Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Nature's folk wisdom - mild winter to come??

We have spotted two wooly bear caterpillars in the past two days.  They are actually the larva stage of the Isabella tiger moth, that seek shelter over winter and will become moths in the new year.  They are common in these parts (southern Ontario) and can be found hiding in protected areas like leaf piles - you will recognize them immediately by the distinct markings of black bands at each end and reddish-brown band in the middle.  The folk wisdom tells us that the width of the bands predict the severity of the winter ahead.  What is said, is that the wider the reddish-brown middle band, the milder the winter.  Well, we'll see.  These two wooly bears that we've seen have had significantly wide middle bands, equal to the black end bands.  How fun to keep learning about using nature's guides to help us understand the seasons, weather patterns, and more.


  1. We've been seeing a ton of wooly bears around our place. I'm going to have to look more closely at them to see how wide their stripes are.

  2. I've been keeping my eyes open for wooly bears since reading this post. This weekend I saw two that were almost completely orange. I'll be curious to see if the coming season agrees with their forecast.