The 2008 Woolly Worm Report


It’s woolly worm weather time! As the story goes, the longer the middle brown band on a woolly worm, the shorter and milder the coming winter. The shorter the brown band, the longer and snowier. This tale is backed up by studies (really) that put woolly worm accuracy at 57 percent. (Close to your average TV weatherman.)

I am in love with this woolly worm.

See its big brown band? Yep, I’m lovin’ this woolly worm!

Last year, my first woolly worm spotting was a dreadful one with more black than brown. I didn’t like that one very well and tried a woolly worm do-over with the next one. It had a large brown band and I loved it ever so much. How did that work out? Not so good as I was soon experiencing life at 16 degrees in the old farmhouse.

Clearly, it is critical in woolly worm forecasting to go with the first woolly worm of the season. There is something magical, mystical, almost fantastical about that worm. It’s the scout, the leader, the one in the know. So no cheating this year. I’m sticking with my first one, my beloved, my forecaster of a short, mild winter. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I like this woolly’s prediction, of course. OF COURSE. It is simply justified based on last year’s results. THAT IS ALL.)

And you? How are the woolly worms looking in your area?


  1. jan n' tn says:

    Coco is so expressive. Romping and tromping in the pond is just her way of letting you know that even though she is hard at work most of the time…there is still time for that playful puppy to emerge.

  2. Marianne says:

    My first wooly bear was nearly black :hissyfit: .

    All since have been nice and evenly segregated into black and brown stripes… are you SURE we have to go with the first one? :weather:

  3. MissyinWV says:

    It’s time for wooly worms! I haven’t seen one yet. I will be on the look out!

  4. hayseed says:

    I thought I was supposed to be looking at onion skins-thanks for the woolly worm tip!

  5. Becky says:

    Wooly worms are something I start looking for in the Fall.
    They are few and far between around here.
    I always look to see how much black they have, too. Been doing that for years.
    Also, looking at the persimmon pit. It’s supposed to be a predictor, too.

  6. Sarita says:

    We’ve had so much rain I haven’t been on the worm watch yet. I love yours, though. So sweet!

  7. Stacia says:

    I don’t know if we have wolly worms here, although we probably do. Are they soft? They look soft. I hope yours is right about the winter!

  8. Shari C says:

    Never had heard of ‘woolly worms’ before as winter weather predictors. I will definitely have to look for them and test this theory. I, personally, am hoping for a short and mild winter.

  9. MARY says:

    :butterfly: We call them Wooly Bear Caterpillars here in Md., but I haven’t seen one yet! My daughter needs to bring in a sign of Fall to school, so maybe we can locate one! LOL! Yours is really pretty, though! Very nice coloring! Have a great day! 😎

  10. IowaDeb says:

    πŸ™‚ Seen a Wooley yesterday and it was almost black. Yikes

  11. Jeanne says:

    Here in the Cleveland we have a Wolly Bear Parade. We even dress up our kids and dogs as Wolly Bears. :woof:

  12. Mrs.Read says:

    My girls have been finding “fuzz balls” for sometime now (thats what my 2 yr. old calls em) we have found some white ones???? not sure what that means???? not sure i want to know!

  13. IowaCowgirl says:

    Ours are predicting another whopper of an Iowa winter. oh boy.

  14. TeresaH says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen one of those up here. I just know I want to toss the farmers almanac away! I don’t like what it said this year! LOL

  15. Susan says:

    Woolly worms are great predictors! I have seen all black…what does that mean?? Setting by the fire, sippin’ cider, knitting warm woolly socks, eating lots of warm, yummy comfort food, Grandmother’s Bread…piles of quilts…snugglin’…. I can’t wait!! :yes:

  16. Crystal B. says:

    I haven’t seen one yet. I hope I see one like you have. πŸ™‚

  17. Jill S. says:

    I’ve never seen one but I’m going to search the woods today!!!

  18. Mim says:

    I live 5 miles east of Charleston WV and the wooly worms there are all black.

  19. Amy says:

    We found a woolly bear when we were golfing in early September. It was very brown. I happened to post a picture of it and Marianne told me we’d have mild winter. I WAS SO HAPPY. After last winter, with snow from November to APRIL, we’re due. Pacific NW winters are not supposed to be hard.

    Yay for finding a woolly bear with a BIG brown band. Woohoo!


  20. Jen says:

    i remember my grandparents saying to look how high up in the trees the pine cones and/or bee hives were – the higher up more snow; down low less snow


  21. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    I haven’t see one yet but I’ll be on the lookout. This is a reminder to me to get that snowblower all fired up for it’s winter duties.

    Actually, I like snow.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  22. hawkswench says:

    First you can’t get mad at Coco, after all she looks like she had a grand old time πŸ˜€

    We saw our first woolly bear about 2 weeks ago. Very skinny and small and basically all black. Yes according to the old Farmers almanac we are suppose to have a snowy winter this year.

  23. Imogene Birdette says:

    I have seen two wooley worms recently…one was half brown and half black, no band, and the other was totally all black….very confusing!! I wish they’d get their stories together….

  24. Abiga/karen says:

    Our local weather forecaster said the wooly worms predicted a cold and snowy winter. I expected that anyway. I didn’t know how to look at the colors to do it myself. Next year I will remember. What happens if you find a solid light colored one? They are high in numbers this year in central Illinois. Blessings.

  25. MMHONEY says:


  26. Kim W says:

    YOU ARE SO TIMELY!! I was just talking about this w/my dh and 2 dd’s…we saw a wooly worm last weekend and my dh & I were trying to remember what a local weather man used to say about them. When we were growing up and local weather guy would always make such a big deal out of the woolies every fall…but we couldn’t remember how the saying went.

    Anyway…the 1 we saw had a huge brown middle…BUT…the Old Farmer’s Almanac says that we’re to have very bad, cold, snowy winter. Oh…WHAT to do?! :no: :yes: :sick:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  27. Meadowlark says:

    I do n’t know if we even have wooly caterpillars. But there was snow on the mountain the other night, and we’re expecting to get to the low 20s this week. Like Bill Murray said in Groundhog’s Day “I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.” OK, maybe not QUITE, but it’ll feel like it in late February!

  28. Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks&Me says:

    Perhaps it is because I live in farm country in the Midwest but our weatherman has a wooley worm watch each year.

    At the beginning of the season, the wooley worms were lighter in color but soon after, they were mostly dark. After last year’s bad winter, I’m hoping we can average the color and have a not-so-hard winter this year!

  29. Callie says:

    I’ve never heard of that, and you think I would’ve growing up in Iowa & all. Maybe I just don’t remember….
    But I do remember my grandpa always telling me to look at the tails of squirrels. Thick & bushy = COLD, long winter. Skinny & thin = mild winter.

  30. Toni Anderson says:

    I love your woolly worms. Never seen one here though. I’m hoping you picked a good one :hellokitty:

  31. Carole @ Fowl Visions says:

    Never heard of that type of weather prediction before. Where I live we don’t worry about winter anyway but I enjoy tidbits of information such as that.

  32. Maureen says:

    I hope your woolly worm is right. I would love a mild winter and so would my pocketbook.

  33. Estella says:

    No woolly worms here yet!

  34. J CopperCreekers says:

    There’s a little town in Kentucky that has a Woolly Worm Festival at the end of this month.

  35. Susan says:

    Coco looks like she had a good time! I haven’t seen any woolly worms yet. Our weather lady is predicting a cold and snowy winter based on the lack of sun bursts. :fryingpan:

  36. Donna says:

    I have never heard of a woolly worm in my life! LOL That was interesting!
    The only thing I ever had to predict weather was this little ceramic type poodle (about 4 inches tall) that my mother bought me in Germany and he would turn colors if it rained or would be sunny or stormy…like from purple to pink to green. LOL
    OOOOOOOHHHHH Coco!!!! There you are, sweet pup!!!! Little stinky!!! LOL The pup loves the pond! Ha Cutest puppy! :mrgreen:

  37. Donna says:

    Upon viewing Coco again…it looks like Dukie back there, went too…LOL He’s hiding! LOL Your busted Dukie! Ha

  38. catslady says:

    I’m still on the look out for one of those cuties!!!

  39. Jodie says:

    Yeah Coco! More face time on the blog. She’s feeling left out since the chickens, goats and eggs get more blog space than she does. We miss you Coco!!! She’s really getting big, but is still a GIANT PUPPY!

  40. Kalin says:

    Eek! The first one I saw (we always called them Fuzzy Wuzzies) this year was completely black! :weather:

  41. Patty says:

    In NE Tennessee (4 hours directly south of you), We call them either Wooly Worms or Fuzzie Wuzzies too. I’ve seen one so far… it was almost ALL black. BUT, that’s ok. My DH and kids don’t think it can snow here. I remember the HUGE snowfalls we’d get when I was a kid. I wouldn’t mind seeing one of those again – as long as we had stuff to make tons of Grandmother’s Bread, hot cocoa and cider, comfort food and enough sleds that the kids don’t fight over them. Maybe I need to start a secret snowday stash in the back of the pantry. I doubt if your surrounding area gets snow that you’ll miss it hehe. :weather: :purr:

  42. Brandy says:

    Um, I don’t think we have any woolly worms here. But, he’s cute. In a fuzzy bug sort of way. *G*

  43. Camille Choate says:

    That is so crazy. Where I am from, the wollier the worm the colder the winter. I just love fuzzy caterpillars. We use to have so much fun with them when I was a kid.

  44. Emily Harsh says:

    I saw one today – ALL BLACK. Ugh. I had to do a double take because I don’t recall ever seeing an all black one before. Sounds like I’ll be thankful for working from home this winter (in front of the fireplace)!

  45. mim says:

    Does anyone know what the wooly worm actually is??? What they do??? etc

  46. The FringeGirl says:

    I HOPE it’s going to be a short mild winter!

  47. Eric says:

    :woof: This afternoon was the first woolly that I have seen this season. Mostly brown! with a little black on each end. This is good news for the winter in New York State. :snoopy:

  48. Netherfieldmom says:

    hate to say it, but we found a completely black one last week–when it was 80 degrees outside. We were all so depressed, I think one of the kids threw him under the car–not really. Then this week I saw one that had the regular-sized brown stripe–so now I’ve lost some faith in the whole wooly worm thing…

  49. Eric says:

    :weather: My Father thinks others. He said Mother Nature, has really been pumping out the grapes, and apples this year…like we are going to have a cold long winter. Nature seems to know things.

    makes me wonder :shocked: :treehugger: πŸ˜•

  50. Denise says:

    I just seen my first wolly worm of the season and it stopped me in my tracks lol. It was completely black. I have never seen one like that. I am in Southern IL.

  51. ruby f smith says:

    wooley worm today was red with black on each end.does this mean hard start, mild middle,hard spring? rufus ,lake norman ,nc

  52. M Tutt says:

    We have tons of them in Wildwood, Missouri. I’ve seen almost all brown with just the tips black and I’ve seen solid black. I see them primarily on the warm sides of the house and barn. Some are pretty small, but I’ve seen some pretty big black ones, too. Brrr.

  53. STRIKER says:

    the very first one I spotted this year was solid black with just a hint of brown at the back end of it.

    combine this with the mud dobber tubes that were being built back in mid to late september, I’m thinking that the winter will be cold, snowy and long!

  54. beth says:

    My first one was about a month ago (gee, almost when the blog was posted!) and it was all black. I’ve seen more all black or mostly black ones this fall. So, it’s looking like central Indiana will be in for a good winter. I’m thinking we better get on having the wood stove put in!

  55. Bridget says:

    :weather: My first wooly worm was all black, so was my second and third,,, get ready for a cold long snowy winter!! i’m in maryland and cant wait for the snow!!! :clap:

  56. berry says:

    we live in Indiana and have not seen one wooly worm at all and we walk every day and we even go through a woods and still not seen any so what does that mean

  57. Paul Caudell says:

    I live in Southern Indiana and just picked a TOTALLY BLACK one up from my kitchen floor.

  58. Michele Crockett says:

    I found a wooley worm today, Nov.30,2008 in Louisville, KY and it was solid black! Looks like a harsh winter for those of us in the Ohio Valley!

  59. Rebecca says:

    I live in Huntington, WV and have yet to see one. I’m pretty close to Lexington, KY and so far its been a bad winter. The last few days we had 5+ inches and ice to boot. Sounds like a bad winter to me.

  60. Hannah says:

    I’ve heard of woolly worms. They are so cute! But we don’t have them in OK.

  61. Stephanie says:

    My first woolly worm this year is ALL black. πŸ˜₯

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