Caterpillar – Predicting Winter Weather

Q: Please help me with folklore predictions of how the weathers will be. One of the things I’ve always heard about are the black woolly caterpillars, but don’t know which one means that the winter will be bad. I saw one that was almost red all over, with black at the tip of the head and tail. Does this indicate a bad or mild winter?

A: Theresa Schrum at Eco-Terra Landscape says:

The coloration of the woolly bear caterpillar as it relates to winter is folklore and not scientific fact. The following paragraph from the National Wildlife Federation tells about this:

“Familiar since Colonial times as the “Woolly Bear,” the caterpillar is often seen crossing roads and paths on warm days in late fall. According to superstition, the amount of black in the caterpillar’s bristle coating forecasts the severity of the coming winter. Actually, the coloration indicates how near the caterpillar is to full growth before autumn weather stimulates it to seek a winter shelter.”

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