An Almanac Minute: Woolly Worm

October 12, 2012

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According to folklore, the woolly worm’s stripes predict winter weather. Watch this short video and tell us what you think!

Read more about the history and weather-predicting abilities of the woolly worm.





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wooly worm

Just discovered one with a wide brown band on the sunny south deck of my house--outdoors on Feb. 3! 2020. Hopefully the groundhog yesterday and this caterpillar today will insure an early spring here in Kalamazoo.

Wooly worm

I’ve watched the prediction for years and found the width is just reversed. The winter of 2012-13, a 1/2 “ band, we had record snow fall and record temperatures 108 total inches and well below freezing with several days of wind chills in the -30 to - 40 in Genesee co. Michigan. This year the band was was very small and we have had a very mild winter. The wooly worm width has been just the opposite for the ten years I’ve payed attention.

Woolly Bear Worm Dec. 5, 2019

Found 2 Woolly in Shady Side, Md where I live, and one in Alexandria, Va where I work, 38 miles apart... both solid black...OMG!

Wooly Bear Catapillar Nov. 15, 2019

Saw one lonely solid black one on my front porch. There was one dead leaf on my porch as well. This fat caterpillar was moving fast as he could to get under that leaf! The temp is falling fast here in East Tennessee.

Wooly Bear Catapillar Nov. 15, 2019

Saw one lonely solid black one on my front porch. There was one dead leaf on my porch as well. This fat caterpillar was moving fast as he could to get under that leaf! The temp is falling fast here in East Tennessee.

Wooly Bear Catapillar

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Mine says average winter, I hope he's right.

That pic a fail, sorry....he

That pic a fail, sorry....he's half and half,lol.

Willy worm

I have seen both ,at times it wI'll be more black than brown,but today I saw one that was all light brown...what does that predict

Willy worm

If you see an all brown one what does that mean

Wooly Bears

I just saw my first wooly bear of the fall. It was all brown with a little more than a 1/4" black stripe in the front, none on it's backside. He was a little more than 3/8" wide and 1.25" long. I live in N.E. Ohio about 3 miles south of Lake Erie, 60 miles west of Erie, PA. Soooo, what does our winter look like? Anybody? Thanks!

All Black Wooly Caterpillar

My daughter just sent a picture of an all black caterpillar in eastern PA.

Wooly Worms Winter Predictors

All I've seen are Blonde Wooly Worms, solid color, no stripes, this fall. Guess that means we'll avoid winter altogether this year. If only..................

Wooly worm

Just saw 2 all black wooly worms this morning..Nov 22 lil ole Felton De..guess its gonna be a cold winter here..Im ready to hibernate lol.

Northeast Indiana we are

Northeast Indiana we are seeing lots of Black wooly worms.

Wooly bear caterpillar

Seeing some recent comments...similar to mine here. Saw a Wooly Bear yesterday here (near Baltimore MD) that had very little black, if any - my takeaway was he was just auburn.

wooly worm

i am seeing mostly brown wooly worms here but just saw a blonde one...what does he predict?
tks for ur response

Wooly Worms & Winter

If stripes give an indication of the severity of winter, what does the absence of stripes indicate? Wondering, because someone in Tennessee found one that is solid dark brown.

brown caterpillar

The Editors's picture

If the all-brown caterpillar is a woolly bear caterpillar (the larval form of the Isabella tiger moth) then, according to folklore, it would indicate a mild winter.

Wooly worm with large brown band and short black on either end

So does this "predict" that eastern Kentucky will have a mild winter? That somewhat goes against predictions - but wish it were true.

woolly catipillar in February

I live in western washington state and have noticed last fall not many of the woolly catipillars around and now it is february and I am seeing them all over ...I have lived here all my life of 54 years and have NEVER seen this before ...has anyone else and what is going on ?

wooly bear caterpilars

what is coincidered a wide brown band and what is coincidered narrow?

band width

The Editors's picture

A general rule of thumb might be if there is more black than brown, it is narrow. If there is an even amount of both, or more brown than black, then the brown band is wide. Supposedly, most banded woolly worms have 13 segments of bristles, so perhaps you could go by the rule that 7 or more segments (more than half) being brown would be considered wide.

I have seen these little

I have seen these little wooly bears in my area today while taking a stroll on the local walking trail. They're little brown bands were quite short. I believe it's going to be one cold and unforgiving winter.

Clinton, Maryland

I have seen a couple blonde

I have seen a couple blonde woolly worms and several other solid black ones--one was about three times the size of normal woollys, solid black and active at night. Usually they are curled up under boards or some other protective covering. I live in Spotsy, VA on a farm and am getting my chicken and duck coops ready for a bad winter... I too have had a massive amount of acorns this year, few butterflies or bees but a massive nest of tiny wasps on my front porch. I'm getting my generator serviced immediately.

I live outside of Charlotte

I live outside of Charlotte NC. I have seen quite of few in my yard and when I'm walking my dogs. Ive seen black ones but the majority are black tips with the brown in the middle (like the video). Considerably more than I've seen in the 25 years I've lived here.

Have seen several in KY with

Have seen several in KY with orange/brown all over except for black strip down the middle back from head to toe. Scarey!!!!

If the wooley worm is all

If the wooley worm is all white it's going to be a very bad winter.

I only saw a few and they

I only saw a few and they were completely black with no brown at all. Everything I have read so far states we are going to be in for a snowy winter. I am in the I-95 corridor in Stafford, VA. We have also had acorns falling since August.

I, too, have seen only solid

I, too, have seen only solid black woolie-worms; I am in southern Ohio. We've also had an early 'rain' of acorns. I don't know HOW much snow we'll get or how cold it will be, but I don't like winter weather of ANY kind! Brrrrrr! Already dreading the heating bill....

I have been told by landscape

I have been told by landscape architechs, when wasps, nest high in branches, it is an indicator of high snow volumes, rather than nest in or near the ground..The higher the nests, the more the snow..



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