How Insects Predict Weather

Insects and Creepy-Crawlies That Forecast Weather

January 29, 2019
Garden Spider

This huge spider is devouring a bumble bee

Gina Hobbs

Next time you see an insect, check out what it’s doing! It could let you know something about the upcoming weather. Check out our weather proverbs about insects and other creepy-crawlies.

Insect Weather Folklore

Observe ants, bees, fireflies, and you’ll see they give us cues about upcoming weather, too! Here is folklore from our Almanac archives:

  1. If ants their walls do frequent build, rain will from the clouds be spilled.
  2. Ants are busy, gnats bite, crickets sing louder than usual, spiders come down from their webs, and flies gather in houses just before rain.
  3. When bees to distance wing their flight, days are warm and skies are bright; But when their flight ends near their come, stormy weather is sure to come.
  4. Fireflies in great numbers indicates fair weather.
  5. When hornets build their nests near the ground, expect a cold and early winter.
  6. When cicadas are heard, dry weather will follow, and frost will come in six weeks.

Crickets’ Chirps

This actually isn’t folklore. Crickets’ chirps are proven to measure temperature. They chirp more frequently in warm weather. The equation for calculating the temperature from a cricket involves counting the chirps for fourteen to fifteen seconds. Then, an amount is added to the count to calculate a temperature in Fahrenheit degrees. See more about predicting weather with cricket chirps!

Spider Folklore

Of course, spiders are not insects (which have six legs). They are arthropods. Observe their motion and their webs closely to gauge weather.

  1. When spiders’ webs in air do fly, the spell will soon be very dry.
  2. Spiders in motion indicate rain.
  3. When spiderwebs are wet with dew that soon dries, expect a fine day.
  4. Spiderwebs floating at autumn sunset bring a night frost, this you may bet.

Woolly Worms’ Bands

Certainly, many of you may have heard of the woolly bear’s claim forecast winter weather (also called woolly worm). These caterpillars have black and brown bands; according to folklore, more black than brown indicates a harsh, cold winter while more brown than black points to a mild winter. Read more about woolly worms!


Observe reptiles as weather predictors, too! 

  • The louder the frogs, the more the rain.
  • Frogs singing in the evening indicates fair weather the next day.
  • Hang up a snakeskin and it will bring rain.

Also, see how birds predict the weather.

Cows, sheep, cats, and mammals have their cues, too. See more about how animals predict weather.

Did we miss any? Share your favorite proverbs and sayings below!

2020 Almanac Calendar Club

Reader Comments

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Minor corrections.

"When bees to distance wing their flight, days are warm and skies are bright; But when their flight ends near their come, stormy weather is sure to come."

Pretty sure that should be(e) "But when their flight ends near their HOME".

Also, frogs are amphibians, not reptiles. Snakes, lizards, crocodilians, turtles and tortoises, and a few rarer critters are reptiles.

coming rain

My granny always said when the backs of the leaves on the trees begin to show, it's a sure-fire sign of rain.

Insects and weather

Here in the Midwest I was taught that count 90 days from the first cicadas will be our first frost.


If it thunders before 7;00 (am) it will rain before 11:00


The way I heard this one was, "Rain before 7:00, clear by 11:00.


If it rains the first Sunday in June, it will rain every Sunday in the month.

leaves on trees

I was always told that if the leaves on the trees seem to turn backwards a storm was coming.


Is there some saying about peepers; hearing them three times before the warm weather stays ? I can't remember just how it goes.

peepers in spring

I have always gone by the rule that a frost between hearing them three times,that spring has sprung.

The fog days of August count

The fog days of August count the days if snow, the thicker the fog the deeper the snow

The thicker the the trees bark come fall the colder winter will be felt by all

Birds nest during the rain the sooner it will pass but birds flying about in the rain the longer it will be

A rain before 7 will be gone

A rain before 7 will be gone by 11

When turtles cross the road,

When turtles cross the road, it will rain the next day. The more turtles seen, the harder the rain.

When the dew is on the grass,

When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.