter because they looked at the wrong caterpillar.
"There is a pure black woolly bear relative that is often confused with the banded woolly bear," Raupp said."

The one's I have been seeing in southern Ohio are a bit more than 1/3 brown or orange, black at both ends.

Okay....now yer tellin' me

By Ozzie Osborn

Okay....now yer tellin' me that the fuzzy lil buggers are wearing disguises?

That is what I have been

By Candace Whitaker

That is what I have been seeing here in Alabama too!! I have never seen this many before, so I am trying to figure out what that is telling me. They are all over my porch area, and a lot of them! I am trying to figure out the cause or reason. They are brown, orange in the middle with thick black stripes on the end.

This would indicate it's

By DanaKDay

This would indicate it's random: "http://www.weatherworksinc.com/woolly-bear-winter"

We have found a lot of all black wooly bear caterpillars this year in north east Ohio. Guess that means we have lots of YOUNG ones?

We just saw one on our

By ogsdxx

We just saw one on our welcome mat this afternoon, and after the bad rain storm we had in Southern PA a couple of weeks ago there were a whole bunch around. I haven't seen them in years, and now all of a sudden they're everywhere. So much for another mild winter :(

In S.W. Virginia here,

By Jamie1978

In S.W. Virginia here, started to see the woolly bear near the end of Sept. and at that time they were all burnt orange/brown in color. But now there are a ton of them everywhere, and they are all solid black.. and a few with hardly any brownish orange color to them. Guess that means bad winter here. And this has been passed down for years, and has always been right.

Here at JB-MDL in central NJ

By Sean Osborne

Here at JB-MDL in central NJ there is a woolly bear invasion over the past two weeks the likes of which has not been seen in the previous 8 years. We normally see a few dozen over a two-three week period, but this year there are thousands of them, everywhere. Most have 7 to 9 brown segments with two or three black at the front and rear. A few are all brown except for the head which is black. They are very cool critters!

Hey Sean, do they have ticks

By Gene Mattingly

Hey Sean, do they have ticks too? Just retired this past summer. Last duty station, JB MDL. Ticks were terrible there... oh by the way, agree, they are cool critters.

Here near the beach

By Jane Schulhof

Here near the beach (Milford,CT) we have had an invasion of woolly bears in last 2 weeks also. About 8 segments are brown w/2-3 black at front & rear. Hope the 'folklore' is true...don't want another 4 foot snowstorm !!!

Have recently started to see

By Randy S

Have recently started to see them and they range from very little black to about 1/4 front and back. Today saw one that was mostly brown. Hope the 'folklore' holds true.

In Maryland, I've seen a lot

By Newfiedog

In Maryland, I've seen a lot more of these guys than in recent years. I'm looking at an all-black one as I type.

We live on the Eastern Shore

By Suzie Jacob

We live on the Eastern Shore and are having a lot more striped woolly bears then usual. I have not seen an all black one either.

In VA, I haven't seen so many

By Kenzie

In VA, I haven't seen so many as I have in years past. They seem mostly black with very little brown.

I just realized today I

By SandyOne

I just realized today I haven't seen any yet this year and was curious about that.

I counted 63 on my walk today

By Carrie Jefferds

I counted 63 on my walk today and I only started counting halfway through the walk!

Just saw the 1st one this

By Betty Lyle

Just saw the 1st one this season(10/20/13), probably 2/3 brown and 1/6 black at each end;hope Dec.thru Feb. will be mild! Year before last could hardly walk in the yard for all the acorns and nut shells--bad winter.Last year very few--not so bad! Also the squirrels' tails are not longer and thicker as in cold years past. I'm in Burlington in Northern KY.

I live in southwest Ohio and

By jillian

I live in southwest Ohio and I've seen several all black woolly. I had never seen that before. They always had brown bands.

I pulled down several Kung

By teman

I pulled down several Kung Pau plants that I had hanging in my garage to pick the peppers. After several plants I found a wooly bear crawling up the step below me. It is 3/4 brown/beige with small amounts of black on each end. I live between Cincinnati and Dayton, OH.

Same here in extreme southern

By Sarah/Lost Nation Farm

Same here in extreme southern MI (right on the OH & IN lines)! I came across this article b/c we were talking about what in the world a pure black woolly bear meant, since no one else had ever seen one, either. Sounds like we're in for a doozy of a Winter! :/

We have wolley bears

By diane hughes

We have wolley bears everywhere... everywhere.

i have never seen so many

By kevin taylor

i have never seen so many wooley bears in my life, scared or ready for some fun, kev

I just found a wooly bear he

By Dorothy Donahoo

I just found a wooly bear he has very little black on him /her.. I live in south central PA near the MD line. I would have to say that if the color bands are an indication of weather I would have to say that the woolly bears bands are based on previous winter because we had a very mild winter last year and the woolly bear I found last year had more black on it then brown. So winter of 2011/2012 was much snowier and harsh than the winter of 2012/2013. Just my thoughts on what I have viewed with the woolly bear..

I too just saw a wooly bear

By Linda Zager

I too just saw a wooly bear with very little black in southern Indiana--Bloomington, IN. If this predicts this coming winter, it will be mild, if this is based on the previous winter, it is true--our winter was very mild 2012-1013. Am anxious to see how the 2013-2014 winter will go---I love winter as long as I don't have to drive in it!

TriState area, NW Virginia.

By pistolesi

TriState area, NW Virginia. Our wolly bears are mostly dark reddish brown with black heads and tails.

I saw two woolie bear

By harleysylvester

I saw two woolie bear caterpillers brown on both ends and black in the center .Is this normel all the pictures we see are the other way around

I've seen 6 or 7 in the past

By Terry, Dutchess Cnty, NY

I've seen 6 or 7 in the past few weeks in my area. All have had a wide brown/orange mid section with much smaller head and butt sections. A mild winter would be much appreciated!

My co-worker and I each have

By PamH

My co-worker and I each have seen one in the last week and it was black on each end and brown in the middle!

isawtwowooliecatapallersbrown

By harleysylvester

isawtwowooliecatapallersbrownwithblackinthecenter

Black wolly worms mean alot

By Douglas L Miller

Black wolly worms mean alot of snow and cold.My dad taught me his years ago and has always came true.

Lots of black on them in N.E.

By Barb Schuckers

Lots of black on them in N.E. Pa...

October 15th - wooly bear all

By MoMof2grlz

October 15th - wooly bear all brown!!! Hopefully a nice mild winter in Vermont this year!!

I just captured one that

By Jericho B

I just captured one that somehow got into my living room, curled up tight while I vaccuumed. This one was pretty much all black, just a hint of rustiness to the central body hairs. We'll see if this snow town in Vt gets buried this year, unlike last!

10/16/13 I too just seen 7

By Anne Beyer

10/16/13

I too just seen 7 under my flower pot, having mostly brown with head and butt with little black. I hope these little guys are true to mild winter :-)

In Dunkirk/Fredonia area in

By Sharon Cummings

In Dunkirk/Fredonia area in Ny. We have been seeing all black ones. Does that means we will have bad winter? Something like 1977 winter?

If you see alot of black

By Douglas L Miller

If you see alot of black willy worms then there will be alot of snow and cold. Doug Miller

All the wooly bears were

By Austin Derrick

All the wooly bears were black and a couple of them were black orange black and there are thousands up here in Crossville,Tennessee.:(

Today (10/12/13) there were

By Cassi

Today (10/12/13) there were about a half-dozen or so woolly bears inside the barn (SE Wisconsin). Most had medium to large burnt-orange middle sections. One was mostly burnt-orange with only narrow head and butt segments being black.

We have been seeing tons of

By Scott Wooley

We have been seeing tons of these lil fuzzy bears here in Ostego county New York. All are brown as brown can be and little black on both sides so this is a great sign. As a hunter im out in the woods all the time always watching mother nature and pay special attention to the these little guys and this year we have more than usual.Hopefully they are right we can sure use a very mild winter..

Found an orange and black

By Duane Hopper

Found an orange and black this morning. 3 black bands near butt, 6 orange bands through body, 1 black near head, and 1 band orange at the head. But he was VERY wooly. Manhattan, KS.

I opened a cabinet in my

By Holly Monroe

I opened a cabinet in my bedroom and there on the side was a big caterpillar. I had never seen one like it before, especially in the house so I called my husband in from outside. He has gloves on already so he picked him up. The caterpillar rolled up into a ball and was half black half orange. It was so pretty it looked like a pompom so we took him out front and put him on a plant. Hope it means a warm winter here in Wyoming.

Seeing black on both ends and

By CAROLDEE

Seeing black on both ends and middle brown here in southeastern Mi. since early September. NO solid black..very relieved! :-)

All (except for one) of the

By Pam Benton

All (except for one) of the woolly bears I've seen in Woodstock, CT, have been completely black.

All of the wooly bears I've

By Doc Lar

All of the wooly bears I've seen (and photographed) in South Central Michigan this fall are completely black. Should I head to Florida immediately?

I don't know if you should

By Gene Shoemake

I don't know if you should head to Florida. It was in the 20's this morning and I found a solid black wooly yesterday in my garage here in the Florida Panhandle.

From SE Michigan, just saw

By L Boff

From SE Michigan, just saw one in my garden. It looked exactly like the picture at the top of this article (mostly brown with tiny black on each end), so cute!

lotsa black woolys here in

By Dave Ruzicka

lotsa black woolys here in Oceana County,Michigan,,we will see if the folklore about bad winters is true,,,soon

Sorry but I live in and

By Caroldee

Sorry but I live in and around Calhoun and Jackson County and the ones here I have seen since Sept 2013 are more brown than black so must be exactly where you are living.

Big solid black beautiful one

By pbastianelli

Big solid black beautiful one today at West Point, NY.

Found a wooly bear today! I

By VicFerrand

Found a wooly bear today! I was so excited, I haven't found one since I was a kid. I live in Albany NY area, the amount of rust/black color was pretty evenly split but maybe a tad bit more black.

We have a lot of these little

By Brian Dibble

We have a lot of these little guys crawling around the ramp at our airport in Ogdensburg NY. Most of them have a long brown middle section with two small black portions on the end. Hopefully they are right and we wont have to de-ice the Cape Air planes as often this year!!

Oh. My. Gosh. I just found

By KraeKrae

Oh. My. Gosh.

I just found this adorable little guy on my porch. He/she's a strange mix of colors. Black head, thin chestnut brown stripe just behind, an the rest is white. Is that a wooly bear or what?

It's not a woolly bear. It's

By CMMC

It's not a woolly bear. It's a hickory tussock moth caterpillar. The two long, sharp, black pencil-like hairs protrude near the front and rear of it are connected to poison glands, which excrete venom on contact. Contact with the venom does not generally cause too much of a problem. A nettle or poison ivy-type rash often occurs, which can range from mild with slight reddening of the skin, to burning, swelling and pain. It's best to avoid them!

Albany NY-Almost entirely

By May Mema

Albany NY-Almost entirely brown Woolly Bears this year-Times Union did their own study a few years ago for each week of winter = a segment on the woolly bear. The woolly bear was 85% accurate and beat out the weatherman... how embarassing:)

Saw a big fuzzy black one

By Crystal Fry

Saw a big fuzzy black one with very few brown on it here in Shippensburg,PA

I live in Lafayette Indiana

By Robyn Douglas

I live in Lafayette Indiana and have seen only all cinnamon colored wooly bears so far this year. We can only hope they're telling the truth.

I was so excited to find my

By CarolRae

I was so excited to find my first wooly bear of the year and it was a doozy. Very large solid black one - just gorgeous!-in Des Moines, IA.

I live in Earlham Iowa & just

By Elayne K

I live in Earlham Iowa & just found another totally black wooly a few minutes ago. It was headed South. Guess time to get the farm ready for another winter like last year.

A large all black one may

By Jodie Sz

A large all black one may have been the Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar. I've been seeing lots of the Woolly Bears while walking my dogs in Mid-Michigan and the little guys have been mostly brown with little black. But today I say the big black one and brought it home to identify it, he is back outside now. Here's a link to a webpage about the leopard moth. http://bugguide.net/node/view/595354

Check out Vermilion, OH as

By Dr. Jim Chapple

Check out Vermilion, OH as October 6 is the annual Woolybear Festival..the largest one day festival in the state of Ohio with the longest parade. Check out the city website!

I just found my first alive

By Rachel Hunter

I just found my first alive Woolly Bear that no one had squished - never will understand why people squish these cute little guys! I live in Ohio, usually the Woollys I find have little dark-brown, almost black butts, with brown-orangey mid sections. But the one I just found today is almost all the orangey-brown color! He has a teeny tiny black band by his head and that's it, goes back to orangey-brown! :)

I have been observing the

By marrbsst

I have been observing the critters for about a week now busily crossing the parking lot when I walk each day at work. I have seen at least a dozen of them each day. The days have been unseasonably warm here in Augusta, ME. Nice wide brown bands. Perhaps a mild winter? I wouldn't have called last winter mild, more like normal.

This is awesome. I'm from

By mallori

This is awesome. I'm from Ohio and I found a really fat fluffy black and brown one. It scared me at first I had all the lights out and I saw something crawling around the floor when I moved the stool and turned on the lights it took me a second to recognize it then I was like come on little fella your going outside. I wonder is that good luck to find one on your bedroom floor?

Walking in Winooski, VT we

By Brady

Walking in Winooski, VT we have seen about 9 Woolly Bears, with normal reddish-brown stripes and black ends, about average length. Fuzzy and cute as usual.

Charlottesville

By MichaelWolk

Charlottesville VA........Observed 2 completely BLACK Wooley Bears in the last couple of days.

The Shawnee, Delaware and

By jerry schweitzer

The Shawnee, Delaware and other indians of the Norteast along with the frontiersmen often used the beaver and muscrat to predict the severity of winters based on how large or small or how deep they built their winter shelters in the rivers or creeks.

I saw a all black wooly first

By Tammy from NY

I saw a all black wooly first time and I live in CNY does this mean a cold hard bad winter????

Wow I just seen my first all

By Central PA

Wow I just seen my first all black wooly bear! Never really paid attention before to the legend about them predicting winter but definitely got my interest now as I have never seen an all black one. Got to wonder cause a lot of people are seeing them this year apparently!

I just saw one completely

By Deb from South Eastern PA on October 1

I just saw one completely chestnut brown - no stripes, black or anything else. I was hoping for a lot of snow this winter, but now I'm not so sure!

I found and all black

By Tammy from NY

I found and all black caterpillar I have not found to many like that and I live in Central New York. 10/1/2013

I live at the shore in New

By Janet Contento

I live at the shore in New Jersey and saw anall black wooly bear this morning.

I live in Morganville NJ and

By Vincenzo21

I live in Morganville NJ and my 3 year old saw one in the garage. It was 1/3 brown in the middle. She was very excited to see it

I SAW A BIG ONE AND A SMALL

By CHERYL MCKINNEY

I SAW A BIG ONE AND A SMALL ONE BOTH HAD A SMALL AMOUNT OF BLACK ON BOTH ENDS. MAINLY BROWN BODY IN NORTHERN INDIANA FINGERS CROSSED THEY ARE RIGHT

Forgot to add in last post

By steve chapman

Forgot to add in last post that this past 2 weeks of September 2013 have seen 4 woolly bears and they have all been solid Black and only have seen that in winter 1992-1993 and around the years of 72-74 , just cannot remember exact year 72, 73 or 74 but both of them winters were EXTREMELY COLD AND SNOWY !

I am 49 yrs old and born and

By steve chapman

I am 49 yrs old and born and bred in the South/North Carolina Mountains and since a kid my Grandparents , older neighbors , etc., always said to look at the Woolly Bear to see how much black or brown covered it's body ... the more Black the more harsher/colder/snowier winter and more Brown a Mild-Winter . predicting the winter that way , by the color of the Woolly Worm was ALWAYS at least 95% right as i have observed as far back as i can remember . There were other things i learned as a kid ... thickness of fur on squirrels , the thicker , the harder/colder winter ... the wood spiders nest , the higher built off the ground , the snowier and deep snows . that is just a few examples . some will call them wise tales but nature does not lie and if you watch it .. it will give you a dang good idea of the weather coming . all i can say is people can believe it or not . i SURE DO because i have saw the results of the animals and incects be more accurate than the weather forecasters
.

Steve, Thanks for other

By Doone

Steve, Thanks for other interesting nature lore, facts. I recently heard of the woolly worm from a woman from Kentucky.They have began showing up here but all I have seen is a light cinnamon color with one dark brown-black stripe running front to back, no horizontal markings though. Last year was a cold, wet- a harsh winter for Georgia. The weather was reported as turning around but when I saw the squirrels restocking acorns which I had not seen before, to me it was informing us to expect a longer than normal winter and the weather to remain harsh. Who was right? The squirrels. Our ancestors lived, farmed, etc. by nature's clues and they proved valid. Who am I going to believe? Nature!!! I have been watching the "wild cats", domestic cats living outside. They provide much accurate insight into our weather-rain, heat, cold(& they have thicker coats, fur, than in past), etc. Thanks again for your comments : )

I live in Gainesville,Ga and

By Cheryl Galavitz

I live in Gainesville,Ga and today my husband found an all black woolly. First time ever to see this beautiful little guy.maybe snow for Christmas.

Found one the other day, all

By Alouetta

Found one the other day, all black. Never seen an all black one before.

I just saw 2 ALL BLACK in VT.

By JackVT

I just saw 2 ALL BLACK in VT. First time too! uh oh...

My kids found an all black

By Liane Giard

My kids found an all black one also. So, do you think we should cut and run this winter? Lol

In connecticutI saw several

By Rosielu

In connecticutI saw several today and they all black with orange large stripe in the middle. Hopefully it will be a mild winter..

I'm in Northern CT and I have

By Nadina

I'm in Northern CT and I have been seeing more than I ever have in previous years. All with very little black, mostly brown:) We sure like milder winters here in New England!

I too live in Northern CT and

By CDJ

I too live in Northern CT and have seen about a half dozen woolly bears this week, all of them mostly brown with just a little black on each end. Sure hope we have a mild winter for a change--and no more October blizzards! I've never seen an all-black woolly bear; can people be confusing them with some other species?

Meant to say in Vermont.

By Alouetta

Meant to say in Vermont. Found an all black one in Vermont for the first time.

Just found my first woolly

By Marion Wethington

Just found my first woolly worm. He is solid black. I'm in Piedmont North Carolina.

We were out geocaching in the

By Jenn_Camp

We were out geocaching in the Boise, ID area and saw these little guys all over the place & and they were quickly scooting in every direction! Ours were mostly black on both ends & medium orange section in the middle. We'll see how it goes!

28Sep2013 - several sightings

By Arlee57

28Sep2013 - several sightings of all amber woolies...with only a spot of a dark band on one end. Western New York. Our winters have been uncharacteristically mild for the last several years and if I read the report right...looks like it may be another easy winter.

I have 100rds in on my

By thyhandyman

I have 100rds in on my property and they are all mostly orange (with black at each end).Only 2 acers.

We live in Indiana and we

By Cindy Hughes

We live in Indiana and we have only seen all white woollies!!!!

I've seen pictures of people

By Tmcv

I've seen pictures of people breaking out in hive like bumps after touching the white ones...

Saw my first ALL white wooly

By Wendy Singleton

Saw my first ALL white wooly in Maryland today! Does that mean SNOW??

I live in Indiana too, in the

By Mark Richardson

I live in Indiana too, in the South-central part and I found an all-black woolly bear today!

I live in Las Vegas Nv and as

By M D Mackey

I live in Las Vegas Nv and as of the last few days have seen so many caterpillars around my house and the neighborhood. is that strange for Las Vegas, because when I say a lot I mean you can't drive with out running over the poor little guys :(

I saw the wooly bear

By patrick arseneault

I saw the wooly bear yesterday it measured 2 cm in Owls Head, Ny
patrick

Saw one 9/22/13 in Amelia,

By clwilson0776

Saw one 9/22/13 in Amelia, east of Cincinnati, Ohio.. All Black.. bad winter coming??

I am near you clwilson and I

By Coldly

I am near you clwilson and I saw one last night, mainly brown, only had black tips. So keep our fingers crossed for a mild winter :)

I live in NE PA. I was

By James Strempek

I live in NE PA. I was surprised this year to see my first wooly bear in July. I've never seen them this early. In the past few months I've seen 5 or 6 all black. Recently I've seen a few black on each end and brown in the middle and one all brown. Since I was very young my family believed that the more black, the worse the winter weather. A few years back I saw my first all black in the Phila. area and they got more snow than we did in the Poconos. One storm dropped 15" of snow that year. But our local weatherman says don't pay attention to the colors of wooly bears to predict weather.

Saw a wooly yesterday here in

By Patricia Burruano

Saw a wooly yesterday here in Putnam County, New York. It was all brown. First time I ever saw one with no black stripes on it!c

Here in Burlington Ky, i saw

By Cheryl Madden

Here in Burlington Ky, i saw my first banded wooly worm----wide black bands on head and tail and orange in the middle. I usually "discard" using any other caterpillar as a predictor---just the orange and black ones, per the wooly worm festival in eastern ky.

Saw my first wooly worm of

By Kimberly Bartley

Saw my first wooly worm of the season. Same as yours,black on both ends and orange in the middle. I'm in Louisville.

I live in central Delaware

By Marty J

I live in central Delaware and 95 % of the wooly bears I've seen are all black. Yesterday I saw at least 50 crossing roadways and they all looked black. Cold winter.... I say so. Mother nature doesn't lie.

I live in vermilion Ohio

By dave

I live in vermilion Ohio right on lake Erie and today I just saw a all orangy-brown wooly bear

I live in Clearfield Pa and.

By Katey

I live in Clearfield Pa and. today I saw an all black caterpillar on the road while riding motorcycles .

I am in Ma been seeing them

By Terri Pierce

I am in Ma been seeing them brown on the ends and orange in the middle.

Last year (2012) we saw only

By bbandgsmom

Last year (2012) we saw only a couple total for the whole fall here in Midwest Ohio; we had an extremely mild winter. This year, however, there is no shortage of our furry friends and in many colors. Makes me wonder whats in store for the upcoming winter!! Brrrrr

Found what seemed to be a

By Becca C

Found what seemed to be a white woolly bear in Lancaster, PA today. Never saw one that wasn't orange and/or black before. Cool to see others are as confused as I am as to what that might mean?

I just saw a snow white one

By jodi correll

I just saw a snow white one today. My first all white one and I'm 52!

I just saw a wooly bear on my

By judy blank

I just saw a wooly bear on my front porch and it mostly reddish brown with a black head does it mean a hard winter?

As we understand it, there

By Almanac Staff

As we understand it, there are many white caterpillars in the tiger moth family (many of which are called woolly worms or woolly bears). For example, a yellow woolly worm (Spilosoma virginica), also called the Virginia tiger moth, can appear in a white caterpillar phase. For photos of the various colors that this caterpillar can be, see:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/498

Although folklore focuses on the banded woolly bear, which does not have a white phase, there are weather sayings related to pale or white woolly bears as well. Some say that pale woolly bears mean that a mild winter is expected, but white woolly bears mean that lots of snow is coming.

A few weeks ago my friend

By Spring skews

A few weeks ago my friend posted a pic of a pure white one on her desk. I dont know what it means either

my husband and i were out

By diane paquette

my husband and i were out moving the picnic table to mow the lawn and all of a sudden we saw wollybears every where not just by the picnic table but all out back we picked up 52 of them and they had small black tips and all brown in the middle neva saw so many ever!!!!
saved em all i hope!!!!!!!

Found the first wooly bear of

By Cathy L. Carter

Found the first wooly bear of the year here in Winston Salem, NC. It was small. It was black on the ends, brown in the middle.

I live in Daleville, VA and

By RuRu

I live in Daleville, VA and this week every wooly caterpillar I have seen has been completely black.

I am curious about the extent

By Lucy Carpenter Sizemore

I am curious about the extent of the caterpillar determining the weather....Have been seeing a lot of white ones here in Brown County, Ohio, which is a first for me...Does anyone have any info about the white ones????

We camp near Neville Ohio.

By IStopForTurtles

We camp near Neville Ohio. The past 2 weekends this one included I've seen so many jet black woolys it's crazy! We have been very lucky the part few years with mild winters. We are due for a good snowy winter. I say bring it on. Count our blessings as they come. I'd love a white Christmas this year!!

I just read where the all

By Donna Lawrence

I just read where the all white wooly worms means lots of snow. I live in Madison County, Indiana and I have seen three of them here so far, as of 9/24/13. I hope they are wrong. Lol

West Virginia. First time I

By Cindy Sue

West Virginia. First time I have ever seen an all white woolly worm. What is that supposed to mean?

I read where it means lots of

By daniel linehan

I read where it means lots of snow a could be a blizzard too

Northern Michigan say three

By PAMELA STUCKMAN

Northern Michigan say three today all (orange) brown, no black.

Found two pale orange (no

By TannerMan

Found two pale orange (no brown or black) woolies in Carroll Co, MD, yesterday.

Carroll Co MD here too. Found

By Tenshi25

Carroll Co MD here too. Found a bunch on my sunflowers yesterday..baby ones and big ones all over :)

Im in Carroll County MD also.

By valarie griffith

Im in Carroll County MD also. I've been seeing a ton of all black woolies and only a few with orange stipes

I have been seeing a lot of

By Melissa McCarty

I have been seeing a lot of them for about 3 weeks now.(its an invasion!) I am in Southern Illinois. They are in all colors and sizes. White, tan, orange, brown, and black. Mostly solid colors, but there sure have been alot of them! My son has been having fun finding them every day after school and it has not been hard for him. One step off the bus yesterday and he found two immediately!

NH sighting: Black wooley

By Susan Tochterman

NH sighting: Black wooley bear with a sprinkling of brown around the middle.

We have been inundated with

By LJ Podplesky

We have been inundated with "fuzzy bugs" all summer. I live on two acres outside of Flagstaff AZ. There are wooly bears, all one color - black, everywhere. They are enjoying my green bean and tomato plants as well as all the wild flowers.

We have seen over 20 today

By jacklynn

We have seen over 20 today over less than 50 miles between southside Va and Richmond. They all appeared mostly black.

Saw my first today

By mahager

Saw my first today 09.05.2013. Large all black. Mooresville NC

Sept. 6th 2013 Just saw a all

By djohnson

Sept. 6th 2013 Just saw a all black wolly bear caterpillar on a tree in the woods. Massachusetts

I saw my first today

By mahager

I saw my first today 09.05.2013. Large all black

I have only seen two so far

By Alice Turnham

I have only seen two so far this season and both were completely black. I live in Wright County in Minnesota just west of Minneapolis.

I have seen MANY wooly worms

By Jae Alexander

I have seen MANY wooly worms crossing the road in the past week or two and every one of them have been the solid golden brown color (as in the middle band), with NO black on them at all. I guess it will be a mild winter.

I live near Fort

By Jae Alexander

I live near Fort Boonesborough, KY.

I have seen three woolly bear

By Diane DelloBuono

I have seen three woolly bear Caterpillars as of (9/04/13) and they were all black. Live in PA near Valley Forge.

I saw my first woolly today

By L Rex

I saw my first woolly today (9/3/13) it was completely black with a sliver of brown. We live in Delaware.

I just saw one this morning

By Cariad

I just saw one this morning with two wide bands of black and a more narrow band of brown. I live in northern Delaware!

I saw an all black Woolly

By Jonesie

I saw an all black Woolly yesterday(9/3/13). I have also seen some with a black head with an all brown body. We live in Maine.

Just found my first wooly

By Karen C Miller

Just found my first wooly this year, crawling across my dining room floor, all orange, kind of a burnt orange. We live in western NY

I have seen 1/2 dozen

By melissa markham

I have seen 1/2 dozen woolies. All but one were completely black. I live in the piedmont of Virginia. That combined with the huge amounts of rain we had this summer and the cool August days (70s and 80s) have me anticipating a humdinger of a winter.

Saw several so far, live in

By Steven Witt

Saw several so far, live in Chatham Virginia and so far all of the ones I've seen were all orange no black

One of my friends saw a white

By Jay Wilson

One of my friends saw a white wooly worm what is the prediction for a white wooly worm?

I saw a white wooly worm

By ElizabethB

I saw a white wooly worm yesterday also. (I live in Southern Illinois).

Around Aug.21st saw one

By colette malik

Around Aug.21st saw one woolly bear (Long Island) and it was almost all black.

So are wooly bears the only

By Mary Land

So are wooly bears the only caterpillars that predict winter weather? What about the bright yellow caterpillar with black tentacles?

Could you be describing the

By Almanac Staff

Could you be describing the larva of the banded tussock moth or a similar species? Although the Isabella tiger moth (adult of the woolly bear caterpillar) is in the same family, we aren't aware of winter weather lore associated with another species of caterpillar. However, it is certainly possible that certain regions have developed their own lore based on local insects.

I spotted 2 wollies on my

By Philippa Lazare

I spotted 2 wollies on my lawn today (August 27, 2013). One of them has a long orange stripe - i.e. most of the body. The other has mostly black. So I guess the winter is going to be 50/50??

I have yet to see a woolly

By Checla

I have yet to see a woolly bear caterpillar and I live in northcentral Pennsylvania. What does it mean for the upcoming winter if there are none around?

Saw several last year we also

By Lisa lr

Saw several last year we also had a very mild winter here on the Cumberland plateau

Has anyone ever see one that

By Donald Gauthier

Has anyone ever see one that was all orange ?

Yes, my daughter found one

By Holly S.

Yes, my daughter found one yesterday that was all orange/cinnamon colored. We are in North Eastern Kansas, just south of Kansas City.

In Mass...lived in this small

By Janet r Wade

In Mass...lived in this small town 13 years and never saw a wooly bear saw 3 this month predominantly orange. .we do need a break this year...fingers crossed!

The orange/brown ones with no

By Elizabeth wurzelbacher

The orange/brown ones with no black are the only ones I've seen in Cincinnati, Ohio and West Harrison, Indiana

I live in Prince Edward

By Heidi Riley

I live in Prince Edward Island Canada, and the woolly bears I have seen this year are all orange. Guess that means a mild winter this year or last year!

Yes I saw an all orange one

By Sharon T

Yes I saw an all orange one today!! First time to see one in my yard.

I just saw a burnt orange one

By Linda Spencer

I just saw a burnt orange one and I have never seen one that color before. all black and black and orange but till today never a all orange what does that mean.

I did too today (Aug 27,

By M Cox

I did too today (Aug 27, 2013) on a bike ride along the coast in SW BC, Canada. Seeing such a beast for the first time and another with only the thinnest black band at head is what brought me here.

I have a pet woolly bear and

By maya krodel

I have a pet woolly bear and he is almost
completely brown.I guess he thinks we're
in for a pretty mild winter.

Hello,I just love wooly

By Teri McElvain

Hello,I just love wooly worms,they could be pets.I live in Cincinnati, Ohio I saw a bright yellow one today 8/4/2013 in my yard, it had a black head and a black butt,and about six long black spikes on it's back.I have never seen one this color.I see brown and black ones.What kind of wooly was he? Why was he here?

today on aug5,2013 I spotted

By PD Taylor

today on aug5,2013 I spotted a solid black three inch wooly caterpillar crawling across my patio, Conroe ,tx

Saw one yesterday with a very

By Lester Hall

Saw one yesterday with a very narrow brown band and he was headed South, just saying

just finnished shovelling 14

By whats up with that?

just finnished shovelling 14 or so inches of snow from nemo on my dwy and found 3 orange and black catterpilliers on the driveway its the middle of feb. whats up with that?

i always heard it was based

By coonman82

i always heard it was based on the first one a person found not all of them seen by a person maybe they are predicting the end of the world (lol) come on bring on the snow for N.E. ohio i want 6 feet of it

today December 2 2012. i

By peter willey

today December 2 2012. i found a wooly bear in the road walking, very strange for this time of year. has no brown at all. yes its all black.hope that the whole wooly stripe is a myth, cuz if not it dont look good. live in near saratoga ny.

I live in southcentral PA and

By Gramma50

I live in southcentral PA and the wooly bear I saw yesterday was ALL black! Got our first light snow today.

While raking I came across a

By Kikidee

While raking I came across a woolly bear.
I find them very interesting. 11/16/12
I loved them as a child ,still do.
Michigan

Near Myrtle Beach SC and for

By whatsinaname

Near Myrtle Beach SC and for the first time ever I have lots of woolly bears in the yard..Lot of black...Yes, I hoping for snow this year!!!

Well, you know if that woolly

By MBerke

Well, you know if that woolly bear is wearing a down parka that it's going to be a tough winter!!

I just found a large black

By Virginia Misci

I just found a large black wooly caterpillar. He only has very thin rust colored bands that segment him. I'm from so. jersey. Does this mean cold snowy winter?

I for one have always found

By christopher 1

I for one have always found the woolies to be quite accurate.Unfortunatly for us in my area of pennsylvania they are all jet black this year.They had half orange last year and our 2011 winter was fairly mild.

Some people commented that

By Butterflyteacher

Some people commented that they saw a "wooly bear" that was all orange. That is a different kind of caterpillar, most- likely a yellow bear- not really related to the wooly bear.(and they can be other colors) Additionally, there are all black bristle like caterpillars in these same areas that are also not the wooly bear (Giant Leopard Moth larva. So some of you are just plainly seeing other caterpillars and not wooly bears. I am not discounting the weather predicting- just trying to inform/help those people who noticed there were some without bands- these are not wooly bears.

Live SW Missouri and haven't

By Motherofsixpack

Live SW Missouri and haven't spotted a single one yet. Been looking. Kicking leaves around. Boys and Hubby been in the woods getting firewood. None of us has seen one yet? What does it mean when you can't even find them? Is the winter going to be so bad they're afraid to come out?!

I was an ALL brown one on

By Melou

I was an ALL brown one on 9/4/13 weird never seen one before?? Live in Western PA

Maybe it means that winter

By luci

Maybe it means that winter will arrive early - and they were smart enough to have already found their spot to stay out of the harsh weather.

where I live in Wisconsin my

By junetwin2

where I live in Wisconsin my family and I have seen the wooly bear caterpillar with lots of brown with black tips

BUT! The burning question of

By dmagnus

BUT! The burning question of the century is: How does the Wolly Bear ALWAYS cross the road at a 90 degree angle - absolutely perpendicular. Unless upset by a passing car. And then he gets right back on track. How does he know? He can't see the other side 'cause he's too short.

LOL - come to think of it,

By luci

LOL - come to think of it, you're absolutely right. I've never seen one try to cross pavement at an angle...maybe we don't give them enough credit for being smart enough to take the shortest path to safety...

I live in northeast ohio near

By headache2

I live in northeast ohio near PA. The wooly bear I saw today was completely black. Bundle up!

I live in the same area.

By Anon76

I live in the same area. Today hubster found a wooly bear heading for his wood heated garage.

As he described it to me, the front 2/5ths were black, second 2/5ths were rust and the last 1/5th black.

We have noted that the squirrels around here are crazy active in stashing goodies this year.

Also, though it's hunting season, the deer aren't running as much. We don't hunt but our paths to work along areas where deer bolt across the road regularly. Not so much of that going on right now.

I live on the west side of

By Sonny Day

I live on the west side of Atlanta next to Sweetwater Creek State Park. I grew up in northern NY state with the Farmers Almanac. Colors on caterpillers never meant too much. But here in Atlanta all the Wooly Worms this fall are totally black. B-r-r-r-r

I live in the Akron, Ohio

By shy

I live in the Akron, Ohio area. I have seen quite a few this week and all of them are 3/4 brown, only the tips were black. We shall see how the winter turns out for us. I read somewhere we are to expect little snow like last year but very cold temps.

Live in Kansas and have seen

By rrcoffman

Live in Kansas and have seen woolly bears that are totaly black except a dot of redish brown on back and front end. They were nice size also. Can't wait to see what kind of winter we will have.

Every year the wooly worm

By jerry of Oregon

Every year the wooly worm been black with a little orange in the middle,been lots of rain not to cold, but this year the wooly worm is all orange with a little black on it head,first time i seen this,we had 4 months dry hope it stays dry through the winter

I live in Minnesota and not

By Ginacat

I live in Minnesota and not even seen one this year.....as anyone in MN. seen one? if so? what's our winter looking like????

Whether predicting the type

By Eileen in Western NY-Southern Tier

Whether predicting the type of winter by observing woolly bear is scientificly possible or not, it gives folks something to talk about and a reason to send the children outside to get some fresh air.

I was out walking around a

By buz4me1

I was out walking around a lake today and saw 17 wooly bear caterpillars. All but 4 had wider orange stripes than black. According to the Almanac" we will not have a mild winter... So, who's right ... the wooly bear or the almanac??

Im from Central PA and saw my

By SuPar

Im from Central PA and saw my first one yesterday and he was mostly black/ with a 3/4" of orange. I guess its time to get out my Woolies,lol Burrrrrrrrr

I had to look this up. For

By Maureen70

I had to look this up. For the first time in 12 years we are being "over run" with these things... I had 6 today. That is more than I have seen in all my years here combined. Had a mild winter last year, and I am afraid we are going to get hammered this year (2012/13).

Why are the bands different

By mrh

Why are the bands different every year? And why do so many caterpillars stripes look so similar every year?
I think a clue to a hard winter might also have something to do with bird migration. Sometimes it seems that the song birds leave earlier than previous years.

They are solid orange in

By Brianwr47513

They are solid orange in southern Indiana too. I've only seen a couple which were solid black. (Rebels) No stripes... looks like a mild winter!

The wolly bears here have

By Jim - Brewster, NY

The wolly bears here have about 5 brown segments, I have seen many this fall. The Acorn crop was heavy this year, the squirels, Deer, chimunks and Turkeys ate them as fast as they fell. There are a lot of squirels this year and all teh animals are very busy eating as much as possible. I am assuming a harsh winter is on the way.

I saw one in southern Ohio

By SO Buckeye

I saw one in southern Ohio today that was all tan and had only about 1/3 of the usual punt of bristols on it. If the wolley is correct it will be a very mild winter if he's wrong I believe there will be one less moth next summer.

In September, I saw 4 all

By Southern NH

In September, I saw 4 all black wholly bears. Now in October, all the wholly bears I have seen have about 1/4 black on each end and brown in the middle. Also, we can't step out in our backyard without walking on acorns. So, I have a feeling it is going to be a long cold winter, with the ice and snow having fun with us. But I guess we will have to wait and see.

I saw my first one of the

By Blue Liner

I saw my first one of the season about 15 minutes ago just outside my garage & it was ALL black. I'm just outside Gloversville, NY, bordering the Adirondacks in Upstate NY. I know people think they're a myth but almost every year I've seen them they've matched. Funny one year I saw all white & thought oh boy; we're probably going to get tons of snow & we barely got any. We've had an easy winter last year & the one before wasn't too bad. So my guess (along with my fellow black buddy) is cold times ahead.

I have a wooly winter-over in

By Mary Tonks

I have a wooly winter-over in my barn every year. Last year's visitor had a very wide brown band and winter was mild. This year, however, my visitor is nearly all black!

I have never in my lifetime,

By mccbaby102

I have never in my lifetime, I'm 61, ever saw a pure white wooly bear. It had a pinstrip, very small down the middle of its back. I saw 3 of them in less then 1 week. I only saw 1 woolly bear that had the usual brown with black on the tips of both ends. A WHITE WOOLLY BEAR!!!!!! I can't believe it what does it mean. Today someone in a pizza shop saw one too and is alittle afraid about what the future
holds.....Please respond asap> TY. can't wait to hear from you..............Mccbaby

mccbaby - the one and only

By luci

mccbaby - the one and only time I ever saw a pure white woolly was a few years back when we had an enormous amount of snow. It wasn't a particularly cold winter but we had above average snowfall.

Awesome observations and so

By katie regan

Awesome observations and so different-from one part of the country to the other . The ones I've spotted here in northern new york where I've lived all of my life, are 98% golden/reddish/brown with very little black, if any. Never before have I seen this. Also the hair was so much thinner than its usual thick make up. Possibly a mild, warmer winter. I am a wolly bear believer. Regardless, the change of seasons in the northern regions is awesome.
Time to bundle up folks,,,happy winter.
Katie

Sept. 27,2012 Saw two woolly

By Ithaca, NY

Sept. 27,2012
Saw two woolly bears in the last few weeks,
both were light orange, no black on them, hum.
Ithaca, N. Y.

Erie-saw a woolly bear

By pam-s

Erie-saw a woolly bear caterpillar this morning with NO brown on it...a bad winter ??

It is sept 24th and all I

By Libby streeter

It is sept 24th and all I have seen this year for wooly bears are all black. I really cant wait to see what this winter has in store for us. Im getting a generator for sure. I live in spencer, mass.

The photo you have is not a

By rnhowl

The photo you have is not a wooly bear caterpillar! It's a spotted tussock moth caterpillar. At least try to get the photo right.

and the real experts tell us

By luci

and the real experts tell us that it's also known as the "yellow woolly bear"...

Syracuse NY .... I just saw

By Jessica t

Syracuse NY .... I just saw one on my door it was tanish red no dark brown at all... Wierd. I've never seen them like that before

The one a friend of ours

By crdhld

The one a friend of ours found had almost no black, very little on each end...been a lot of yellow jacket nest this year............will just have to wait and see.......

I don't understand, one

By myknj

I don't understand, one person in NJ commented all orange, yet another said completely black.

have not seen a single wooley bear yet in nj, anyone else?

I have seen many of them that

By Jennylmoon

I have seen many of them that are all black this year. I live in Maryland. Every year they are different....this is the first I have seen so many all black....we will see..

I haven't seen one yet this

By muench

I haven't seen one yet this year, but last year I saw a few and they all had huge rust bands, we had a very warm winter!

I saw one today that was

By vermontjd

I saw one today that was completely orange/brown, no black at all, in Vermont. So I'm hoping for a mild winter since I have a broken ankle and I'm not looking forward to walking thru snow with crutches. Anyone else in VT/NH seen any?

9-13-2012. Last wknd, I saw

By Zuza

9-13-2012. Last wknd, I saw several Woolies in my back yard. Some were cream colored, some were light-brown/orange, and some were all black. None appeared to have bands. They were hiding in the thick grass between stuff. I was thinking that maybe they get darker as they mature in age. I hope this winter is a bit colder than last though -the bugs are real bad this summer in Chesapeake, VA.

Just found a Wooly bear

By Deb Lee

Just found a Wooly bear caterpillar on the front walk here in mid southern Ontario Canada just outside of Sarnia. All orange. Hopefully that means a mild winter. Don't want a repeat of two years ago when the 402 highway was shut down because of the huge snowfall.

It is Sept. 1st today in the

By Peacefulcreek

It is Sept. 1st today in the Rocky Mtns. of Colorado. Twice in the last week, I have seen the "wooly worms" crawling across my pavement. Both were good sized worms and both were entirely black in color....no brown bands on either of them! If the folk lore remains true, we will be in for a severe winter this year...which is good because we have been so dry from past winters hence our summer of forest fires here in Colorado. I sure hope it is a very snowy cold winter here in the Rockies!

We found many black and

By Jeanne46

We found many black and yellow/orange ones in Austin, NV today. My 4 year old is fascinated by them and wants to see them change into moths. Will they survive in a water jug with holes and cottonwood leaves?

August 27, 2012 and we still

By Chey

August 27, 2012 and we still have not seen one single Wooly worm this year. Last year, we saw many that were almost completely blonde or very light brown and we had an unusally warm winter. This year, we are not seeing ANY anywhere. (southeast Ohio). has anyone else seen any this year?

Mostly, if not all brown here

By salmonid74

Mostly, if not all brown here in Maine

I saw a wooly bear a few days

By rebecca rebecca

I saw a wooly bear a few days ago Aug 25, 2012, it was all black. Just to let you know.
thanks,

All black ones here in

By Cox

All black ones here in Fairview tn

I have watched them for many

By Anonymous in maine

I have watched them for many years and it holds pretty true, last year 2011 was a wide band and we had a mild winter, I just saw some with no band, hope this is not true of the worst winter ever. Get ready folks

Ours appear to be all black

By AnonymousSherry

Ours appear to be all black with an under shadowing of orange. We will see what this winter brings.

I live in central Wisconsin,

By echo

I live in central Wisconsin, and have seen three Woolly Bear Caterpillers Between April 12th and 15th. They are crawling, look big and fat. How come I am seeing them now? I am a road/walker and see a lot of nature.

Hi, Echo, In northern

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Echo,
In northern climates, there are usually 2 generations of banded woollybear (isabella tiger moth) per year. Overwintering caterpillars emerge around May. They eat a bit and than pupate. Adult moths emerge in early summer. These will then produce another generation that emerges around August. These caterpillars will overwinter, starting the cycle again.
The fall-generation caterpillars are perhaps more noticeable because they are searching for a good place to overwinter, so they travel about more.
In southern areas, there could be three or more generations. Hope this helps!

i love to explore and find

By Addie

i love to explore and find bugs. When i do look for bugs the 1 that i try to look for the most is the Woolly Bear Caterpillars. I love caterpillars so much. I look for them every day and I'm always asking my mom if i can order some but she says NO!!!! I'm in 2 grade and i have a sister that is in 3 grade. I have a mom named Sasha. I have a dad named Andy and i have a dog named Howie he is just a baby!

Not sure if it is the "Woolly

By LisaRenee

Not sure if it is the "Woolly Bear" I've always used to predict the winters in NE Indiana or something different (because I've seen such a wide variety over the years)-- but I always called them "Woolly Worms" . . . My parents always told me simply that the lighter the color the harsher the winter and I'm pretty sure it has always been correct. I remember seeing white ones and then having a very harsh winter. As an adult I don't always see them but this past fall I saw more of a yellow color one . . . so far it has been a realatively mild winter. My prediction was, "It will not be a harsh winter--more of an 'inbetween' winter." Again, I don't know if what I look at is the "Woolly Bear."

I found a Woolley bear under

By Secarpenter

I found a Woolley bear under some of my wood that's piled up all curled up in 27 degree weather on January 18th 2012. I thought it was dead because how cold it is outside but when I brought it inside it eventually opened up and started crawling around everywhere. It's really strange to find an alive one in the middle of the winter. This one has a wide black stripe where it's head is and long brown/orange middle and a short black tip. I live in Radnor Ohio and so far this winter it has been very wet and mild. Maybe 2 inches of snow all winter here so far.

We had an ALL BLACK Woolly

By Becky12345

We had an ALL BLACK Woolly Worm in our driveway over the weekend, in Garner NC. It could mean a COLD Winter!! I put him in safe area under some bushes.

I Found an all black "Woolly

By Kevin Hull

I Found an all black "Woolly Bear Caterpillar" on North Colonial Dr. Cortland, Ohio. I also have three friends in the same area, with one in Champion, Ohio that found all black ones too. As my father, God rest his soul....used to say. It's gonna be a very bad winter. Nov.2,2011.

RE: the number of wooly worms

By gradofan

RE: the number of wooly worms this year - it all depends on where you are. There are almost none in Illinois this year - very odd, indeed! Maybe they've gone the way of the honey bees.

Does the fact that we seem to

By Falltime

Does the fact that we seem to have sooo many woolly bears have anything to do with predicting the weather? I don't remember a time when there has been so many. Dodging them in the road is a challenge!

Here in waaaaayyyy Upstate

By HALLEYCOMET

Here in waaaaayyyy Upstate New York on Vermont border we are just now seeing Wooley Bears for the first time this year. Alll so far have been even between black front, orange middle, and black rear. The "lore" I have always heard is that the segments predict how long each portion of the winter will be---front section is for Fall and Early winter; middle for mid winter and rear for end of winter shading in to spring. This does correspond with a harsh or mild winter if you think about it just not direct temperatures. Altho we have very few squirrels out here in Farm Country (go figure!) we have a bumper crop of black walnuts on yard trees and have seen LOTS of acorns on trees and ground. Have seen LOTS of foxes recently many more and with more fur than you would expect. More road kills than usual among all furry things---does this mean they are more active looking for food? And baby skunk in the daytime last week! Enjoying introducing very curious grand daughter to Wooley Bears and lady bugs etc but NOT so much the incredibly ANNOYING and prolific "Biting flies" that followed the recent flooding here. What is UP with THAT??????

I just saw a woolly bear ALL

By kimbo96

I just saw a woolly bear ALL ORANGE with just alittle black band around face. What does that mean? I live in upstate NY

I'm upstate as well, in the

By kimmp

I'm upstate as well, in the Finger Lakes area right near Lake Ontario. I have fou d 3 woolys that had a little black on head and tail and a big band of brown/orange. A friend of mine is finding the same. I haven't seen this much brown/orange on one in quite awhile. Livestock don't look too shaggy coated either.

I can only hope it will be mild, as I absolutely hate winter.

Hello, it might have been a

By Almanac Staff

Hello, it might have been a different variety. According ro folkore, the narrower the brown (orangish) band on the woolly bear caterpillar, the more severe the coming winter.

i have seen wooly worms this

By shadowfax667

i have seen wooly worms this year that are almost blond with no red or black bands. any idea what this means? i am in the laurel highlands in western pa

If by "blond" you mean the

By Almanac Staff

If by "blond" you mean the lighter brown section, it means that the wider the middle brown section is (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a harsh winter.

We are in So. CT near NY

By fuzzwatch

We are in So. CT near NY border and just found a Wolly Worm that is about 50:50 brown and black. What does this mean for CT winter?

We are in southern ct and

By fuzzwatch

We are in southern ct and just found a black and brown caterpillar that was evenly brown and black. What does that mean??

I have also been seeing a lot

By Racing6

I have also been seeing a lot of woolly bears here in central Ohio that are exactly half brown and half black. I am also curious as to what that means.

I found quite a few this year

By starkey

I found quite a few this year that are all brown, one had a small segment on the front that was black. My neighbor also found all brown ones too. I live in Webberville, MI

Here in Toronto Ontario I

By canady

Here in Toronto Ontario I have seen off white and totally gray ones:-) Interesting! Two one the off white and the other one was silver gray.

Stay away from these, the

By Irishmom77

Stay away from these, the bristles are infectious.

All Black here in Salvisa. Ky

By jamescornelius

All Black here in Salvisa. Ky from North Carolina and have always seen striped in NC! I think the solid colors mean a solid winter!!

I agree, all that I have

By Fuzzey23

I agree, all that I have found here in North East Ohio, 2 miles from Lake Erie are also all black. Not boding well for a smooth winter at all.

I live in NE Ohio as well.

By Gent 716

I live in NE Ohio as well. Just returned from a walk in the Metro Parks, saw several of them and they were more than half orange..... Although I was not at the lake but in the Chagrin area, I wonder why the difference in the same general vicinity... Still hoping for a mild winter!!

They are all black here in

By BobL

They are all black here in Springfield Twp, NJ too. Have never seen them all black!

On my way home from work, I

By Jeannie Godfrey

On my way home from work, I have been seeing that wolly worm on the road and it was very black every time I have seen it and I am seeing it more and more. I live in Roughemont NC

The Wooly I saw this week

By AnonymousSherry

The Wooly I saw this week appears to be all black but with a shadowing of rust color beneath the black.I had heard of the Wooly's predictions but had forgotten so now will see if we have a rough winter. We live in Michigans Upper Peninsula.

Fortunately, the woolly bear

By TheElfGuy

Fortunately, the woolly bear caterpillar I had just found late last week was almost entirely reddish-brown, with hardly any black whatsoever. I sure could use a mild winter here in Northern Virginia. Last winter was hellacious, with a three foot snowfall in one weekend last February. I am soooo not looking forward to a repeat of that. Thank you ~ (•8-D

I live in Fayetteville, NC.

By danielle.dixon

I live in Fayetteville, NC. Just saw a wooley worm for the first time! I had to look it up just to know what it was. I was so surprised at how big it was. I took pictures with my finger for comparison :) No brown/red at all. Completely black. It will be interesting to see what the weather is like here!

I live in Western NC about an

By cljackson

I live in Western NC about an hour west of Boone, NC. This year the Woolly Worms here are mostly black with very little red or either all black.

I live in the southwest part

By debmar10

I live in the southwest part of Virginia (the mountains) and I've seen two caterpillars, barely the tinest of black on each end and 99% brown/orange in the middle. Never seen one that wasn't striped at all---interesting to see what kind of winter this will be.

I have seen all black ones

By djmilesway

I have seen all black ones then some with black on each end and brown in the middle. What does that mean?

“If they’re solid black, it’s

By Theresa Upstate

“If they’re solid black, it’s going to be a bad winter. I’m hoping for a bad winter,” said Dick Kilmer of Moscow.

Georgia wolly worms/bears are

By susan@lambsbest.com

Georgia wolly worms/bears are all orange this year as well.

NJ wooly bears are all orange

By fireonered

NJ wooly bears are all orange this year too! I thought I was imagining it, but then I found this article. I wonder what is going on?

Wooly bears, Acorns and ice

By Teddy

Wooly bears, Acorns and ice in the Northeast.

This year there are so many acorns I cant walk a step in the back yard without stepping on three. The wooly bears are all orange though. This combination usually means that when we have precipitation we will see little snow, a lot of ice and the winter will be longer than normal. We are collecting the acorns for the deer due to the ice build up on trees will make it nearly impossible for them to get a decent meal in late february. Signing off in the lower hills of the Berkshires

Here in S.W. Missouri, as far

By nawe417

Here in S.W. Missouri, as far back as when I first came here in 1965, all the old folks predicted the winter as to how black looking they were. When lighter, a mild winter, when dark, a harder winter.

Our wooly worms/bears are all

By jbauer81

Our wooly worms/bears are all orange also! Here in central southern michigan. What does it mean?!

Our woollies have always had

By jjstewart

Our woollies have always had thick dark bands on them. yesterday I saw two without a single band....they were both a dark orange, very furry and quite large. what does this mean for this winter in southern Wisconsin?

I grew up in PA. One year I

By glorioussnookie

I grew up in PA. One year I showed my Mom one I found, she said"Oh No are they all like that?" I told her yes, she said, we're in for a bad winter" Well those wooly bears were right, it was a terrible winter. this past fall in West TN the wooly bears were black and so far we have had 17 inches of snow when a normal total snowfall for the season may be 1 to 2 inches. I have lived here for 14 years and this is the first time I ever saw the wooly bears all black and I would definitely say they were right! So much for science ha!ha! GOD BLESS!

Interesting article -- but

By Ron Ro

Interesting article -- but what does it mean when up here in central New York, neither I nor my family have yet to SEE even one woolly bear this Fall? It's the first time I can recall that happening in my 73 years up here.

As of October, 2012, I've

By Kimmie76

As of October, 2012, I've seen 2 wooly bear caterpillers with NO BLACK. Does anyone know what that means for Catskill Mountain weather this season?
Thanks!

In up state NY (Watertown)

By Theresa Upstate

In up state NY (Watertown) yesterday I saw my first Woolly Bear of the season and it was very black on both ends with an equal amount of rust in the middle. So in three parts two were very black and one deep rust. :)

I just saw my first woolly

By In Carthage, NY (near Theresa)

I just saw my first woolly bear of this season and, believe it or not, it was about a half inch of black on the head and the rest was all brown/orange. Does this mean no winter?????

I also just saw my first

By Enrufo

I also just saw my first woolly bear of the season, in Albany, NY. It had a pretty broad band of brown, maybe 1/2 of its body length, in the middle. Mild winter would be nice.

This is the first time I hear

By Chrysa_1

This is the first time I hear this about the Woolly Bear Caterpillar although I've been seeing them my whole life! Thank you!

I knew of wooly worms in

By Edith Welch

I knew of wooly worms in Nebraska but here in Denver, Colorado I don't find the wooly worms. Do you know what areas the worms do not ive in? and why?

We too were brought up on

By Jill Cowgill

We too were brought up on looking at the wooly bears for how cold the winters would be. We were told that the blacker they were the colder it would be.
Personally, I hope they are wrong, this year's are mostly black. Like most everyone else, the squirrels are very busy collecting this years bumper crop of nuts.

I agree. I have paid

By BethA

I agree. I have paid attention to them all my life, and I am now in my late 40's. It looks like a bad winter this year, the ones I have been seeing are all black with a tail of brown. I am from Northern Indiana, so I can't wait to see them prove itself right as a predictor once again.

I do believe in the woolly

By young gal from Ohio

I do believe in the woolly bears prediction of who winter will be. I have lived in Ohio for 10 yrs now. I heard this when I first moved here. I was like,,, what that's crazy.. But they did seem to let us know and they were correct just about every yr. Crazy but thankful to be ready for a harsh winter. I grew up in Maine. We have BAD winters up there. So this was very interesting. So to end this note.. I seen 4 this week and they are all Black.. with just a little rust brown by the head and on its tail.. and we have had much colder weather for this time of yr already.. not much of a fall weather.

well Hope you have a safe winter and Stay WARM :0)

katriz
Jackson Center, Ohio

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