Saturday, September 30, 2023


Can the Woolly Bear Caterpillar predict winter weather?

Will this Woolly Bear Caterpillar see its shadow, like Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania? Some say the caterpillar can predict winter just like the celebrity rodent of Gobbler’s Knob.

Legend has it that their stripes can reveal the intensity of the upcoming winter — the longer their black bands, the colder and snowier the winter will be. Some might argue the tiny creatures can predict the future as well as the average TV weatherman (or woman). Others, of course, says that’s just a bit of baloney. But who knows?

So even though the caterpillar tale is folklore, it’s still fun to check out the creatures’ stripes to make some predictions. Keep an eye out for these fuzzy little fellows as you walk through your public lands this month. They are found all over the United States. They can be seen wandering across paths in search of a wintering spot (usually under leaf litter), and in the spring, they will emerge to become Isabella Tiger Moths.

Woolly Bear Caterpillars, also known as fuzzy bears, woolly worms or branded woollies, are remarkable creatures that can survive frigid winters. Even in sub-zero temperatures, they may freeze but not die because they manufacturer glycerol, a kind of natural antifreeze. And while most caterpillars transform into moths in just a few weeks, the Arctic woolly spends 14 years to complete the process.

Woolly Bear Caterpillars are cute and harmless, which makes them an ambassador of insects, says Family Handyman magazine. They’re so popular, the periodical notes, that humans throw parties in their honor. The Woolly Bear Festival in Vermillion, Ohio, is purported to be the largest one-day festival in the state. North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario have celebrations as well.



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Neal Davis
19 days ago

Well, I hope that in all the revelry celebrating wooly worms no one ends up stepping on any of the cute little buggers. 😲

Gary S.
20 days ago

They may survive the winter cold but driving up US219 in Iowa one autumn day in my Winnebago View I was amazed at how many were trying to cross the highway, and dying doing it!

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