Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Will it be a Mild or Cold Winter?

October 27th, 2008

Here in Ohio we have a huge festival in the fall called the Woolly Bear Festival. Here in Ohio we call the caterpillars of the Isabella Tiger Moth “Woolly Bears”, in the south they are called “Woolly Worms” in other areas they are called “The Black Ended Bear”. You always know that fall is coming when you start seeing these crossing the roads and around the yard looking for a warm spot to overwinter. I spotted a teeny tiny on earlier this summer on my parsley plant.

There’s a saying that the bands on the woolly bear will tell you what kind of winter you’re having. According to legend the wider the band the milder the winter. So does it work? Read this article and see for yourself. You have to be careful because the all-black or all-tan ones aren’t really woolly bears, they’re caterpillars of a different species of moths. Accurate or not in predicting the winter, they’re fun to have around.

I always like spotting them about the garden, it seems like they’re always headed somewhere in a hurry. Sometimes I uncover them when raking leaves or moving a bale of straw. Usually I find them another warm spot where they won’t be disturbed and put them there. In the spring they will emerge as the Isabella Tiger Moth.

Have you been spotting these little fuzzy caterpillars around your home? What are they telling you about the winter?

3 Comments to “Will it be a Mild or Cold Winter?”
  1. Jennifer on October 27, 2008 at 9:34 am

    We saw a wooly bear over at Walden Pond. SJ thought I was making the name up. The brown section was relatively small (less than 1/3 of the body) – and he’s the only one I’ve seen this year, so short winter? That would explain why the frost was 2 weeks late! ;)

    It’s funny, I just looked them up in my field guide the other day to show SJ, and it mentioned the wive’s tale winter thing, which I had been told when I was very young, but had long forgotten about.

    Reply to Jennifer's comment

  2. farm mom on October 27, 2008 at 9:54 am

    My son LOVES wolly bear season. About a month ago they were EVERYWHERE around here. Now, it’s gotten too cold and they’re all safely tucked in for the winter.

    Reply to farm mom's comment

  3. Frugal Trenches on October 27, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Oh they are soooo adorable!!!

    Reply to Frugal Trenches's comment

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Beautiful Edible Bushes

This year we planted 6 new blueberry bushes here at Chiot's Run. I bought the All-Season Blueberry Sampler from Nourse...