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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Weather by Caterpillar

Last week we mentioned the weather-lore surrounding persimmon seeds. As the legend goes, if you cut open the seed and clearly see the shape of a spoon, a harsh winter with heavy wet snow. Is supposedly on tap. Many of you have shared that a spoon is what you are in fact seeing. (A fork shape denotes a mild winter with light powdery snow, and a knife shape indicates an icy winter with cutting winds.) .

In February, we look to a groundhog for a weather prediction, but at this time of year, many of us (after we of course consult the new edition of the Farmers’ Almanac) look to a fuzzy little caterpillar which makes its appearance early fall each year. (They actually appear in the spring as well but seem to go unnoticed at that time of year.) These caterpillars, often referred to as Woo l ly W orm or Woo l ly B ear have a special ability (supposedly). Depending on the color of the bands, you may or may not be in for a rough winter.

As folklore goes — you need to look at the black hairs at each end of this tiny creature. Legend has it that the more black hairs a wooly bear has, the worse off the winter. If the caterpillar has more orange, then the winter will mild.

Some folks have taken this to an extreme. Supposedly there are thirteen segments in a typical banded wooly bear, and many people believe that each segment represents one week of winter. Orange segments predict mild weeks, and black ones foretell bad winter weather.

Others also look at the thickness of the hair — thick means bad and sparse a mild one.

One more weather belief surrounding this tiny weather forecaster revolves around the direction it’s coming from when found. If the wooly worm is traveling north, count on a mild winter. If he’s headed south, get ready for a long cold winter.

Have you noticed these weather predictors crawling around your yard or sidewalk yet? If so do share with us here so we can compare it to the persimmon seed outlook.

By the way, if you are a caterpillar enthusiast, make plans to attend the Woollybear Festival on October 5th, 2008 in Vermillion, Ohio. Longtime friend and Fox 8 Meteorologist, Dick Goddard champions the largest one day festival in the State of Ohio. Think of it, 100,000+ cheering on woollybear caterpillars who are strutting their stuff just before the arrival of winter. Join the fun!

122 comments

1 Day { 11.15.09 at 10:08 pm }

My husband and I live in a four storied building of condos in southeast DC. We live on the fourth floor…there on the wall the thickest and blackest caterpillar I’ve ever seen!!! YUCK!! I think the thing winked at me. As you can gather I think very little of creepy crawly creatures. Wives tale or Almanac I hope to not see it again. What you guys are saying is pull out the long johns because, this creature is an indicator that we will have bad weather?

What does direction have to do with it — the caterpillar was crawling up the wall.

2 Lori { 11.13.09 at 3:36 pm }

11/13/09 I live in Central Ohio and have seen a few woolly bears on my sidewalk and porch. They seem to be heading north. Their color a lot of orange , little black and not thick. Hope this means a mild winter since our summer was mild. Thanks!

3 Kristin { 11.01.09 at 4:28 pm }

Trick or treat? My mom went to pick up what she thought was a black boa feather from my halloween costume only to realize it was the big wooly mammoth of caterpillar’s. My family got a good chuckle out of it, but I think she was a little distraught. She said it was black as night and headed south. BURRRR!!!!

4 Kay { 10.27.09 at 8:31 pm }

I just saw a totally black huge wooly caterpillar in my carport in Norman, Oklahoma. It has been a gorgeous, warm fall day — should I relocate Mr. Wooly from the concrete/brick carport to a place in my garden where he/she will find vegetation?

5 JOE { 10.27.09 at 9:45 am }

I saw a Black Woolly Bear Caterpilla with the red bands on its body today in Gaithersburg, MD. 10/27/2009

6 david { 10.24.09 at 9:26 pm }

wooley bears can be trusted. When you see them crossing the road,,the earlier they cross the earlier the winter. The more of them,,the worse the winter. Darker bears..colder more snow.

7 Dina { 10.23.09 at 11:10 am }

I saw a black woolly caterpillar on my front porch with hardly and orange on it at all. I live in Pittsburgh PA. Does that mean we will have a cold, long winter here in pittsburgh?

8 Debbie { 10.21.09 at 3:31 pm }

My daughter just found a wooleybear caterpillar heading north with alot of orange and very little black, we live in northeast Ohio.

9 Ricky { 10.18.09 at 11:16 pm }

I live in Paducah Ky. and all i have seen everywhere, and all over the roads are dark black woolyworms. Seems to be more than I have ever seen in my life.

10 Jon { 10.18.09 at 1:42 am }

I saw a all black one in front of house faces north&one on back pato faces south all black and they are big. evansville ind.

11 BRENDA SCOTT { 10.16.09 at 2:40 pm }

I LIVE IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN. WE HAVE BEEN SEEING THE WOOLLY WORM WITH JUST A TOUCH OF BLACK ON EACH END. EACH ONE WE NOTED WERE HEADING EAST.

12 Jim { 10.15.09 at 3:16 pm }

I just saw (for the first time in my life as well and I’m 49) an ALL BLACK wooly bear In Greensboro NC. From what I’m reading, it looks the south is in for a rough winter and the north is looking pretty mild….by the way I moved here from upstate NY :-)

13 kelle { 10.15.09 at 12:20 am }

I live in kentucky and my daughter and I have seen nothing but huge and solid black I have never seen them like this before it makes me wonder what is to come!!!!

14 Patty { 10.13.09 at 4:27 pm }

Saw a totally black, very thick furred caterpillar this morning.
I live in Northwest Florida. An early cold winter in store?

15 Mark { 10.13.09 at 2:12 pm }

This past Sunday we saw our first wolly bear. Almost all orange with very little black on each end. First one I have ever seen with so much orange.

16 Janice { 10.11.09 at 2:01 pm }

In over 60 years I have never seen an all black wooly bear.Am so glad we will be gone for the winter.

17 Lynn { 10.07.09 at 8:00 pm }

Completely black and very wooly here in Delaware. Saw a few last weekend while walking in the woods. I don’t know which direction-I wasn’t paying attention to where they were going-just what color they were.

18 Cheryl { 10.06.09 at 7:35 pm }

Here in New Hampshire I’ve recently seen two woolly bears. Both had just a small amount of black on either ends. I’ve never seen them with such a large amount of orange band. The black was barely even visible. Hoping between the woolly and the wasp nest that was built very low to the ground we’re in for a mild winter. We could really use one after the snowfall last year.

19 blanche { 10.05.09 at 11:33 am }

the woolybears I have spotted in the northeastern part of Ohio are showing more black thickness than orange, and heading south, due to folklore, this is a sign of a cold winter, i hope i’am wrong, blanche

20 Paul Koster { 10.04.09 at 1:34 pm }

I saw a caterpillar with small black bands and a large orange one in the middle going north at Stone Ridge 12484 on the morning of 10-9-09. Wait to lay out the woollies?

21 Pam Cook { 10.03.09 at 3:22 pm }

I found a wooley bear caterpillar she has 8 black stripes and 4 brown stripes. I live in Miamisburg Ohio.

22 Barbara { 10.02.09 at 12:41 am }

I saw the first wooly worm on my carport. Solid Black. If true, we, in Kentucky are in for a rough winter. I have never saw a solid black. So Watch Out Kentucky.

23 leeanne pickering { 10.01.09 at 1:50 pm }

I live in southern Ohio and we have seen several bright orange and some not so bright orange wolly worms in our area.
I hope that this means a mild mild winter for us.

24 Heather { 09.29.09 at 2:08 pm }

I just saw a wooly wormblack on both ends but re almost in the whole middle heading north. North Carolina

25 Kelli { 09.29.09 at 10:13 am }

I found a solid black catapillar, very think haired in my driveway this morning. I guess this means it is a long, cold, hard winter to come!?!?!?

26 Mary { 09.28.09 at 3:23 pm }

I live in Western New York and saw my first wooly caterpillar for the year yesterday. It was all orange — last year, they had thick black stripes and we had a very cold winter and overall snow fall was higher than average. I’m hoping ALL the caterpillars I see this year are totally orange!

27 Pam { 09.27.09 at 3:41 pm }

I live in S. Central Ks, have yet to see any wooly worms that aren’t white! They are all over my yard. Any info on preditions?

28 Chuck Sproull { 09.25.09 at 10:01 am }

I live in southern Indiana, and in Aug and Sept I saw 2 Wooly Worm Catapillars (which we called Wooly Bears in the eastern states) with very thick wooly bright orange fur, and I think one was crawling north.

29 Carol { 09.23.09 at 12:22 pm }

I was mowing and I saw a White Catapillar. Of course I didn’t run over it. But, I wanted to know what it means. When growing up our grandma would tell us a black one would be a bad winter and the brown ones would be a mild one. Live In West Virginia. Isn’t it to early for them. Sept 23, would love to hear your comments

30 Nancy Phillips { 09.22.09 at 6:12 pm }

I saw a completely orange wooley bear caterpillar here in Waynesboro, VA (Shenandoah Valley) today. Not much snow for us I fear.

31 Barb { 09.15.09 at 6:40 pm }

What does it mean when the wooly bear’s stripe goes from tip to tail? Climate change?

32 Sue Mongeau { 09.13.09 at 3:34 pm }

Sunday 9/13/09 – Husband found an all black wooly climbing up our wall on our patio. We have never seen one all black. That means that Millersville, PA will be under a lot of snow this winter. At least we believe in the almanac since we were brought up in a farm community which surrounds Lancaster County. Mostly right many times.

33 Phil { 09.11.09 at 2:39 pm }

I see a black one with thick hairs on my front porch. I was surprised that I saw one already! I live in St. Louis, MO

34 garage doors orange county { 07.24.09 at 2:50 pm }

I see little woolly caterpillars in my backyard from time to time. Never see much orange on them, and I live in a fairly warm/mild area…

35 Carol { 07.22.09 at 9:10 pm }

I have a brown and black catapillar on my patio and it is only July 22,2009. This seems awfully early to be seeing catapillars. I live in Ohio. Am I correct as far as this being early for them to be around?

36 Mary Rose Back { 04.27.09 at 5:38 pm }

I found a solid black and fat wooly catterpillar and wonder if it is ready to make a cocoon I have it in a jar and am feeding it dandelions and clover. Is it an Isabella Tiger Mother or something else. It indeed is solid black, and just a very little hint of rust color in the very middle, but you have to look closely to even see it. I would value and appreciate an answer. Would like to take it into a school class before it makes its cocoon if that is what they do at this time of year.

37 Kaitlin & Mackenzie { 03.29.09 at 12:04 pm }

We found 7 very large, very active Wooly Bears in the garden yesterday in Guelph. The back ends have much more black than their fronts. Does anyone know what they eat in particular? The children love to watch them – they are beautiful!

38 Fran { 02.19.09 at 10:39 pm }

Feb 19, 2009. I found a wooly on my back stairs today. Holbrook MA.

39 Rebecca { 02.14.09 at 11:28 pm }

Today is Feb, 12, 2009- I was walking down the road today – I live in upsate NY in the Catskills/Hudson Valley area, theres snow on the ground & its very cold, and as I was walking there was a Wooly bear crossing the road – I was shocked to see it as it is winter right now- I never recall seeing one at this time of year, I am wondering if this is normal? Or if it meens the winter won’t last much longer? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

40 Karen { 12.31.08 at 12:43 am }

I had several woolly bears in my yard this fall that were orange and black – I’d say more black than orange. I live in Loudoun County, VA.

41 Daniel age 6, { 12.25.08 at 4:09 pm }

Today is Christmas. I got a Microscope for Christmas and I was looking for bugs to see them. We found a wooly on our drive way, I went out with my compass to see which way he was going. My compass said south/east. I thought he would die from the cold, so we have him in the house. He is inside my microscope insect holding part now. It has an incubator on it, so we warmed him up. He is very, very furry, big, big fir, and he has 2 blacks and one big orange section in the middle on him. My mom says we can let him go out side as soon as he is ok again. I am not sure if we can let him out side. Because of winter. There is no snow yet, but it is a very sunny day. My mom is looking on the computer to see if he could survive if we let him go back out.

42 Devie { 12.24.08 at 2:30 am }

Just saw a totally black wooly caterpillar in about 4 degrees weather on Dec 22 and today saw a brown wooly one with black tips at each end in 30 degrees weather in western pa.

43 Diane { 11.24.08 at 12:23 pm }

I’m in the SE part of Texas and this morning I found a Woolly Worm. He is ALL black w/ very dense hairs. You have to look very close to make out his orange feet. This does not look good for us warm-weather lovers. Prepare to get very bundled up this winter!

44 Bryan { 11.16.08 at 5:32 am }

Oh NO guys! I posted on Sep 24th and mentioned seeing a bunch of orange caterpillars, but since the middle of October or so, they’ve ALL turned black! And look what’s about to happen? A very big cold front is moving through in the middle of November, and it’s going to last a while. Might even last two weeks, or even worse, the entire winter! Uh oh, those wooly bears were right all along! I can’t afford heating oil either! *what to do what to do*:)

45 Tammy { 11.12.08 at 10:30 pm }

I live in between Salem and rolla Missouri, 6 Persimmon Seeds all spoons and have seen only a couple wooly worms…mostly black.
It has been my experience that the persimmon seed has been too accurate!! This is the first I have heard of the wooly worm….Thanks.

46 Jessica { 11.08.08 at 1:06 pm }

I live in south central MO, and have seen numerous solid black wooly worms around my yard this past month. After spending 3 years in Texas without a drop of snow, im actually hoping for a good harsh winter that will bring my children and I alot of snow to play in!

47 Marsha { 11.06.08 at 6:13 pm }

On election day Nov. 4,2008 I found a woolly bear in the road that had a black band in front then a small band of orange and then a small band of black and then a large band of orange then a small band of black at the end. So does that mean that it will be a mild winter. I have never seen one that looked like that before. Usually they are black orange and black only 3 bands.

48 Carmin { 11.01.08 at 9:09 pm }

Persimmon seeds here in Central Missouri all seem to have spoons. But our wooly worms have black tips with black front and back.

49 Sue { 11.01.08 at 1:34 pm }

My husband and I opened our garage door to find a huge black wooly worm on our driveway. It was bigger than normal and coal black. No other color on him. We’re in central Ohio

50 Taol { 10.31.08 at 5:38 pm }

what would be the genetic reason that caterpillars would change hair color depending on upcoming winter? why would this have been adaptive? Or is this a joke?

51 Judy { 10.31.08 at 12:55 am }

I saw a caterpillar in our garage tonight; I looked again, as I’d never seen one so thick and so black. That doesn’t sound good for nw Iowa, does it?!

52 Delene { 10.30.08 at 11:23 am }

Jacksonville Florida, black woollies have been sighted here, and this is our 3rd day of record breaking cold temps. winter is not even here yet. FYI, as far east as Northern Ireland yesterday was record cold, they had their first October snowfall in over 25 years. Cornwall had a hailstorm last night with drifts of up to 6 feet-yes feet-of hail.

53 D'Lise { 10.27.08 at 4:08 pm }

I live in central Florida and have seen numerous woolies. My mother-in-law has about a dozen in her garden, all black with VERY thick fur. They are in her garden so not sure of their direction. Possibly a cold winter here?! Would be great since the winters have been warm the last couple of years!

54 Melissa { 10.27.08 at 12:43 pm }

oh and they were all crossing towards the east and south east.

55 Melissa { 10.27.08 at 12:41 pm }

I live in southern IL and have seen a lot of all black woolies and the black and orange wollies. Most havebee crossing the roads in our country area. In fact one day on an 8 mile drive we started counting them…a total of 20 of them. On another drive we stopped and saved them off the road have have 8 on a 3 miles road. Wonder what the deal is because last year we didn’t see single one!

56 Jason { 10.27.08 at 12:09 pm }

I live north of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Picked up an all black, quite bushy Wooly yesterday. It was at the entrance of my sliding door going into the house to escape winter. At least I have new snow tires.

57 JoAnn { 10.25.08 at 7:24 pm }

I encountered two today. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both were solid black. I live in St. Louis, MO.

58 Robert { 10.25.08 at 4:18 pm }

I saw four Woolies about ten feet apart, very small black bands on their rear and very light orange along their lenghts of the front of all four. I live in North Greenbush, NY, North Easterly across the beautiful Hudson River from Albany, NY. The Woolies were all headed in a East-Nortrh -Easterly direction which shows that not only are they an indicator for seasonal weather predictions, they obviously have a sense for a better quality of life. Hopefully they will crawl into the ears of our local politicos and lay their eggs there.

59 Jo Ann { 10.24.08 at 8:40 pm }

I saw a young wolly bear a few days ago. Had a lot of black on both ends and a little brown. Heading north. I live near Albany, New York, which is upstate, New York.

60 Jeffery Nelson { 10.22.08 at 11:30 pm }

We live in northern Missouri–east of St.Joesph and have noticed for a couple of months now the fuzzy worms are fat and have thick hair on them with black hair and orange bands around the middle of them which means lots of snow and bitter cold–also have noticed fuzzy worms all are crawling south which according to almanac means bitter winter.

61 Marsha { 10.22.08 at 4:46 pm }

When my husband and I were golfing two weeks ago we saw a totally white woolly bear on one of the greens, but the other morning I found a totally black one on my front porch. Neither one of them had any kind of middle stripe at all.
I don’t know what direction they were going – if I had to guess, I’d say west.

62 Ryan { 10.21.08 at 7:28 pm }

I saw an all black wooly bear on a bike trail today October 21, 2008 in State College, PA. Took a pic of it with my phone. I’ve noticed most of them this fall have been more black than orange.

63 Michael { 10.20.08 at 10:32 pm }

Caterpillers are all black in north central Arkansas. Also spoons in persimmon seeds. Gonna be a cold snowey winter. Have fun everyone.

64 amy { 10.20.08 at 6:03 pm }

ok…anyone from tx see any caterpillars? I know you northerners are thinking it is ridiculoous to ask, but we can have hard winters too. :o0

65 Jack B { 10.20.08 at 2:44 pm }

Black caterpillar spotted today 11 am in Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park, NY. First time I have seen all black head to tail, I’m 71 yrs. old ! Oh, and I am sure it was headed south on the path! Look out Western New York, we are in for the worst!

66 Laura { 10.20.08 at 12:15 am }

I live in New Mexico at 7000 ft. and noticed quite a lot of all black wooly caterpillars and they all seemed to be headed SW. Does this mean a long hard winter?

67 Maureen { 10.16.08 at 7:19 pm }

I saw an all Black Wooly with thick fur on my patio today, he was heading North. I am from Massachusetts.

68 mo { 10.16.08 at 4:35 pm }

i saw an all black wooly im from chicago area

69 Sue { 10.16.08 at 3:11 pm }

I live in Lehighton, PA and saw a wooly today that had a black head mostly orange/brown and the tail was black. It was very fuzzy and was traveling south when we first noticed it.

70 Dee { 10.15.08 at 11:23 pm }

Our wooly worms are all dark, the ones that normally have orange in the middle, are now dark brown and we have several of the all black ones just hanging around on our front porch. Bedford, IN

71 lacey { 10.15.08 at 5:21 pm }

I was mowing the lawn about two weeks ago and saw an all orange/brown wooly bear. Other ones i have seen so far are more orange/brown than black. I am in NW Massachusetts.

72 sarah { 10.14.08 at 8:18 pm }

I saw a BIG FAT BLACK AND BROWN CATERPILLAR at the J.G. Pyne Arts Magnets school Lowell ma zip 01852 it was climbing up the wall peopule tred to kill it but I SAID IT IS A POOR BUG I SAVED IT ,but the teacher said GO PLAY!

73 philip { 10.14.08 at 8:04 pm }

i work at rout 15 and rout 50 in leesburg virginia.i saw 8 wolly worms heading south today.most had a very thick black coat,longer than a 1/4 inch,with hardly any orange in it.i guess wenter is going to suck this year…..

74 SANDRA { 10.14.08 at 1:32 am }

I LIVE IN MARYLAND AND I HAVE A FAT ALL BLACK WOOLY BEAR IN MY YARD

75 Col F { 10.13.08 at 10:34 pm }

Found 2 Wooly Bears today. in our back yard in New City, NY. Both were almost all brown with just a small amount of black at each end. They were traveling in a northwest direction. Lets hope it really is a mild winter.

76 Brian { 10.12.08 at 7:30 pm }

I am going to share with you a caterpillar story. About 2 weeks ago when I was driving to work in the early morning hours the highway looked damp. Later that day when I was coming home when you looked ahead it looked wet, but the closer I got it looked like mud from a tractor and as I got right on top of it was wooly caterpillars crossing the road. It was about a 3/4 of a mile stretch and there had be at least 10000 of them. They were all over the place and I have never seen this before in my life. I have lived in the area for about 17 years and this was a first. Currently I live 10 miles south of Grinnell, Ia on Highway 146. They were moving across the road which runs north and south and I didn’t pay attention to which direction they were going thou. Can someone explain why there were so many and why this hasn’t happen before

77 Connie { 10.12.08 at 2:47 pm }

All the wooly worms we’ve seen this fall are Black. Thornfield MO

78 Chris { 10.11.08 at 3:00 pm }

I have seen two Woolly Bear catapillers so far…both were almost all orange with a very small aount of black on each end….I just got a snow thrower. Guess it will stay in the garage all winter!…Pleasant Prairie, Wi

79 Cathy { 10.10.08 at 9:29 pm }

We were on the bike path today here in Geneva Illinois and saw two black furry caterpillars traveling West…they appeared to be hitch-hiking…just kidding. But seriously yes we did see them heading West. So what does this indicate as far as the weather goes?

80 Mary Anne { 10.10.08 at 10:28 am }

The other day I saw a beautiful caterpillar heading North with a huge orange band on it. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it wilthout the bright color! Hoping that means a warm mild winter here in St. Albans, Vermont.

81 dawn { 10.09.08 at 3:42 pm }

I too saw a wooly bear caterpillar last weekend that was all orange, no black on it whatsoever, and its hair was thin…I reside in East Bethany NY

82 deb { 10.08.08 at 4:17 pm }

i live in halifax pa. and ive noticed alot of white wooly bears does anyone know if they mean anything htey are pure white they were in my yard

83 Judy Barta { 10.08.08 at 3:49 pm }

On Wednesday,Oct. 8th I found 2 wooly caterpillers in my backyard and they were both black with a wide orange band in the center. The orange band seemed to be larger in size .

84 Alice { 10.08.08 at 1:49 pm }

On Sun. Oct. 5th, I saw one w/short black segment, big rust section & a bit longer black end. It was heading South though–so a long mostly mild winter for us. This was after church in Hopewell, PA (40 mi. N of Pgh).

85 Jean Saffer { 10.08.08 at 10:08 am }

I live on mountain in Linden, VA and all of the Wooly Bears that I have seen this fall are all black. I guess we shall see what this means soon!!
Jean

86 Dan { 10.07.08 at 3:37 pm }

I saw a Wooly Bear traveling SW and it’s head was black , the rest was brown-orange with no black on the end. This was in Cassadaga, NY.

87 Kevin { 10.07.08 at 2:43 pm }

I was taking a walk in the park this afternoon at lunch and saw four Wooly Bears.
Each of them were pretty much brownish orange in the middle and the ends were only black. I saw these in Wadsworth, OH.
I really do wish that means a very mild winter!

88 dannie { 10.07.08 at 1:44 pm }

I live in central Mo and I seen a real fuzzy cole black caterpilar with a bright red like skin, 10-6-08

89 Maggie { 10.07.08 at 12:17 pm }

P.S. I am in North Harmony, NY. near Chautauqua lake.

90 Maggie { 10.07.08 at 12:16 pm }

Today, while walking my two dogs, I saw a Wooly Bear Caterpillar. It was mostly black; with about eleven rings of hair, of which three rings were orange.

91 Dee { 10.07.08 at 6:59 am }

Yikes! This morning at 5am in Owings Mills Maryland I saw an all black wooly caterpillar. This is my 1st sighting of an all black wooly, hope this isn’t an indication of severe winter weather for the region!

92 Missi { 10.06.08 at 10:28 pm }

we currently have 3 in our bug box at home, my son loves bugs and wanted to show them in school. They are all black as black can be, I too think it is the first time I have ever seen an all black one. I’m getting the salt and cinders ready :-) We live in
West Virginia

93 Bev { 10.06.08 at 4:51 pm }

I saw a woolly bear catepillar this last week in LaCrosse, WI. He had a huge orange band around his middle — bigger than I have ever seen. Hopefully this means a mild winter for everyone!!!

94 Tara { 10.06.08 at 2:12 pm }

in guelph ontario canada, the ones i have seen so far have a very small amount of black on each end with a significantly larger amount of orange. unfortunately i don’t know of any fruiting persimmon trees to check that theory!

95 ed { 10.04.08 at 10:51 pm }

My wife Mary and I were walking on our bike trail in Mahopac, NY [about two miles] and came upon six or seven Wooly Bears. Everyone of them had been very large with black on both ends and all brown segments in the middle. More than half were going north?Cross your fingers for a mild winter? Maybe Wooly Bears know about our economy,so we will use less oil and are trying to make us feel better.

96 Nancy O { 10.03.08 at 9:57 pm }

We live in Montrose, MN (rural Minneapolis). Today we found an all orange woolly caterpillar cruising west in our shop parking lot. We’re hoping for mild!

97 Julie M. { 10.03.08 at 12:20 pm }

Walking through one of our county parks in northwestern NJ, my almost 3 year old daughter sreamed as I nearly ‘smushed’ a black wooly caterpillar. Two strides later we spotted an orange wooly caterpillar. Through much investigation, we learned that both caterpillars are ‘related’ to the wooly bear. The orange caterpillar will become the Tiger moth, while the black one will become the Leopard moth. Therefore, since both were found within 5 feet from the other, are we having a mild or severe winter? I believe I’ll actually have to find the Banded Wooly Bear caterpillar before I can make that prediction. This is the wooly caterpillar that should be used to predict our upcoming winter’s precipitation forcast. Since I teach 5th grade Science, I’ve asked my students to keep their eyes peeled for one of these caterpillars. Once we’ve tracked one, we’ll let everyone know what we learn (with of bands & direction of travel).

98 Deb S. { 10.01.08 at 6:57 pm }

I forgot to tell you where we are from. We live in Williamsburg, MI.

99 Deb S. { 10.01.08 at 6:54 pm }

We have a wolly bear here and he is going in circles. He has a black fuzzy front and orange fuzzy midsection and black fuzzy end. We were under the idea that the weather is found by looking at how long the black bands are. Long black band means long fall weather. Long orange band means long winter. Long black band in the end means long spring weather. Ours has a long black band on the front and equal size middle, but a short black end. We would surmise this to mean then a long fall, long winter and short spring. Your version also says long winter. Not sure about the caterpillar going in circles. Thanks for the great web site.

100 Donna { 10.01.08 at 12:12 pm }

A work colleague shared an article we published on the wooly caterpillar for our customers a couple years back.

http://www.wintersilks.com/Newsletter/NewsletterAug06.aspx

We sell silk long johns – so we do watch for caterpillars this time of year – although mostly for fun before we all start wearing our product through March around here!

101 Donna { 10.01.08 at 11:36 am }

I spotted the first wooly of the season today – it has a very large orange middle band surrounded by smaller black bands at each end. I live in Madison, Wisconsin.

102 tony { 09.30.08 at 6:45 pm }

from syracuse new york my wooly bear was a short black front a large red/brown middle and a very short black end what kind of winter will we have ?

103 Jennifer { 09.29.08 at 11:12 pm }

I saw a wooly bear on my chicken coop door today. It was mostly black with about 3 orange segments in the middle. It was heading towards the ground! I hope this means we get some good snow this winter. I live in Philadelphia.

104 Pamela { 09.29.08 at 4:49 pm }

Here in the Missouri we are seeing an abundance of wooly worms that are completely black. No brown or orange at all. I hope it means snow, not ice. They have been travelling west and south. Blue Eye, MO.

105 Dione { 09.28.08 at 5:26 pm }

I to saw a Wooly Worm today while outside it was almost completly orange and had just a dot of black on its end I had to look to find it I have never seen such a thing. It was going north. I know that means mild but does anyone know if it also means ice. I live in southern michigan.

106 teresa { 09.28.08 at 10:53 am }

I was at my mother’s house in the country and i found a wooly worm, completely black. i didn’t realize the myth behind it until my mother saw it and about freaked out. it had a thick, all black coat and it was heading west. west portsmouth, ohio.

107 Verna Phillips { 09.25.08 at 5:16 pm }

verna ..Sept 24,08 at 8:46 am

I went out to my car and on the sidewalk was an all black fuzzy wuzzy. That is the first time I have ever seen an all black one and I have lived in North Calif. all my life. Also Mount Shasta has no snow to speak of, never saw her this bare before.

108 Matt { 09.25.08 at 5:04 am }

I have seen two wooly bears in the past week. Both were all black, the first time I have ever seen all black ones. Hope the “bad winter” for western Nebraska does not come true.

109 DEB { 09.24.08 at 12:43 pm }

Sept 24, 2008 I saw my first wooly bear of this fall today, mostly orange and going west-whatever that might mean. Waukau WI

110 Bryan { 09.24.08 at 2:34 am }

I live near Philadelphia Pennsylvania (an hour away) and I’ve been seeing a lot of orange caterpillars around my house. There seems to be about 20 of them right now, and while taking a walk through the fields, I must have seen 20 more. 90% of them were orange, with a few black ones in there.

111 Ashley { 09.22.08 at 5:18 pm }

There has been a wooly bear outside of my house for over a week now, and he will climb up the brick by the front door and then later on in the evening he will scoot across the ground. He has a thick black coat and I have yet to see any Orange coloring on him. I will try and get a better look. Hopefully we will have some snow, last year was a little boring to say the least in Cincinnati, OH.

112 Melissa { 09.22.08 at 12:12 pm }

My son and I saw the first wooley bear of the season here in lower PA. It looked very hairy and was orange with a thick black band running down its back. It was traveling south as well. We are hoping for some snow this year as last year was so very mild, so I think he may be in our favor!!

113 Jennifer { 09.22.08 at 5:56 am }

Yesterday my son found what he thought was a bee (he’s 4) he proceeded to try to hit it with a stick, I went to investigate and found an all black catapillar… After explaining to my son what it was, he was excited about it and took it in to show grandma and grandpa, my dad then told me about catapillars and this weather stuff. What does an all black catapillar mean? I’m in Pinckney, Mi

114 Gurcharn { 09.20.08 at 8:18 pm }

There are several wooleybears on a plant on my back patio. This is the first time I have every seen a wooleybear caterpillar. These ones are black with a striking yellow-orange band. The band of yellow-orange is far larger than the black bands. I guess that means a mild winter here on Vancouver Island.

115 Bonnie { 09.20.08 at 8:15 pm }

I also saw an all orange woolly bear today, and we live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

116 Loretta May { 09.19.08 at 9:36 pm }

I saw an all black caterpillar for the first time. I live near Erie, PA. I’m assuming we are in for a long hard winter.

117 melissa { 09.17.08 at 11:18 am }

i saw a woolly worm in hillsville, va over labor day weekend. it was light brown and pretty furry. some black on the tips. does anyone know what that means??? and is the prediction for that area only??
you can respond on here or email me at forevrmercy@aol.com.
thank you.

118 Tom { 09.17.08 at 9:47 am }

While golfing yesterday afternoon I saw a completely orange woolybear. I’ve never seen that before. The caterpillar was heading south if that means anything.

119 Eileen { 09.15.08 at 10:32 am }

My first woolybear this morning has about equal parts black and orange on front and just a bit on his/her tail end. Going around in circles on my drive way with temperature about 81F here in Frederick MD.His circle direction is probably because circle direction is too HOT on the Blacktop!!! LOL up here on the mountain top, having gone down the stairs in my PJ’s to view the newcomer!

120 White Wooly Bear { 09.09.08 at 12:04 pm }

Some time last week, I was driving down the road and I saw a White wooly bear! I have never seen one before. I’m almost scared to find out what kind of winter we will have with this one.
Thanks a bunch.
Bonnie

121 Peter Geiger { 09.09.08 at 1:51 am }

What you are describing is a mild winter according to your caterpillar. Lots of orange is mild – and lots of black mean bad. It is counter to our predictions. But, for the folks living in Northern New England, this would be good news.

122 Michelle { 09.09.08 at 1:37 am }

I was walking my dog the other day (in the late afternoon) and saw a wolly bear, I had to look close because I thought I was seeing something wrong, but it was a wollybear catapillar and it was all orange except for the “feelers” at both ends, they were black. It had no band and the orange was fairly dark. it was also heading northwest. So what does this mean, a nice warm, little bit of snow, winter? I always look for the wolly’s every year and usually see a black band, but not this year. I live in Merrimack NH and that is where I saw it. Thanks for the great predictions. Sincerely, Michelle.

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