Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Does Woolly Bear Caterpillar Predict Milder or Harsher Winter?


Woolly Bear Caterpillar
On his way to the mailbox


Are we going to have another harsh winter?


From Insects.About.com

"According to folk wisdom, when the brown bands on fall woolly bears are narrow, it means a harsh winter is coming. The wider the brown band, the milder the winter will be. Some towns hold annual woolly worm festivals in the fall, complete with caterpillar races and an official declaration of the woolly worm's prediction for that winter. 
 
"Are the woolly worm's bands really an accurate way to predict the winter weather? Dr. C.H. Curran, former curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, tested the woolly worms' accuracy in the 1950's. His surveys found an 80% accuracy rate for the woolly worms' weather predictions.

"Other researchers have not been able to replicate the success rate of Curran's caterpillars, though. Today, entomologists agree that woolly worms are not accurate predictors of winter weather."

 From February of 2014
It was cold, trust me.

***

I'm putting my money on the Woolly Bear Caterpillar rather than the weatherman, although I don't have last year's caterpillar to compare the two. We need a mild winter after last year's horrid winter and the year before where we had 18 inches of snow the beginning of May.


 May 5, 2013

Am I the only one who calls them Wooly Bears? I see that this article calls them a Woolly Worm. I know they're a worm, but they're way cuter than your typical nightcrawler.

***

P.S.  After I had written the above, Mr. Cranberry saw TWO woolly bear caterpillars crossing the road. They were all black. That is not a good sign for those of us in the Northwoods. 

P.P.S. So what do you think? Any predictions? And does it matter to you? Do you love winter?



***

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34 comments:

Liz@ Infuse With Liz said...

I've heard of predictions like this- I'm all for believing that it could be accurate or I'm just desperate for a positive spin on the upcoming winter! It sure was a miserable winter we had to deal with wasn't it!

Jacquelineand.... said...

My grandfather always called them woolly boogers. Sadly, I think this winter will be as bad... or worse... than last year's. =(

Dicky Bird said...

I believe in the woolly bears, my sister has looked at them, studied them and for the past I don't even know how many years - they has been right. She even counts the rows somehow and comes pretty close to saying when snow will come and when it will leave....IDK, how she does it. People will actually ask, Lori, what did the woolly tell you? I don't know if I can take another Polar Plunge...really...I'm tough...but, mother nature is tougher...

Sandra said...

we called them wooly worms and i accidentally stepped on a solid black one and boy did it HURT... that was about 55 years ago. the almanac says a really cold winter and our area in Florida a wet winter. we are usually dry.

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

I am so not ready for snow! You know me, I only love winter on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. After that it can go away!!

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

I love old folk-lore. Like cows lying down being a sure sign of them being tired... I'm afraid I'd need some hard scientific facts before I linked the colours or texture of a caterpillar (or whatever) with events due to take place several months down the line, though! As for winter, every season has something going for it - but then we do not have the same extremes in the UK as other people do. Crisp, frosty, winter mornings are wonderful; several feet of snow when you're trying to dig out your sheep, or sub-zero temperatures causing misery, or risk to life, aren't any fun at all.

Deb said...

I never knew they could predict the weather. Very interesting. I love these little creatures and always called them Hairy Mollys. Not sure where I picked that up. Deb

Arlene Grimm said...

Judy, I am hoping for a mild winter but our weathermen are telling us to look for a snowy winter. Of course here in No Ala, snow shuts everything down as we do not have snow removal. Fortunately it only lasts several days at most before it melts. My hat is off to you brave souls who live with severe winters.

Donna said...

I think we'll have a cold winter this time. Since we're retired, it doesn't matter if it snows or not to much, as long as we can get to the doctor offices and grocery store. I have a great little Subaru and it gets me where I need to go.

And I've always called them wooly worms. Haven't seen any yet, but we're further south than you.

Debbie said...

oh this was a fun read. i have never heard this tale until now but i honestly don't think any "man" can predict the weather. our weathermen are always wrong.

i love all season's including winter. i love the snow because i love to take pics of the snow and my birds are very cooperative in winter!!

being home is my favorite place to be so....bring on the snow and cold!!!

Pamela Gordon said...

I've heard this prediction before too and don't hold my breath on it. And we also call them woolly bears here. I've also seen pictures of wasps nests (another predictor of heavy snow) on telephone lines (20 feet in the air) and on top of a power pole! The weather prognosticators are calling for 'snow'. And that's just what we'll get. I'm not looking forward to it at all and your photo of the road and weak sun and snow blowing in the distance gave me the chills. We'll live with what we get up here and be content. I'm thankful for a warm cozy house and heat and a snowblower that my husband can use to clear the snow. :)

Linda Kay said...

I'll bet wooly bear is as accurate as the weatherman! It never ceases to amaze me how wrong they are with predictions with all that sophisticated equipment. Having lived in the north, I am very happy to be where it never gets quite as cold!

Diane said...

One of my older aunts used to say this too-- narrow bands means a bad winter. Years ago, I saw one all black and we had a nasty winter that year. So if you saw one with a wide band and your husband saw two all black, what does that mean? Hope the wide banded one is right! When we were kids we called them Teddy Bear Caterpillars. guess that is a take off of woolly bear.

Debbie said...

This was very interesting. Considering we are suppose to go over a 100 AGAIN today I honestly can't imagine winter at all, lol. Enjoy your day!

TexWisGirl said...

i can't rely on them. saw one all black here last year and we had the mildest of winters. :)

Lorrie said...

Our winters are generally mild, although I always hope for a couple of weeks of snow and rarely get it. You had a brutal winter last year and I hope this one is milder.

Debby Ray said...

Ever since I was a little girl, they have always been wooly worms to me. I used to let them crawl up my finger back in the day...can't stand to touch any kind of catapiller since some mean boy at school put a whole handful down the back of my dress....YUCK!

Heide at ApronHistory said...

We always call them Woolly Bears too. I never could remember which way it went, narrow for hard winter or wide for hard winter. Unfortunately, we don't see many here in the city.
We learned a new wive's tale this year. When the sparrows flock, two weeks until a weather change. That one was right! Have you heard the one about the fog in August to tell how many times it will snow?

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

They always talk about them in the mountains of NC as a way to predict the winter. Sometimes we see wider stripes on one than another though! lol I'll enjoy a mild winter here. Hugs, Diane PS Can you go back and get one of those printer's trays? You should!

Terri D said...

I've never seen them in Florida, so I can't speak to them as a predictor of winter here. I dislike winter weather with every fiber of my being. I don't like being cold. I don't like wearing heavy clothing and boots. I don't like shoveling snow. I don't like driving on ice. So, that is why I have been in Florida 25 years, with no plans to ever move north again. We have three months of sticky heat, and nine months of delightful temperatures. It's all mine!! :)

Primitive Stars said...

Wooly Bears here love them so but forgot what the weather will be like.Blessings Francine.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

The wives tale about the fog in August is this; for every foggy morning in August there will be a snowfall. To keep track the traditional way is to put a bean in a jar for every fog and then when the snow starts to come start taking them out. Then you will know when Spring is right around the corner!

Nancy Shuman said...

I've always called them wooly worms, and have long heard their legend. I actually like winter, because cold air feels fresh and clean to me, and I often stick my head out a door just before going to bed in the cold months. I like to breathe in a whiff of the freshness with me.

I'll bet my my neighbors "talk" ....... :)

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Let's just hope for the best in all corners of our country.

I've seen them here, but never any snow or real cold freezes. Wondering just how these bits of folklore/wives' tales get started?

Just like the cicadas singing here....when they sing, rain's coming.

;-)

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Wooly bears. Yup.

Ruth Kelly said...

Someone is always trying to find a way to predict the weather. We are still having 90 degree weather in September. What was unusual is when I15 hiway was washed out between St. George, Utah and Mesquite, Nevada. It stopped a major route between the two states.

Chatty Crone said...

Haha I had never heard that before - well I am in the south and I love winter - I love fall better, then winter, then spring, and then the HOT summer. I do hope it is not bad for you this year.

Carla from The River said...

We call them Wooly Bears over here at Cameron ;-)
The boys have tried to keep them for pets. :-)
And I hate to tell you this, but I do like Winter. Please still like me.
xx oo
Carla

Anita Johnson said...

I call them wooly bears too. I can't even think about winter...I'm still cold from the last one! (o:

Lana Wallpe said...

I'm afraid that I am a horse of a different color because I really love winter (when it's all clean, clear, and white). I also am on the other side by calling the critters you mentioned Woolly Worms. We are hearing both sides of the predictions....guess I will have to put out our weather rock and consult it as the days turn colder.

EG CameraGirl said...

I call them woolly bears, too. I'm hoping we have a better winter than last...MUCH better!

pattisjarrett said...

My vote is with the caterpillar's forecast, and I don't like the prediction you mentioned! I called it "woolly worm" as a kid, but I've seen them called "woolly bears" since my boundaries have been enlarged by blogging.

Lynne said...

I think the fact that you are seeing a Wooly Worm Caterpillar already means that winter is a sure thing for 2014-15. I am just sayin' . . .

I remember one time back in Wisconsin days when our daughter Suzie picked up a Black Brown Wooly and stuck it in her pocket. She kept it protected with her warm hands and ended up with a horrendous allergic reaction. Not sure what that meant at all except a night time visit to the emergency . . .

Ida said...

Well I don't know what to think but I do know I find those fuzzy critters really cute.

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