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Woolly Worms or Wooly Bear six red segments

Woolly Worms and Winter: Foreteller or Folklore?

Summary: Do the stripes of woolly worms stripes predict the length or severity of winter? It’s a long standing folk tradition that woolly worms, or woolly bears, the caterpillar of the Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) can predict whether the coming winter will be harsh or mild. According to the tradition, the longer the woolly bear's black bands, the longer and more severe the winter will be, and the wider the middle brown band is indicates a milder upcoming winter. If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be longer, darker, and harder. If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be more severe. Alternate traditions state that if a woolly worm’s coat is thick, it will be a cold winter, or that if a that woolly bear caterpillar crawls in Continue reading [...]

Keeping a Wooly Worm as a Pet

A reader asked us if wooly worms could be kept as a pet. They can! Wooly worms are common pets in classrooms, as children can learn a lot from observing their lifecycle. Continue reading [...]
woolly bear caterpillar

What is a Banded Woolly Bear Worm?

After the Isabella tiger moth lays its eggs, the banded woolly bear emerges in the fall. It remains in caterpillar form during the winter. It produces a substance called cryoprotectant, which protects it from the cold during the freezing winter months. Continue reading [...]

What Do Wooly Worms Eat?

Wooly worms eat a variety of plants and vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, grass, and clover. In order to survive, they must eat large quantities of food before settling in for the winter. Continue reading [...]

Wooly Bear Caterpillars

Whether you call it a wooly bear caterpillar or a wooly worm caterpillar, the wooly bear is the same thing. Wooly bears are a furry insect that can be spotted during the fall months in large numbers. They can be seen inching along the ground in small groups or alone. While you will notice them in great numbers during the fall months, the wooly bear caterpillar actually has two life cycles. This means you can also find them inching along the ground in June and July as well. Continue reading [...]

Black Wooly Worm Habits

Prior to settling in for the winter, the wooly worm will survive by eating a variety of plants such as cabbage, spinach, grass, and clover. And to protect itself from predators, the wooly worm will curl up into a ball, exposing only its bristles, which can be quite irritating to the skin. Continue reading [...]
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