Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wooly Bear Caterpillars

Wooly Bear on Farmers Almanac - Photo Credit Catherine Boeckmann 
Wooly Bear caterpillars are the focus of one of the items in this week's news column.  Dr. Michael Raupp of the University of Maryland (also known as The Bug Guy) featured them in his October 14th, 2012 Bug of the Week column.  In order to get a picture to accompany the news column, I sent out an email to MG's to keep their eye out and send me pictures if ones were spotted.  Folks came through beautifully, with these pictures from three sources - Bob Haffly through MG trainee Judy Scriptunas, Laurie Collins, and Mike Kusko. 

Laurie Collins Picture 1 from Fannettsburg

The Farmers Almanac runs down the history of the Wooly Bear as another peerless prognosticator of winter weather.

Laurie Collins Picture 2 from Fannettsburg
Supposedly, the width of the orange stripe predicts the severity of the on-coming winter.  The wider the stripe, the milder the winter.

Laurie Collins Picture 3 from Fannettsburg
Fannetsburg is predicting a mild winter.

Bob Haffly - Judy Scriptunas from Amberson
Amberson is predicting a severe winter (except this is the wrong species)
Bob Haffly Judy Scriptunas - from Amberson
Another wrong species, but sure would be nice if the winter is that mild.

Bob Haffly Judy Scriptunas - Amberson
Seems to comport with the Fannetsburg forecast.

Mike Kusko - Chambersburg
The Chambersburg area says really mild, too.
Mike Kusko - Chambersburg
Like Groundhog Day, there are several festivals throughout the country, celebrating the Wooly Worm:  Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio

Not to be a spoilsport or anything, but MGs are supposed to link to the science of it all, so here are Extension Fact Sheets on the subject from Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.

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