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 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

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..

I have seen an all black

I have seen an all black wooly worm on my door this past week...what does that signify?

Looks like a tough winter

Looks like a tough winter ahead

I'm a photographer and on my

I'm a photographer and on my many outdoor adventures I have seen quite a few of these wooly little friends and they are all telling me here in NE Pennsylvania, that we are going to have another mild winter by sporting mostly brown fuzz. I was raised that the more brown the milder the winter... brown is a good color LOL. I know before I upset someone, the cold kills off bugs and insects. (brown,brown,brown,)

I have not seen any this year

I have not seen any this year either in MCcreary co ky but if the weather we are having right now is what to look forward to we will have a cold wet winter hopefully alot of snow. and the almanac sure hit it for this week cold,&snow and giving alot more coming i love it

Since coming to the mountains

Since coming to the mountains of Western NC, I've noticed that a mild winter usually means a mild summer, while a harsh winter means a hot summer. I don't think there is rhyme or reason to predicting winter that way, but winter sure seems to predict summer.

Here in Missouri, I have seen

Here in Missouri, I have seen very few wooly's. The ones that I have seen were dead. Does anyone know what that means

North West Virginia, I've

North West Virginia, I've seen many wooley worms this fall season and they very from all black to wide varied bands of brown, orange coloring. I guess the winter weather will be mild, cold, light snow, freezing and somewhat warm.

I've heard; If a Bee Nest is

I've heard; If a Bee Nest is very high up in a tree, we will have a bad winter. So far I have seen 4.

i have heard that if a

i have heard that if a hornets nest is low it will be a bad winter i know in 93 we got a huge snow in march 20in and we had one on our home almost on the ground so i dont know which way is right



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