The Woolie Bear Caterpillar - Nature's Winter Weatherman?

   Move Over Groundhog -- it’s time for Woolie Bear!  According to folklore, the wider the middle brown section is, the more brown segments there are, the milder the coming winter will be. But if the brown band is narrower we can expect a nasty winter. Is it true or just a myth?

   Let’s do some background on this interesting caterpillar. In it’s adult form it is an Isabella Moth - a medium-size moth with yellowish-orange and cream-colored wings spotted with black and that ranges from northern Mexico throughout the United States and up into southern Canada.

   As moths go, the Isabella isn’t as pretty to look at compared with other types, but its larva (called the Woolie Bear) is one of the few caterpillars most people can actually identify.

   Woolie Bears are covered with short, stiff bristles of hair, giving them a soft, “woolie” appearance. In insect identification books they’re found among the “bristled” species, which include several species in the tiger moth family. But not all of them are “Woolie Bears!”

   Woolie Bears, like other caterpillars, hatch during warm weather from eggs laid by a female moth. Mature Woolie Bear caterpillars winter under bark or inside cavities of rocks or logs. Quite often we find them crossing roads and sidewalks in the fall, searching for their special hiding spot. When spring comes, Woolie B ...

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