How Insects Predict the Weather | Proverbs & Folklore | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How Insects Predict the Weather

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Insects, Spiders, and Other "Creepy-Crawly" Bugs That Forecast Weather

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Can insects predict the weather? Next time you see an insect, spider, or other “creepy-crawly,” check out what it’s doing! It could let you know something about the upcoming weather, especially the winter months. Here is a listing of some of the more well-known weather folklore about insects and weather! 

Is there some truth to it? You decide!

Insect Weather Folklore

Observe ants, bees, hornets, crickets, houseflies, and other insects. Their activity tells us whether the weather will be cold, warm, windy, or fair! 

  • See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest.
  • If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.
  • When cicadas are heard, dry weather will follow, and frost will come in six weeks.
  • If ants their walls do frequently build, rain will from the clouds be spilled.
  • When bees to distance wing their flight, days are warm and skies are bright; But when their flight ends near their home, stormy weather is sure to come.
  • Flies gather in houses just before the rain.
  • The early arrival of crickets on the hearth means an early winter.
  • The more quickly crickets chirp, the warmer the temperature. 

Read more about predicting weather with cricket chirps!

close up of a hornets nest in a tree with hornets on it
Bald-faced hornets make nests in trees at varying heights. How high or low may predict snow.

Spider Folklore

Of course, spiders are arachnids, not insects, but we are including these creeply-crawlies here! Can spiders predict winter weather? What do you think?

Observe spiders and their webs closely to gauge the weather:

  • Spiders spinning larger than usual webs is a sign of a cold winter to come.
  • When spiders’ webs in air do fly, the spell will soon be very dry.
  • When spiderwebs are wet with dew that soon dries, expect a fine day.
  • Spiderwebs floating at autumn sunset; bring a night frost, on this you may bet.
  • Spiders move down from their webs before rain.
glistening spider web
Large spider webs in autumn indicate a frost.

The Woolly Worms’ Bands

Certainly, many of you may have heard of the woolly bear caterpillar’s ability to forecast winter weather. 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 as meteorologists!

woolly bear caterpillar on a read maple leaf
Do the bands of the woolly worm predict the winter weather?

Reptiles & Amphibians

Observe reptiles and amphibians 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.

More Weather Folklore

Other animals predict the weather, too!  See how birds predict the weather. See how other mammals predict the weather.

Even onion skins predict the weather! See signs of a bad winter, according to lore.

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

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann