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Country Discussion Topics
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Wooly worms
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scooterhead    Posted 11-04-2001 at 16:08:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Here in S.E.IN. the wooly worms are solid black and sure act like there goin somewhere , the roads are coverd with them to . Anybody know what the all black wooly worm is spos to mean ????


nfueie    Posted 10-07-2008 at 17:53:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
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Paul Traudt Nature Photog    Posted 08-31-2004 at 10:36:52       [Reply]  [Send Email]
All white means heavy snow
all black means long cold winter
Here in the northeast , upstate New york I have
been seeing several all white and all black
wooly bears all over..... In fact I haven't seen
ONE with any orange on it... UH Oh!!!!!!!!


laree    Posted 11-02-2004 at 11:24:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The woolly worm I found here in northern Asheville had about 1/4 inch of black on each end and solid orange in the middle. What is that a sign of?


carol koons    Posted 09-07-2004 at 12:27:54       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We have wooly worms all over the outside of our house. Where are they coming from? How can we get rid of them?


Unonymous    Posted 07-11-2005 at 14:36:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
I wouldn't get rid of them if they were living inside my house! I love them very much and now I have one as a pet! I named it "Fuzzy"!


Unonymous    Posted 07-11-2005 at 14:37:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
My Fuzzy likes Maple leaves and I like my Fuzzy!


chass    Posted 08-07-2007 at 12:39:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
today august 7, 2007 while at work, actually fifteen minutes before i sent this message, i came from outside, sat down, and on the tip of my shoe was a white wooly worm. I have never seen one that color in my life and i am 33 years old. It was so cute, and still small.


pb100acrewood    Posted 10-01-2003 at 04:55:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
From the Old Farmer's Almanac:

IN THE fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars. The woolly bears' variable bands, made up of 13 distinct segments of black and reddish-brown -- and their reputed ability to forecast the severity of the coming winter -- had long fascinated the entomologist.
Dr. Curran proposed a scientific study. He collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune. His experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly bear the most famous and most recognizable caterpillar in North America.

The caterpillar Curran studied, the true woolly bear, is the larval form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth. This medium-size moth, with yellowish-orange and cream-colored wings spotted with black, is common from northern Mexico throughout the United States and across the southern third of Canada. As moths go, the Isabella isn't much to look at compared with some of the other 11,000 species of North American moths, but its immature larva, called the black-ended bear or the woolly bear (and, throughout the South, woolly worm) is one of the few caterpillars most people can identify by name.

Woolly bears do not actually feel much like wool -- they are covered with short, stiff bristles of hair. In field guides, they're found among the "bristled" species, which include the all-yellow salt marsh caterpillar and several species in the tiger moth family. Doug Ferguson, an entomologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., says, "I've heard people call different caterpillars 'woolly bears,' even ones that are all black, all brown, yellow, or gray. It's the hairiness they're referring to. I guess you'd better be careful about which caterpillar you're looking at before you make your prediction."

Woolly bears, like other caterpillars, hatch during warm weather from eggs laid by a female moth. After feeding on dandelions, asters, birches, clovers, maples, weeds, and other vegetation, mature woolly bears disperse and search for overwintering sites under bark or inside cavities of rocks or logs. (That's why you see so many of them crossing roads and sidewalks in the fall.) When spring arrives, woolly bears spin fuzzy cocoons and transform inside them into full-grown moths.

Typically, the bands at the ends of the caterpillar are black, and the one in the middle is brown or orange, giving the woolly bear its distinctive striped appearance. According to legend, the wider that middle brown section is (i.e., the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. Conversely, a narrow brown band is said to predict a harsh winter.

Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran's average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a third of the woolly bear's body. As those relatively high numbers suggested, the corresponding winters were milder than average. But Curran was under no scientific illusion: He knew that his data samples were small. Although the experiments popularized and, to some people, legitimized folklore, they were simply an excuse for having fun. Curran, his wife, and their group of friends, who called themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear, escaped New York each fall for the glorious foliage and the meals at the posh Bear Mountain Inn. The naturalist Richard Pough was a member, as was Kim Hunter, the actress who starred in the movie Planet of the Apes.

Thirty years after the last meeting of Curran's society, the woolly bear brown-segment counts and winter forecasts were resurrected by the nature museum at Bear Mountain State Park. The annual counts have continued, more or less tongue in cheek, since then. This fall, museum director Jack Focht will gather a dozen or so caterpillars, as he has done since 1988, and spread them out on the kitchen table of his "folklore consultant," Clarence Conkling. The two men will count the brown segments, average them, and declare another forecast from Woolly Bear Mountain. "We're about 80 percent accurate," he says.




pb100acrewood    Posted 03-29-2004 at 14:54:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
From the above, woolies eat "dandelions, asters, birches, clovers, maples, weeds, and other vegetation". I have never heard of one biting or being venomous. If anyone else has info on this, please post.


ALLORA    Posted 10-04-2003 at 16:44:00       [Reply]  [Send Email]
How do you know if they're not poisonous?
What do they eat?


Jo Ann    Posted 11-05-2004 at 07:52:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I KNOW they are poisonous. I had one crawl up my sleeve and get on my neck, when I brushed him off, I don't know what happened, whether they lose those fuzzy things or what, but from my neck to my waist was nothing but bumps and whelps. I don't know if I am just severely allergic to them or whether they do that to everyone. That was on Saturday and today is Friday and I am still not well!!!!!


Bug Freak    Posted 10-27-2006 at 12:03:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
I believe you are highly allergic, this happens to my dad but doesn't do anything to anyone else in my family.


Michael    Posted 09-30-2003 at 08:28:58       [Reply]  [Send Email]
So if black wooly worms mean a hard winter and white wooly worms mean snow, what does it mean when you have all different colors. Here in NE Missouri, at least in our yard, we have a whole bunch of black, a few brown, some red, some gold, and I've even seen a couple of white.

And a whole bunch of them (and the crickets too) are trying real hard to get in my garage.

I wonder if they're just all confused.


Ken    Posted 09-22-2003 at 17:35:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I noted all the wooly worms near Lexington,
Nebraska were headed north. What would
this mean ?


Bob    Posted 10-22-2002 at 14:06:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
yeah, black means a cold winter... what do wooly worms eat? potatoes & grass or sumthin?


peggy hancock    Posted 10-20-2003 at 10:04:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i need a straight answer on "What a wooly worm eats"-Please ,other sights seems to be dismissed.peggy hancock -from south carolina


Cindy    Posted 10-05-2002 at 12:58:58       [Reply]  [Send Email]
This morning I found a wooly worm without any coloration. His head was brown,but the rest of his body was snow white. I'm wondering what this may mean? Or is my wooly worm just an albino? Can't see if his eyes are red. 10/05/02


Steve    Posted 09-16-2003 at 08:51:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
All white wooly worms are supposed to mean heavy snow. I've never seen one myself.


dreamgypsy    Posted 09-17-2003 at 16:04:02       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Just curious about all those wooly worms.. what exactly are they? I've seen them for years, and this year the roads are COVERED with them! More so than any other year, I think. I know that caterpillers become butterflies and moths- what exactly do wooly worms become? A moth, or a butterfly? and what kind? Just curious!


Larry Mayer    Posted 09-02-2002 at 15:41:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
2001 Wooly Worms were brown, and winter was mild. This year, be ready for anything, they are black as night!


PCC-AL    Posted 11-05-2001 at 09:49:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Back in the 50s I made a trip through the Ozark Mountains and watched the tarantula spiders doing the same thing. I think I recall it was in the spring or early summer. It was only in one particular area for a short distance.


Les...fortunate    Posted 11-05-2001 at 02:42:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
No matter what the "wooly bears", as we call them here, look like, somebody will tell you it means a hard winter.


Mudcat49    Posted 11-04-2001 at 20:22:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
My late friend, Norris Dean and I used to use a wet fly called a "Wooly Worm" to catch Bluegill with a flyrod.


Mike Taylor    Posted 11-04-2001 at 18:12:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
One HECK of a cold winter!


Sara Sheets    Posted 08-24-2003 at 10:24:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
What does a wooly worm become - as in what color butterfly or moth?


Nancy    Posted 08-30-2002 at 20:43:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
As I understand the Farmer's Almanac, it means we are in for a cold, snowy winter!!!!!!!!!!


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