Monday, October 17, 2011

Woolly Bear Caterpillar

The woolly bear caterpillar is making its presence known this year and by the looks of its fat, orangey band, this coming winter could be a mild one. I first noticed the woolly bears a couple weeks ago when I went into my office in the garage and a caterpillar just missed falling on my head. It curled when I picked it up, but I just lobbed it outside and took a pic of it:

I went back into the garage and looked above the door. There was another one crawling along the top. They must have come in through the gap at the top of the door. (Yes, that's why I freeze when I work in the winter.)

I tickled the woolly bear caterpillar down from it spot and lobbed it outside. I then saw the first one scurrying away at an unbelievable rate so I grabbed my camera...

It rained a couple days later and I went out to take pics of momma duck and her babies splashing in a puddle. I almost tripped over my cement chicken decorated for fall decor.

Yes, it's a chicken. Look close. It's missing it's head and the tip of its tail, but is still my hen. There just happens to be some people in our house (not mentioning any names) who think a cement hen isn't worthy to stand on the front steps and it keeps ending up in the grass.

Not only was the hen decorated, but the caterpillars were sporting liquid ornamental beads. Who knew they were water repellant?

Now I don't know anything about insects and their society, so I can't tell you if they're after this spider or vice versa.

Well, except for this one... he seems to be high-tailin' it outta there.

From the colour of the band, I'd say we're in for a mild to average winter. I used to think that the wider the band, the more severe the winter, but it seems the legend is opposite. The colour also plays a part as I found out at the site of The Woolly Bear Festival  every October in Vermilion, Ohio. A comment states, "They (woolly bear caterpillars) sport 3 colors: Gold for mild; Dark Brown for Average; and Black for Intense."

And if you don't believe them, how about the Weather Blog Channel ? They have a very informative post about the woolly bear caterpillar.

And if that isn't enough to convince you, what about the claims made in the Old Farmer's Almanac? Surely you can trust the Almanac? But then, someone at the Almanac also suggests that the woolly bear shows what the previous winter was like instead of predicting the future one.

After the cold winters we've had here on the Canadian prairies lately, a short mild winter followed by an early, warm spring with lots of sunshine for the plants would be dandy. And while I'm wishing... early rain - preferably at night and then a dry spell while the farmers plant and then more rain to speed growth would be just about perfect.

What about you? Do you believe the Woolly Bear Caterpillar can accurately forecast the weather?

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