Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Woolly Bear and the Newscaster

I woke up early this morning to our first serious snow of this winter season.

I turned on the TV to get the forecast (up to 2" maybe, temps in the mid-20s) and an unexpected report on what the woolly bear caterpillars predict for the upcoming season.

Woolly Bear Caterpillar in September

The newscaster had in her hands the breaking news report direct from the Farmer's Almanac:  "the predominance of orange on this two-toned insect forecasts a mild winter..." That was followed by some bantering back and forth with the morning weather anchor. 

I had to laugh (and send an email to the newscaster).

Fact:  The amount of orange is actually an indicator of how mild the weather has been this November.  (I was surprised to spot a woolly bear this week - December 1st.  It was out and about, crossing the trail, soaking up the last heat of the fall.)

Woolly Bears over winter as caterpillars, and the "older" the caterpillar, the more orange. 

Curious about the details of the breaking report, I googled the Farmer's Almanac website and was surprised to see their story - and the image they used - a spotted tussock moth.  

I went back to the "google" report and noticed a link to a "woollybear festival" in Vermillion, Ohio.  I couldn't resist.  One click and I was there...  Take a look.

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